Billy Kinsella's back tattoo (left); Mr Kinsella with tattooist Kev Evans
Billy Kinsella's back tattoo (left); Mr Kinsella with tattooist Kev Evans

A supporter of the Armed Forces who was under the tattoo artist's gun for six consecutive days is delighted with the finished design - but is continually being asked to take his shirt off.

Power station worker Mr Billy Kinsella, from Newark, has returned to work this week following six consecutive days of six-hour sessions for the back tattoo featuring scenes from the Battle of the Somme. 

He said he had been inspired by what he considered to be the iconic battle of the first world war, which resulted in a huge loss of life.

He wanted the tattoo out of respect for the military, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the first world war's conclusion, next year.

His chosen design is a montage comprising a picture of British Tommies in the trenches, a period tank, artillery gun, the cenotaph, cemetery headstones, poppies and the words ‘Lest We Forget.’

Although Billy was never in the Forces, he has friends who have been, some of whom returned having lost limbs. Mr Kinsella said he had tremendous respect for what they did.

Mr Kinsella paid the £1,200 cost of the tattoo himself and raised money for Help for Heroes through a Justgiving page.

He looks to have raised £1,500 for the charity.

After the tattoo was finally finished, Mr Kinsella said: "It's spot on.

"I wouldn't recommend it but I'm over the moon with it.

"The poppies at the bottom of it just set the whole thing off.

"I'm forever looking at it and I'm always being asked to take my shirt off.

"It hurt, but I've no regrets. You soldier on."

The artwork was carried out by tattooist Kev Evans, at the Taurus Tattoo Studio, Lombard Street, Newark. He said it was the longest consecutive time that anyone had sat for him. 

Mr Evans said he had thought Mr Kinsella was "a bit nuts" when he first suggested the idea to him.

To donate, visit Billy’s fundraising page at Billy Kinsella's JustGiving page.