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Bury St Edmunds gran Eileen Carrington ticks first tattoo off her bucket list

A Bury St Edmunds grandmother has proved that age is just a number after sitting for her first tattoo this week.

Eileen Carrington visited tattoo artist Gavin Rodrigues at Mr Bulb Tattoos and Collectables, in St Andrew’s Street South, on Tuesday afternoon and around 10 minutes later, left with her first tattoo – a small blue butterfly on her forearm.

“I’ve been thinking about doing it for some time,” said Eileen, who is in her 70s. “It’s been in my mind on and off but I never really seriously thought I’d get it done.”

Eileen Carrington got her first tattoo in her 70s (31343003)
Eileen Carrington got her first tattoo in her 70s (31343003)

Eileen was inspired to get the tattoo after admiring those of the staff at her favourite shop, Hotel Chocolat, at the arc shopping centre.

“There are a couple of girls there and they have the most fantastic tattoos. They are absolutely wonderful,” she said.

But it was only after speaking to her son, who was visiting from the Middle East, that Eileen decided to take the plunge and get one herself.

“I had worried about the stigma and what people would think but my son told me ‘go ahead and have it done’,” she said. “I wanted it somewhere I could see it. I’m not ashamed so I didn’t want to hide it.”

The blue butterfly design was an easy decision for Eileen, who wanted something ‘small but pretty’.

“There are so many of God’s beautiful creatures which are getting fewer and fewer so I wanted something to remind me of them and blue is my favourite colour,” she said.

She added that it reminded her of a time when her husband and their two sons went on a picnic to the Vale of the White Horse and found themselves surrounded in ‘a cloud’ of blue butterflies.

“It was something I knew I’d never forget – it was beautiful,” she said.

Eileen has yet to show her sons and four grandchildren the new tattoo but said she was certain they would approve.

“They’ve always thought I’m a rebel and a bit dippy,” she said. “I’m a lively person and I like to make life enjoyable and fun.

“I’m a great believer that getting older doesn’t mean you can’t still think like a young person.”

And how did she find going under the needle for the first time?

“The whole thing was such a pleasant, fun experience. It was totally pain free and Gavin was very gentle,” she said. “It’s fascinating to watch how they do it and I’m really pleased with the end result.”

Eileen, who is a keen musician and among many of her past times sings in St Mary’s Ladies’ Choir and knits for the Country Market in Oddfellows Hall, added that she is toying with the idea of a second tattoo – this time of a honeybee.

But for now, she is working towards her Royal School of Church Music's Chorister Silver Award.

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