Caring Padiham grandmother set to take her 'Hugs for Free' mission to combat sadness and despair on the road

Viv (left) and Katie are on a mission to make people smile and feel better with the Hugs for Free project.
Viv (left) and Katie are on a mission to make people smile and feel better with the Hugs for Free project.
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A caring Padiham grandmother is giving out hugs to help people combat loneliness and help them face their troubles with a smile.

Viv Storey launched Hugs for Free to an amazing response last week and she is planning to take her mission 'on the road' when she visits a care home in Hapton this Thursday.

Viv is the driving force behind the newly launched Padiham Community Choir which she successfully launched in January. She came up with the idea after being touched by stories of many people in her hometown who felt lonely and isolated through their circumstances or lack of cash.

The choir has been a huge success and has even performed at a couple of public events.

At the weekly meetings of the choir Viv hands out prizes of hugs and as members were so grateful for them she hit on the idea of offering hugs to a wider audience.

Viv, who is a play leader at Padiwacks in Padiham, said: "i just thought that if 50 people appreciated them how many more would?"

Viv spent one lunch break in Padiham's Tesco store and the response was fantastic with Viv giving out 101 hugs in her specially printed t shirt bearing the slogan Hugs for Free.

She said: "One lady drove especially to see for a much needed hug after she read about where I would be on social media.

"The fantastic response got me thinking about how many people are there who don't get out at all or who live in residential homes who may not get many visitors. So I thought why not go and visit them?"

Always on a mission to help people, Viv does something for the community every year but 2018 was an exception as she was laid low with illness.

But now Viv, who is married to Justin and has a son Dale and grandson Frankie (four) is back with a bang for 2019.

And she has enlisted her good friend and choir member Katie Bourgaise on her Hugs for Free mission. And the duo will be at Hapton's Wordsworth House care home on Thursday to hand out some hugs and also lead a sing-a-long for residents and staff.