Tattoo tribute to Nelson Mandela

Ealing Times: Tattoo of Nelson Mandela which has been he inked onto the thigh of Gareth Smith. Tattoo of Nelson Mandela which has been he inked onto the thigh of Gareth Smith.

A tattooist said he was "compelled" to ink a likeness of Nelson Mandela as a personal tribute to the former South African leader.

Artist Chris Moss made the free offer on his shop's Facebook page and it was taken up by Gareth Smith, a 43-year-old carpet fitter from Catterick Village, North Yorkshire.

Mr Moss took about three hours to ink the design, which is around two hands wide, onto Mr Smith's thigh.

The artist who runs the K2 Body Art shop in Richmond, North Yorkshire, was inspired to make the offer after watching hours of tributes to Mr Mandela on television.

He said: "I am a spiritual man and I was compelled to do it.

"When I decided to do it, I said a prayer and I searched on the computer for 'iconic images of Nelson Mandela'.

"I looked through three pages of images and then this one knocked me out."

Mr Moss then mapped the design out in preparation for inking it onto a customer.

Mr Smith saw the advert and was delighted to take up the offer.

"A great man died and this is a great tribute," he said.

"I think it is an amazing tattoo.

"Everyone I know has commented on it and he has caught such a good likeness.

"Nelson Mandela is a great person who did great things not just for South Africa, but thoughout the world."

Mr Smith already has a dragon image on his shoulder which was done by Mr Moss, a former pig farmer who became a tattooist in the wake of the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

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