AS THE coronavirus lockdown begins to ease, photographer Justine Desmond and writer Daisy O’Clee have been capturing a socially distant snapshot of Brighton and Hove.

Once again, they visited Hove seafront where they met all kinds of people, from an NHS nurse working 12-hour shifts to a writer who has travelled all over the world.

For the fully gallery of pictures, visit or

The Argus:

Italian flatmates Antonio Delnegro and Michele Beati, both 32, met in Bournemouth and decided to move to Brighton last year.

They are thankful nobody close to them has been badly affected by the virus back home.

They both work for the NHS – Antonio is a physio in Worthing hospital and Michele is an agency nurse working at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

“Some of the wards have been shut down,” said Antonio, “but I am still working – assessing people for discharge and working with elderly people who have had falls. Our families wanted us to go home, but we’re working here so we couldn’t.”

Michele said 12-hour shifts in full personal protective equipment are tough, but the hospital seems quiet at the moment. “I don’t work with Covid patients, but you never know if someone has the virus,” he said.

Michele and Antonio moved from Italy in 2015 and say they have seen many changes in this country since then.

“When the Brexit vote came in, we felt insecure and didn’t know if we were going to leave. Now that seems like an old story and we feel accepted.”

The Argus:

Cireena Simcox, a writer, playwright and teacher, describes herself as “one of the last of a dying breed”, born to an English RAF family 68 years ago.

She spent her early years travelling all over the world.

She lived in Sri Lanka, Australia and Papua New Guinea. She moved to Brighton six years ago from China, where she had been teaching drama. Cireena said she wanted to reconnect with nature back in the UK.

“It sounds cutesy pie,” she said, “but I missed wildlife.

“In China it was all concrete. Even when there were flowers, they were all in neat flowerbeds with perfectly manicured borders.

“When I decided to come back, all my friends and colleagues said there’s only one place in England you’ll ever feel all right – and that’s Brighton. They were right.”

Ashur, Cireena’s eldest son, has followed his mother and now lives in Hove after living in China teaching English.

Her younger son, Jodey, travelled back from Spain just before the lockdown set in so he could isolate with her.

The Argus:

Lenny from France and Megan from Australia, both 36, live in a flat in Hove. They met in Germany last year at a protest against coal mining.

They cycled hundreds of miles to get there. It took Lenny three weeks to cycle to the protest from Paris, and it took Megan two weeks to cycle from Brighton.

Megan is a vet and is still carrying out emergency work. Contact with pet owners is now made over the phone, and dogs are handed over outside the building to minimise the risk of infection. Megan goes out two or three times a week for exercise and fresh air.

“I’ve been going a little stir crazy,” she said. “I want to go outside more but feel like I shouldn’t.”

Lenny has been furloughed but said she is happy reading and knitting at home. She goes out for a run at night when the streets are quieter.

The Argus:

Drew Curran, 33, is a tree surgeon from Storrington. He spends much of his spare time reading about the impact of coronavirus and disagrees with the lockdown.

“I am concerned about the Government’s overreach on freedom and liberty and how easily it has been given up by the public,” he said.

“I think the onus is on the proponents of lockdown to prove that crashing the economy to a level not seen since the 1700s, locking people away from interacting with family and friends, shutting schools and destroying businesses is justifiable, especially when the evidence suggests that lockdown has done nothing to stop the spread of the virus.

“Peak infections were before lockdown was put in place. And the current strategy is causing excess deaths unrelated to Covid in the form of increased suicides, untreated heart attacks, missed diagnosis and cancelled treatment for cancer patients to name a few.”

The Argus:

Sarah Jane Bailes researches experimental theatre and teaches performance at the University of Sussex. Her life has completely changed since lockdown began.

Before, she enjoyed going to dinner at friends’ houses and travelling to New York, Rome and Australia for work. Now, she spends most of her time at home. She has no direct contact with students and instead has been assessing their end of year work online.

She sees her friend Arabella on Fridays for a long walk at a two metre distance and they have become the highlight of her week. “We have been talking a lot about our pasts – about growing up and childhood,” she said. “And we talk about our dreams.” Other things that keep Sara Jane going include yoga, online breathing workshops, a seagull who sits on the windowsill outside her flat, and a nice white wine from Marks and Spencer.

The Argus:

Lee Reeves, 30 has lived with Klaudia Kozlowski, 27, since last March.

They met when Lee was working at Brewdog in Brighton and Klaudia went in for a beer.

“She ordered a nice beer and I thought she had good taste,” he said.

Lee left his job earlier this year to work in customer services for an education software company.

He was made redundant in March and offered one month’s pay. He is now living off savings.

He has spent lots of time cooking and recently made gołbki, a Polish meal that involves stuffing cabbage with mincemeat.

Klaudia – who’s from Poland – said it was better than her own version.

She has continued to work in her tax job, but says she has enjoyed the slower pace of lockdown life.

“I thought it was going to be horrific, but it’s been OK,” she said.

“We haven’t been taking anything too seriously – there’s been a lot of humour. We are lucky. We don’t have anyone at risk around us and we aren’t worried about catching the virus.”

The Argus:

Janet Alderman, 31, lives with her partner Joe, a TV set designer. They moved to Brighton when Janet accepted a job that involves supporting museums and galleries. Janet has been furloughed and is worried about the future.

“Museums and galleries will be the last to reopen,” she said. “The big ones will be fine, but the small ones, like Charleston House for example, are under threat.

“There was so much going on in the sector to improve access to the arts for younger people and people from different backgrounds but the funding for that just won’t be there. It is in danger of going back to how it was before – accessible only to a small elite.”

Janet has been using her time to take online training courses in case she needs to look for other work when the pandemic is over. She said funding pressures mean there is a”big question mark” hanging over her role.

“I moved to Brighton from London last year for the job, but if the only work I could find was elsewhere, I’d have to go. I’d be sad about leaving,” she said.

• The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit