MORE than 1,000 people have signed up to "hug" Reading gaol in a bid to save the prison and turn it into an arts hub.

Local artist, Linda Saul, came up with the idea of a mass "hug" around the gaol and has been organising the event taking place on October 13.

READ MORE: Group hug at Gaol organised to save asset.

The idea is to have a good-natured, family-friendly opportunity to demonstrate support for saving the gaol as a community resource, by surrounding the prison walls with people linking hands.

Online registrations have now exceeded 1000 participants, which may enable several rows of huggers in the Abbey Ruins and Chestnut Walk.

Ms Saul said: "This is our chance to show how much we want the gaol to become a force for good in the community as an arts hub and museum, to redeem it after its chequered past.

"A cultural centre at Reading Gaol would be of enormous benefit to the town - both as an asset that local people can enjoy and as a tourist attraction."

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) recently put the prison up for sale but this hasn't dampened campaigner's spirits.

READ MORE: Reading gaol listed on property agent's website as site put up for sale.

Ms Saul explained: "We were expecting the sale to be announced before the hug happened, we are not fazed by it."

St James’s Church, who are highly supportive of both the campaign and the hug, have offered the church to be used as an operational base for hug organisers and volunteers during the event.

Hug participants are being asked to congregate at the Abbey Ruins for 2pm on Sunday October 13.

Whilst the organisers fine tune the plan to surround the gaol, based on the number and age mix of attendees on the day, huggers will be updated on the latest news of the campaign and the vision for the gaol’s future as a cultural hub.

Marshals will then direct participants to position and the organisers expect the actual “hug” to be in place by about 3pm.

Online registration for the Reading Gaol Hug remains open on Eventbrite.