Anyone need a hug?

MOST of us will welcome a hug after a hard day at work but how about American-style, touchy-feely, come-in-for-the-love cuddles?

We Brits aren’t great at showing our feelings but if there was ever a day to overcome our reserve, it was this week.

Wigan Evening Post reporter Lucy Hilton gives out hugs to Wiganers at the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre, Wigan, to celebrate National Hug Day 2015 - pictured with Peter Newbury

Wigan Evening Post reporter Lucy Hilton gives out hugs to Wiganers at the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre, Wigan, to celebrate National Hug Day 2015 - pictured with Peter Newbury

National Hugging Day (January 21) was set up by, you guessed it, an American who thought people needed their spirits lifting during the miserable post-Christmas weeks.

But how well does Kevin Zaborne’s idea translate across the Atlantic?

Surprisingly well is the answer. I went out yesterday lunchtime to Wigan’s Grand Arcade tasked with finding out whether we Wiganers were happy to hug it out.

And my admittedly totally unscientific survey found people not only welcomed a hug but seemed to walk away happier too.

Proper studies have revealed that physical contact between humans, such as kissing, hugging or simply touching, is essential for overall mental and emotional well-being.

I approached seven Wigan shoppers and only one declined my offer of a hug.

Emily Smith, of Pemberton, described herself as the most “anti-hug” person you could ever meet.

The 21-year-old said: “I hate National Hug Day, I don’t understand why it would even be recognised.

“I must admit I don’t hug anybody apart from my two-year-old son Jake and sometimes my dad.

I have to be in a certain mood to give out hugs and only with certain people.

“Although when I’m drunk I do find myself giving out more hugs than usual, you want to share the love, don’t you?”

In contrast, Emily describes pal Nicola Scaldwell as the biggest hugger in the world. Nicola, 29, from Standish, didn’t argue, saying everybody should have someone to hug.

She said: “A hug can always be guaranteed to cheer you up no matter what. Everyone needs a hug from time to time.

“My favourite person to hug would have to be my fella David without a doubt.”

National Hug Day first began in 1986, and was started by Reverend Kevin Zaborney in Caro, Michigan, America.

It has since spread around the globe.

And overall, my survey found Wigan to be a huggable town to live in, with the majority of those I spoke to welcoming a free hug.

Peter Newbury, of Winstanley, said he would always give a hug to anybody who needed one.

The 19-year-old said: “I’m not one of those ‘group huggers’ but I would always offer a hug to anybody, I give my mum hugs all the time.

“I think giving a good looking girl a big hug wouldn’t be too bad.”

Susan Witter, 63, of Pemberton also loved the idea of National Hug Day.

She added: “I am a big hugger, I love giving people hugs. I’ll try to hug everyone as I think it just really boosts morale.

“I definitely thing National Hugging Day should be celebrated and everyone should get involved.”