Christmas and New Year are weeks ago. Nights are long. The weather is cold and damp. The news seems to be constantly grim and depressing. What we all need is something positive to cheer us up. 

Fortunately an upcoming event provides just such an up-beat opportunity. Get along to Butler’s Gap (East end of George Street) at 15:00 on the 2nd February 2019 and you could take part in the second Hastings Hugs. 

Cinnamon Roll Hug

This event has been inspired by the Totten Hug that takes place in the town of Tottenham, Ontario  Canada. Back in January 2016, hoping to raise the spirits of his neighbours, local man Rob Farah organised a group hug in the town centre. The event proved so popular that it has now become an annual event, with the last one on 27th January 2018 attracting over 200 participants. 

The first Hastings Hugs took place in March 2016, soon after the original Totten Hug. Organiser Lily Foster is now looking to repeat that, with the hope that this can become a regular event in the Hastings social calendar. The event is open to all, with young children and pets more than welcome to join the fun. Full participation is not required, leaving you to choose whether you just want to  watch, hug on an individual basis or take part in the mass “Cinnamon Roll” hug. Whilst unconfirmed at the time of writing it is hoped that, as there was the first time, there will be live music to accompany all the hugging. 

Lily has followed further in Rob Farah’s footsteps by adopting a charitable aspect he introduced after the first event. She has teamed up with the charity, Warming Up the Homeless to gather donations to help those in need. There is no obligation to donate to take part in the event, hugs are free, but it is hoped that happy huggers will also wish to help those less fortunate. Practical items, such as good quality clothes and sleeping bags are welcomed, but cash donations will also be taken and passed on to the charity in full. Full details of the charity, and the sort of supplies they collect for distribution, can be found on their website (

It is hoped that the weather will perk up a bit by then, but rain or shine I hope to see (and hug) many of you down at Butler’s Gap in February. 

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