Cold Lancastrians dodging through the Christmas shopping crowds today came across a warming sight in Market Street where Mari Winkelman was offering free hugs to all-comers.
"It's keeping me warm", she confided with a radiant smile, and gave me a lovely, gentle, soft hug. I could see what she meant.
And so could the steady flow of willing huggers who all came away glowing. Seconds later an elderly gentleman smiling from ear to ear came dashing back to her with a bag of sweeties that he pressed into her hand. She was thrilled.
A very happy Winter Solstice to all our visitors.