Cheeky celebration and warnings of caution in Stefan's Freedom Day streak down Lymington High Street
SO-CALLED Freedom Day on Monday was celebrated in Lymington in cheeky style with a nearly-nude dash down High Street.
Wearing only the tiniest of jockstraps, plucky care worker Stefan Cristian caused a stir in an effort to mark the end to lockdown restrictions and to raise awareness of dementia support.
Stefan, who moved to the UK from his native Romania five years ago, set off from St Thomas’s Church waving a sign which read: “Daring to bare because I care.”
He told the A&T: “I had some very positive reactions, particularly from ladies. Some were laughing and cheering me, others beeped their horns and clapped. It was really all about just making people smile and laugh.”
One witness was district nurse Caroline Gill who described Stefan’s streak certainly brightened up her shift.
Footage of Stefan’s run was shared widely on social media, with one resident commenting: “We need more harmless madness in Lymington,” and another adding: “Please pre-warn us next time so I can book the day off work.”
Stefan, who is a qualified personal trainer, added: “I work as a dedicated dementia health carer so it also gave me a chance to raise a bit of awareness. I would like to say thank you to my good friends at Perfumery and Co for printing the sign for me.
“Personally, I had a great time. Freedom Day is here but please bear in mind this pandemic is far from over.”
Some businesses were taking a less care-free approach, such as at Pilley Community Shop where customers will be expected to continue wearing masks unless medically exempt.
Community shop committee chair Bernard Atkinson said: “We are continuing to keep Covid restrictions in place until we think the risk has reduced. The scientific and medical advice is that caution now will reduce the spike in infections and hospitalisations.”
South Western Railway is also asking passengers to continue wearing masks at peak times. A spokesperson said: “In line with government guidance, we have removed advice about social distancing and expect passengers, out of respect for others, to wear face coverings in crowded places.
“With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and better information about quieter times, all our passengers can continue to travel with confidence.”
Dorset Police Federation chair James Dimmack feared an “explosion of social activity” could lead to officers being “hugely tested”.
He warned: “There is inevitably going to be a reaction to lockdown easing as people seek to make up for lost time both in terms of enjoyment and in recouping entertainment revenues.”
Hampshire County Council’s public health team advised residents without symptoms to continue testing twice a week, to meet outdoors when possible, and to keep indoors well ventilated.
They also suggested to continue wearing masks in crowded places, wash hands and socially distance.
HCC leader Cllr Keith Mans said: “The virus remains with us and the numbers testing positive are once again rising rapidly, so while we look forward to new freedoms that have started this week, I would urge the public to continue to exercise caution and to maintain the very helpful practices we have become so used to.”
To see the video of Stefan's run, visit: https://www.facebook.com/100002319806454/videos/616588822591740/