Breightmet gardener's tattoo tribute to Nelson Mandela
WHEN Neil Finley had a tattoo of Nelson Mandela on his thigh two months ago, he was merely starting a personal mural of “great” men.
Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary’s life, Mr Finley went to Psycho Monkey Tattoo in Adlington and spoke to artist Jay Abbot, who had done a well-publicised tattoo of Boris Johnson last year, to design him his first face.
Now, after hearing about Mr Mandela’s death, the tattoo has become more of a fitting tribute to South Africa’s first black president, and Mr Finley has already thought of the next famous face.
The landscape gardener, aged 32, said: “This was the start of a number of portraits I want to get of great men — legends.
“I wanted to include Nelson Mandela because of everything that he has been through — to be put in prison for 27 years and then come out without an ounce of hatred within him is unbelievable.”
Mr Finley, of Thicketford Brow, Breightmet, said the tattoo means more to him since Mandela’s death on Thursday.
He said: “I had it in my mind that he was going to be the first portrait I would get, so I went to see Jay because I knew he specialises in portraits.
“We looked through a few photos and came up with the one I have had done.
“It took three hours, but I’m really happy with it – it looks just like the photo.”
Political leaders joined thousands of South Africans yesterday to commemorate Mr Mandela’s death at the FNB stadium in Soweto.
Among those attending were Prime Minister David Cameron and three of his predecessors, Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, along with US President Barrack Obama.
Also seen arriving at the service were supermodel Naomi Campbell, rock star Bono, former South African president FW De Klerk, ex-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former French president Nicholas Sarkozy.
Mr Mandela, who died aged 95, made his last public appearance at the stadium at the closing ceremony of the 2010 football World Cup.
Mr Finley said: “Now that he has passed away I feel like the tattoo has even more meaning than before.
“If I’d have got it done after he died people would think it was just to jump on the bandwaggon, but I’d wanted it for ages and I feel now like it’s a fitting tribute to him.
“I’m now planning on having Winston Churchill as my next design.”
- The book of condolence for Nelson Mandela has moved to Bolton Library. Signatories so far include MP Yasmin Qureshi, Westhoughton Mayor and Cllr Christopher Peacock and Bolton Council chief executive Sean Harriss.
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