Fallen soldiers’ names added to human memorial

Bridlington Tattooist  Kevin Kent, tattooing Shaun Clark with the names of soldiers who have died in the last year'PA1245-23h
Bridlington Tattooist Kevin Kent, tattooing Shaun Clark with the names of soldiers who have died in the last year'PA1245-23h

A FORMER soldier has turned himself into a living memorial to pay his respects to service personnel killed in Afghanistan.

Shaun Clark had 50 names of fallen service men and women inscribed into his leg by friend and tattoo artist, Kevin Kent.

Mr Clark now has 437 names of those killed in the line of duty tattooed onto his chest, his back and legs, though it is sad to see he is running out of space.

The 46-year-old, who started the practice in 2009, has the new names added each Remembrance Day, beginning at exactly 11am.

But this year, due to prior Remembrance day commitments, he spent an hour and a half in Ink In Skin tattoo parlour in King Street, Bridlington, on Saturday November 10.

Sadly the list already needs updating - the latest deaths in the conflict will be added next Remembrance Day.

Mr Clark, who served with the 8th Battalion Light Infantry Regiment from 1989 to 1996, said: “I wanted to do something for charity, I didn’t want to do something normal. I am ex-service, I wanted it to mean something for them.”

Through sponsorship Mr Clark has raised £4,800 for Help the Heroes, and this year money raised will be shared with Pilgrims Bandits, a charity aimed at helping injured service personnel live life to the full.

He said: “We are hopefully coming out of Afghanistan in 2014 and my promise was to have them all on, which I will do. But if I run out of space my son will take over. It is an honour to have their names on me.

“I do not do this lightly, I think of and know a bit about each of the soldiers’ whose names I have on my body. It was particularly heartbreaking when the name of the first woman was tattooed on. That really hit home.

“I did worry about what the soldiers’ families would think of what I’m doing but so far I have had nothing but praise for what I’m doing, and I’m very proud to have the names of these men and women tattooed on my body.

“I speak to soldiers in Afghanistan on Facebook who say they are pleased to know that should they die in action their name will be added too.”

Mr Clark, a court security officer who lives in Rossington, Doncaster, began having the tattoos on Remembrance Day in 2009 when more than 300 names were inked onto his torso, taking over five hours.

He said: “The only problem is I keep having to take off my shirt to show my tattoos to people. Word has spread over the years and there is not one day goes by when I’m not asked to show someone the names. Solicitors at court ask to see them and the other day a judge asked me if he could take a look.”

To donate, visit justgiving.co.uk/shaun-clarkhelptheheroes