Stand by your Beds! - Ink For Heroes 2011

Published: 22 August, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 202, August, 2011

Help for Heroes is a charity very close to the tattooed communities heart. For some, one that’s a little too close for comfort, but when Ink For Heroes was announced, you just knew that the troops would rally for the occasion, and boy, did they ever...

This summer we saw a great gang of people come together to show their unrelenting support for a great event and even greater cause. Organised by few and enjoyed by many, the first Ink For Heroes tattoo convention opened its doors in the famous military town of Catterick on the June 18th and 19th 2011. 

A show dedicated to raise much-needed funds for the military charity Help for Heroes and, of course, to raise awareness and to salute our brave men and women injured or killed in the service. As expected the big names rocked up to show their support and they don’t come bigger than Mr Lal Hardy from New Wave alongside of Martin Clarke from Bluebird Tattoo Studio, who dedicated all their time over the weekend to tattooing injured service men and woman.

The guys didn’t seem to put their machines down over the two days, showing great testament to their characters, while at the same time bringing home just how many of our guys have been wounded. I met an amazing man who had lost his left leg from the knee down during a tour in Afghanistan. I remember thinking that the back piece he was having done mustn’t even register on his pain level after what he had been through. So I asked him and to my surprise he didn’t say a word, he just winked and bit down on his lip which in tattoo talk I believe means ‘don’t be soft, this it hurts like a mother...’

Of course the lovely Rose Elizabeth and Colleen Moss from the Cupcake Club stole the show. From the minute the doors opened until the final minutes of the Sunday, the ladies rolled like a well oiled machine. They even got to a point where Dan Gold threw off his jacket, picked up his machine and got cup-caking. As well as lending a hand, Dan also contributed a good portion of his earnings to the cause, as did so many. Over the weekend alone the Cupcake Club raised £2,353 taking the grand total to over £10,000 since they took on the task. Tip of the hat to you ladies!

There was also a charity auction offering some superb and unique items. With framed drawings from Dawnii Fantana, Dan Gold, Phil Kyle and many more, to signed books and a signed football shirt from Lal himself. My favourite pieces up for auction were two prosthetic knee joints which had been painted by Kat Von D and the great Don Ed Hardy. I made sure to dig deep and luckily bagged myself the one produced by Don! Result! It is now sat on my desk looking ever so slightly weird, but brilliant all the same. Again the good people at the show made sure to snap everything up raising well over £2,000 for the cause. Nice!

The show also made sure to cater for the young ones, which was nice to see, with loads of activities for them to enjoy as well as a painting competition. Judging by some of the art they were coming up with, I’d say we are in safe hands in the future. The winning entry also got to have their design brought to life! This is where the Ink for Heroes web designer, Gordon Buttle, came to the rescue letting Fat Panda’s Alex Bage borrow his body to tattoo the winning piece on. Brilliant!

The Sunday ended with a touching display as all the artists and attendees dropped what they were doing to put their hands together and applaud the team behind the show. Pam and Wayne from ABH Tattooing, Chris Moss from K2 and of course, Rose and Colleen.  

I take my hat off to the incredibly hard working team that made sure this first Ink For Heroes show was a success. With the word out and more and more people realising how important this cause is, I expect an even bigger turn out for next year! We’ll be there...

And The Winners Are...

Large Colour - Bez, Triple Six

Small Colour - Ryan Davies, Royal Owl

Large Black & Grey - Ronnie Godard, Blood Sweat & Pain

Small Black & Grey - Ronnie Godard, Blood Sweat & Pain

Back Piece - Mark Bester, Marked for Life

Best Oriental - Mark Bester, Marked for Life

Best Military - Mark Bester, Marked for Life


Text: James Marks; Photography: Franny Lane