Gareth and Chris pay a lasting tribute to Nelson Mandela

Darlington and Stockton Times: TATTOO TRIBUTE: Gareth Smith's tattoo of Nelson Mandela TATTOO TRIBUTE: Gareth Smith's tattoo of Nelson Mandela

AS tributes poured in following the death of Nelson Mandela, farmer turned tattooist Chris Moss decided to mark the great man's life in the best way he knew how.

The professional artist from Richmond used Facebook to offer a free tattoo of the iconic leader.

Carpet fitter Gareth Smith , 43, from Catterick, couldn’t believe his luck and snapped up the chance.

He said: “I just thought what a great opportunity to have a tattoo of someone as great as Nelson Mandela, the guy is a legend.

"I had my first tattoo done by Chris last year, a dragon, and had been thinking about having another one done, but wasn’t really sure.

"Then when I saw Chris’s facebook advert I thought that’s it.”

Mr Moss had always been keen on drawing, but had followed the family farming tradition instead. He turned from agriculture to body art seven years ago after the foot and mouth disaster forced him to look for a new way of making a living.

He said: “I am always looking for new possibilities and when I saw the documentary about Nelson Mandela, it was just something I had to do, what an amazing man.

"The things he has done for South Africa are just brilliant.

“We sent a message over to the Mandela Foundation to tell them what we had done and they thanked us for the tribute. The fact that so far from South Africa in Richmond, North Yorkshire, he’s made an impact, says a lot about the man."

Mr Smith said: “It’s a brilliant likeness. I always think the world should always be a better place for someone's life and that is certainly true of Nelson Mandela."

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