Ralph&Vitalija Hebden Br
- updated: March 2017 -
FREE HUGS Hebden Bridge - Updates & Events- Thu 30 March (& every 2 weeks thereafter) 11:30-2pm: FREE HUGS with Ralph at the Hebden Bridge Town Hall www.hebdenbridgetownhall.org.uk reception.
Who likes to join Ralph sharing Free Hugs in Hebden Bridge? Please contact Ralph.
Sat 13 July 2013 Ralph started to offer FREE HUGS on St. George Square in the heart of Hebden Bridge from 2-4pm.
See photos below
Read the article: "Fancy a Cuddle?", Hebden Bridge Times (from 25 Aug. 2013, page 9.)
The Free Hugs Campaign is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places. The hugs are meant to be random acts of kindness - selfless acts performed just to make others feel better.
FREE HUGS video on www.youtube.com (just one example from the world wide FREE HUGS Campaign)
For best hugging results: Relax - and slowly breathe out.
=> 10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day:
www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5756/10-Reasons-Why-We-Need-at-Least-8-Hugs-a-Day.html (Hugging boosts oxytocin levels, lifts one's serotonin levels, strengthens the immune system, boosts self-esteem, relaxes muscles, balances out the nervous system...)
If you are on Facebook, you are invited to "Like" the page - or post your photos on: www.facebook.com/FreeHugsHebdenBridge
If you like hugging, you might also like the Calderdale Dances of Universal Peace, where we hold hand while singing - and often we finish hugging each other.
Hugging Reports from Ralph:
Since Sat 13th of July 2013, I hugged about one person per minute during 2 hours on a weekend afternoon. I shared some wonderful hugs (including my first hug with a local police officer in her full neon armoured waist coat, all wired up) - and had a few inspiring conversations.
Comments and questions on the 1st weekend:
Q:"Who's this Hugs you want to be freed? ;)"
Q: "Is this a Christian thing you're doing?" - A: "It's a universal thing."
Q: "Why are you not charging for this?" - A: "Hugs are free like sunshine."
Q: "Do you know what is more valuable than this golden chain around my neck?" - A: "The arms of a child embracing my neck"
Hugging Report from the 2nd weekend (20/21 July 2013)
How nice - Amelie joined me offering hugs. We triggered smiles on most peoples faces.
"Today I joined Ralph in giving free hugs in Hebden Bridge. What fun!! Stranger after stranger came up to us and left smiling or laughing. 'Why are you doing it?' they asked me. 'Because we like hugging' I replied. Some needed cajoling by their mates or family, some came in groups and we had a group hug. Three boys about 8 years old came back for two rounds of hugs. One young girl made her own sign which said 'Hugs for £1' and pretended to complain that we had ruined her pitch. Even those who passed us by smiled or some hugged their friend or partner. Of course, this is the UK and some looked at us cautiously. There was no catch; just sharing a moment. I would like to do it again. It is simple and feels good. Have a go yourself!
Hugs to you, Amelie" (See photos below with Amelie from Sunday 21 July)
Our local weekly Hebden Bridge Times reported the Hebden Bridge hugging on Thursday 25th of July 2013 on page 9 - Read HB Times article here.
Report from the3rd hugging weekend (27/28 July 2013)
Same story like previous weekends: once the blokes at the nearby pub "Shoulder of Mutton" have had a few pints of beer, they come cover for hugs, sometimes lifting me up - today I was whirled around in the air several times, later I was brought into a football pitch style group hug.
I stopped counting, but it felt like one hug per minute again - and about 3 photos a minute again... Why are people taking photos but miss out the hug?
Now finally: the down side: one elderly lady on a stick talked loudly to herself while passing by (without hug) "Why has Hebden Bridge become like that?"
And one of the bare chested beer drinkers persuaded our police officer to a hug (she did not refuse). That opens interesting perspectives. Some teenegers dared to hug me and I had a nice conversation with them.
Report from the 4th hugging weekend (3/4 August 2013)
By now - after having probably shared over 700 hugs during the first 3 weekends, I became more playful, using body language: holding the FREE HUGS sign with both hands in front or above me sends out a sign - but holding it in one hand while opening both arms wide and smiling at a person is a much stronger inviation to a hug (and difficult to resist). This way I coaxed more people into hugs than before.
A group of giggling girls tried to push each other towards me for a hug - finally they came for a group hug.
I also noticed that many parents did not dare to hug me, but when I lowered the sign to the hight of their children, the parents often would encourage their kids to go for a hug (and then they'd follow).
Again I got lots of complients: "This hug made my day!". I was really moved, when a mother came and gave me her baby to hold saying: "my baby wants a hug." One woman really loved the hugging so much, that I offered her to take my spare "FREE HUGS" sign and offer hugs along with me. She did - and got so excited, that I had to stop her chasing people for a hug.
As usual, I triggered masses of smiles around and was asked for lots of photo hugs.
The only negative experience I had in 4 hugging weekends (after about 1000 hugs): on my way home, a man swearing at me that I am a child abuser, and that I should leave Hebden Bridge. He was very agitated. I told him, that I am hugging everyone who wants a hug, regardless of their age, body seize, race or sexual orientation. I could not convince him that the way I offer free hugs is voluntary and safe for everyone, including children. Of course I offered him a hug - but he refused.
Report from hugging Sun 25 August with Paul and Nicky
Here's Nicky's report: "I enjoyed my day out in Hebden Bridge, especially as it included FREE HUGS!!!! Well its always nice for me being in HB, the sun always shines there (or I only go there when the sun is shining....) and being included in the FREE HUGS event was a bit of a bonus. I didn't really think about it, just got on with it, and then found myself hiding behind Paul and realising I was rather shy. Interestingly I found it really quite exhausting and had to break off halfway through to go and forage for sweet snacky foods, which I don't often eat, but I think it was the emotional and mental challenge of the hugs. I had to pay attention to how to meet people with my eyes as they came across the central area, and gauge whether they really wanted to be left alone, or whether they wanted to be pressed slightly into contact. It was hard work for me!!! But rewarding and lovely when I got a hug :-) I would do it again, its a great thing to try just to see what it feels like, you wont know until you try, and it may not be as you think it will be. xxxxx" Nicky
FREE HUGS also available some Thursdays 12-2:30pm
at the Hebden Bridge Town Hall reception desk (see photo on the right)
NEW: FREE HUG emergency phone Hebden Bridge
if you are desperate for a hug, just call Ralph on 07909 488272.
or if you can wait a bit, email: rainbowralph[AT]gmail.com
More FREE HUGS photos with Ralph in Hebden Bridge, July 2013:
On Sun 21 July (2nd hugging weekend) Ralph got hugging support from Amelie: (read her report above)
On Sat 27 July we had a pavement artist on the slabs,
2 owls on display - and FREE HUGS with Ralph.
Sat 3 August Ralph had a boy band playing music,
a hugging helper - and lots of fun.
Sun 25 August hugging with Nicky, Ralph & Paul
Sun 17 November hugging with Ralph, Amelie & Rik
FREE HUGS with Ralph & Imani on St. George Square, Hebden Bridge, Sun 19 Jan '14
FREE HUGS with Ralph and a lady in a wheelchair
FREE HUGS with Ralph in Hebden Bridge, May 2015
FREE HUGS with Ralph at the 'Alternative Christmas Party June 2016
FREE HUGS with Ralph in Hebden Bridge, March 2017
FREE HUGS with Ralph March 2017
More about Ralph in Hebden Bridge (work, hobbies, links...)
Dances of Universal Peace Calderdale, Leeds & Manchester
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