Epic tattoo marathon for autism groups

Tattoo artists Shaun Griffin, Michael Kelly and Aaron Mitchell from the Tattoo Lounge in Derry.

Tattoo artists Shaun Griffin, Michael Kelly and Aaron Mitchell from the Tattoo Lounge in Derry.

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Big-hearted tattoo artists are planning to stage a mammoth tattooing event later this month to raise much-needed funds for two Derry groups set up to help children with autism and their families.

Michael Kelly, Shaun Griffin and Aaron Mitchell from The Tattoo Lounge will be staging the mammoth event on Saturday, April 30.

Together with fellow artists Rory O’Neill from State of the Arts Tattoo Studio in Dungannon and Danny McCay of Anchor & Rose Tattoo Parlour in Strabane. The men plan to tattoo 150 people in a single day at their base in Beechwood Avenue in Creggan.

Michael Kelly, the owner of The Tattoo Lounge on Beechwood Avenue in Creggan, told the Journal: “We did it two years ago for the Pink Ladies and this time, so far, we have already 130 booked and we will get the rest no bother. All money raised will go to local autism groups the Jigsaw Project and CoS (Circle of Support).

“The idea came about because autism is a big thing in the town but there isn’t that much support and April is Autism Awareness Month.

“I know personally, knowing people with children with autism, what it means to have those groups, and the clubs take the children away on day trips and give the family a break, and most of the autism groups aren’t getting any funding for the great work they do.

“There will be five artists on the day doing it. There will be four or five different wee designs based around the Jigsaw piece, which is the symbol for autism. It will be £35 to get the tattoo done, £5 to cover the basic cost and £30 will go towards the charity pot. It all gets totalled up at the end.

“Most of the people signed up are local and there’s a few from outside Derry as well.”

Popular local barber Danny Coyle will also be offering full luxury hot towel shaves on the day at The Tattoo Lounge in aid of the charities for £15.

Mr Kelly added: “There will be live music throughout the whole day and it is open to all, and families and everyone are welcome to come along.

“If people want to make a donation there will be collection buckets as well- you don’t have to get a tattoo, you can just come along.

“We are also actually organising a Rock Night for that evening upstairs at the Castle Bar as well and all the proceeds from that will also go to the groups. This will take place after the day event and there will be raffles and stuff on the night.”

The tattooing marathon runs from 11am to 8pm and will be followed by the Rock Night, which is also open to everyone.