Seaham man Shaun Henry has paid a permanent tribute to the fallen members of our armed forces - a tattoo of the town’s stunning Tommy statue on his right arm.
The 39-year-old, from Saturn Street, was on the look-out for a new tattoo, and decided there was nothing better than a picture of Ray Lonsdale’s sculpture.
“I wanted to cover up an existing tattoo - I had a rose on my arm,” said Shaun.
He turned to Spenty’s Tattoos, in West Grove, Seaham, for help: “My friend said ‘We will make you a new tattoo.’ We got a drawing done of Tommy down on the seafront and he said he would put some poppies and some soldiers on it.
“I really like it, I am really happy with it, and it has got a lot of attention locally.”
Tommy - the affectionate name for an artwork which is officially called 1101, to mark the hour at which the First World War officially ended - has become an icon of Seaham since it was installed on the seafront two years ago.
It was initially on loan to the town, but the local Mission 1101 campaign group raised £85,000 to make the statue a permanent addition and it has since become world famous.
Shaun, a taxi escort for disabled people, has been delighted with the reaction to his tattoo from not only family and friends but also members of the public.
“I got 100-odd ‘likes’ on my Facebook page - everybody was saying ‘It just looks fantastic.’” he said.
Even members of the Royal British Legion, which runs the Poppy Appeal each year, have been impressed: “I showed the people who were selling the poppies in Asda in Byron Place and they were amazed,” said Shaun.
“They just said ‘Wow.’”
Shaun isn’t the only one to show his respect for the fallen in a permanent way.
Sunderland fan Jason Brass, 25, has combined his love for club and country with a tattoo on his arm, inspired by an unlikely source which he picked up on a visit to the Stadium of Light.
“It is based on a little pin badge, which I bought outside the ground,” he said.
“I was looking for a tattoo and it was perfect. I took it to my local tattooist - he managed to take a photo of it and blow it up to make the actual image bigger because it was based on such a small badge,” said Jason, from Ferry Hill.