Free hugs for all in Buncrana

Anyone in need of a cuddle should make their way to Buncrana today as hugs are being given out for free.

Buncrana woman Juliette Emery has embarked on the feel-good initiative in a bid to boost people’s mood, bring a little joy and combat depression.

Bridie McLaughlin gets her free hug this morning from Claire McLaughlin and Juliette Emery.

Bridie McLaughlin gets her free hug this morning from Claire McLaughlin and Juliette Emery.

Since 10.30am this morning, she and fellow ‘hugger’ Claire McLaughlin have been spreading the love outside Buncrana Post Office on the town’s main street.

Local man Billy Porter was the first to get a free hug and in the first 20 minutes, over 70 people had enjoyed a cuddle.

The duo were set to be joined later in the day by Amanda Murphy and will be giving out the free hugs until 6pm.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Juliette said she was delighted at the reception she has received so far.

She said: “I wanted to bring a little joy to people’s lives and thought free hugs would be a great way to do it.

“Everyone is being so receptive and it’s really putting a smile on their faces.”

Juliette said she now wants to bring the free hug initiative further.

“I want to do this everywhere,” she said.

“I’d really love to stand on the Peace Bridge in Derry and perhaps bring it to nursing units. Everybody loves a good hug.”

Claire McLaughlin, from Millfield, said while she was nervous about the event this morning, she’s now “glad” she’s taking part.

She said: “It’s making people smile and that’s a great thing to be able to do. Juliette is so inspirational. I wanted to get involved to help people and bring them some joy. It’s been absolutely brilliant so far.”