Coronavirus: Identity of ‘Lynne from Skipton’ shrouded in mystery

Kirk Douglas in SpartacusImage copyright
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The cry of “I am Lynne” echoes the famous quote from the Kirk Douglas movie Spartacus

A woman who asked the UK public’s first question at a government coronavirus briefing has become something of a modern Spartacus with dozens of people claiming: “I am Lynne from Skipton”.

On Monday the woman, whose full name was not given, asked when she might be able to hug her grandchildren again.

Her identity has become the source of much debate in Skipton, with some local Lynnes being messaged by the media.

Residents have since adapted the famous quote from the Kirk Douglas movie.

During the briefing Lynne’s question was read out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

She asked: “I’m missing my grandchildren so much. Please can you let me know if, after the five criteria are met, is being able to hug our closest family one of the first steps out of lockdown?”

Mr Hancock said the question “brought home the emotional impact of lockdown” and he hoped it would be allowed “as soon as possible”.

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Geograph/Stanley Walker


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The leader of Skipton Town council said Lynne’s question captured what many people are feeling at the moment

Mr Hancock said he had not seen the question in advance, after it was chosen through a process managed independently by pollster YouGov.

Little has been released about Lynne’s identity and it is even unclear whether she spells her name Lynne, Lynn or Lyn.

The Skipton Community Noticeboard Facebook group, has seen discussions about the mystery grandmother – with some people tagging friends and family called Lynne and asking if they were responsible for the question.

A number of people in the group posted the slogan – “I am Lynne from Skipton”.

‘Raised a smile’

In the Douglas film’s climatic scene, a group of captured slaves are asked to identify Spartacus in exchange for leniency, but all respond: “I am Spartacus.”

Paul Selwood, manager of the White Lion pub in nearby Kildwick, said: “Who knows when we will be back to some normality if ever, I for one worry due to my trade so when the Spartacus quote kicked off, it raised a smile.”

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Matt Hancock said questions from the public were just as important as those from journalists

Lynne’s question was chosen as one of 15,000 submitted online via the government’s website under a new plan to give the public the chance to put their questions to ministers and experts.

Councillor Robert Heseltine, leader of Skipton Town council, said: “Lynne expressed what many people are feeling at the moment – that we are all missing our family and friends.

“We very much look forward to being able to welcome those families back again, and to see our town busy once more – but only when it is safe to do so and when government guidelines say this is possible. ”


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