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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Barrow great-grandmother, 78, opts for tattoo after daughter’s dare

MEET the gran with the butterfly tattoo.

Elsie Wilkes took the adage “think before you ink” to the extreme by waiting an astonishing 78 years to get her first tattoo.

But once the Barrow great-grandmother made up her mind, she didn’t waste a second in booking an appointment at a local tattoo parlour.

“The real reason I went was that my middle daughter dared me to get it done,” she said. “She dared me at dinner time and by the afternoon I was in there.”

Mrs Wilkes, of Ramsey Park, chose her image and the basic outline of a butterfly was etched into the skin of her forearm by an artist at All Style Tattoos in Crellin Street.

The detailed design was gradually filled in during the weeks leading up to Christmas to ensure her skin didn’t suffer an adverse reaction.

“I’m proud of it,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe it, but I’m actually a very shy person. But I wasn’t going to get one where people couldn’t see it, was I?”

Mrs Wilkes, who will be known to many locals if not by name then by her penchant for dying her hair unusual colours, conceded the tattoo was a bid to retain her youth.

She said she and her husband Harold, 89, who served on the harrowing Arctic Convoys during the Second World War, were slowing down and she needed new things to occupy her time.

“It does make you feel younger,” she said. “I suppose one of the main reasons I got it is that we don’t have a car anymore, we can’t go on holidays like we used to anymore, we can’t dance like we used to, so what am I going to with myself?”

Mrs Wilkes has always liked the idea of getting a tattoo but, in a sign of how times have changed, said it simply wasn’t an option for women when she was growing up.

“When I was younger we didn’t have this sort of thing,” she said. “I always say that if I was young now, I’d either be a goth or one those hippy people.”

While Mrs Wilkes is happy to show off her new artwork now, she wasn’t game enough to tell her husband her plans until it was too late.

“She came home and it was done,” Mr Wilkes said. “But I don’t mind, I love her. I wouldn’t swap her for black pudding.”

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