Monday, June 6, 2011

Tommy breaks a promise

Despite having other plans for today's post, I couldn't pass up this photograph of 69-year-old Tommy Wells, Britain's oldest tattooed man, looking a bit crabby on his scooter...

Tommy has spent thousands of pounds over 52 years to get the 1,000 tattoos he sports head to toe - speaking of which, he even has them on the soles of his feet. When his (uninked) wife of 44 years, Sandra, died in 2004, he got one more tattoo: "I love you always, love Tommy," it reads across the back of his head. The ink honors her, but also breaks a promise he had made to her to keep his head design-free. She had implored him to stop when he had covered his body, but Tommy explains, "[A]fter she died I was so devastated that the only thing that I could do to make me feel better was have a tattoo tribute to her - and my face and head were the only places I had left....I just so hope that she can forgive me but I do have that feeling that heaven will be hell for me in the years to come. When she died she was cremated and her ashes went into an urn. I did say to my daughter, 'Put me in there with her in a brown paper bag, because I know if Sandra sees me she will kill me!" In fact, it was Sandra who had dared the retired coach driver from Worsley, Greater Manchester, to get his 1st tattoo at the age of 17. The initial design on his arm was followed by skulls, daggers, flowers, and the names of family members. Now a great-grandfather, Tommy has inspired his children to get tattooed, but is convinced they will never catch up to him because they got off to such a late start. Tommy has had over half a century to accumulate his body art and reveals, "I would do the same if I had my time again."

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