Penwortham Mayor says coronavirus won't shake his year-long challenge

Penwortham Mayor Geoff Crewe says worries over coronavirus aren’t derailing his dreams of shaking 10,000 hands by May - yet.

Friday, 6th March 2020, 5:00 pm
Councillor Geoff Driver

The Councillor, 68, set himself the goal - equivalent to half the population of Penwortham - when he took the Mayoral office last May.

He said it was “just something I wanted to do”, and hopes it will help him to engage with the people he is representing.

>>>Read more about Geoff's challenge hereSo far, with two months to go, he calculates he has shaken 7,000 hands, and doesn’t think the virus scares will stop him achieving the feat.

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He said: “I’ve been watching the news and the advice of the Health Minister is that shaking hands poses a minimal risk.

“It’s about taking account of what’s going on though, so I always carry a small bottle of gel in my pocket, that I use before and after shaking hands.”

Official advice is to wash hands thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds, but to use hand sanister gels if soap isn’t readily available.

Coun Crewe has so far shaken hands at events including Penwortham in Bloom, Penwortham Gala, various fundraisers, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers, as well as Christmas services and a 10k run on Penwortham Bypass.

He is considering boosting numbers by shaking hands with pupils during assemblies at the town’s three high schools.

Coun Crewe added: “I always ask people if they’re happy to shake hands as well, I don’t just go jumping in and grabbing their hands.

“For most people it’s not a problem at all, but there have been a couple of people who don’t want to. And that’s fine, I wouldn’t dream of making someone uncomfortable.

“It’s about going slowly and steadily towards the goal.”

What are other people doing?

The Premier League and EFL have said pre-match handshakes between both teams and officials will not take place until further notice because of fears over the spread of coronavirus.

Fist bumps and footshakes (tapping feet) are being used as alternatives to handshaking by some people.