Volunteers share the love with free hugs and flowers in Northampton town centre

Tony Rutter, HUGS director, offers hugs to shoppers
Tony Rutter, HUGS director, offers hugs to shoppers

Cuddly volunteers pledged to share some love with shoppers this morning as they handed out free hugs and flowers in Northampton’s Abington Street.

Members from the HUGS (Hepling U Go Stronger) group also involved passers-by in a flashmob-style group hug in the middle of the street.

Tony Rutter, group director, said: “I was director of a charity that aimed to support people who are homeless and unemployed by giving them confidence and boosting their self esteem. But I realised that you don’t need money to help people.

“The things that matter are things like volunteering to go out and help an old lady do her gardening, or collecting donated food to cook meals for people in poverty.

“There is enough kindness in the community to help and make a difference. We just need to stretch a hand out to each other.”

One person to receive a surprise hug today was 78-year-old Brian.

He said: “It made me feel great. Even if it was a gentleman hugging another gentleman, people just don’t give enough hugs.”

Ben Currington, aged 33, said: “It made me feel pretty nice. The only hugs I was expecting to get today were from my kids - if I’m lucky.

“I heard about this free hugs event online and thought it was a pretty cool idea and wanted to come and see what it was all about.”

To find out more about the group, visit: www.facebook.com/groups/HUGSGroup