AN award winning tattoo artist is raffling off £500 worth of inking in a huge show of support for a town music venue.
Generous Paul Egan, 46, will give the owner of the winning raffle ticket the tattoo of their choice at Wishful Inkin, in Murray Street, absolutely free.
The fantastic gesture by Paul will help to rack up support and much-needed cash to keep The Studio, in Tower Street, open.
It looked like the end was near for the popular music venue when Hartlepool College of Further Education and Cleveland College of Art and Design withdrew their support earlier this year and the building went up for sale.
But the hardworking trustees decided to fight on and took it off the market last month before a fundraising drive was launched to raise £5,000 by the end of the year to insure the building so that it can continue as a music venue.
And talented Paul, a dad-of-four, could play a major part in that, after contacting the charity’s trustees and revealing his plans to help boost the funds.
Paul, who’s married to Elaine and lives in Haswell Avenue, in the town, said: “When The Studio went up for sale everyone was saying how much of a shame it was and talking about their memories there but nobody was doing anything about it.
“If people just stand by it’s going to close without a fight.
“The trustees are doing what they can so I wanted to get involved, help to raise money and help to keep The Studio alive.
“It’s a fantastic venue, the best in the town by a mile, and it means so much to music lovers in Hartlepool.
“I have seen so many different bands there over the years, top bands as well as good local acts.”
The raffle tickets, priced at £1 per strip, are on sale now at the Park Inn, in Park Road, and at Wishful Inkin.
The draw will be made on Monday, October 14.
Paul added: “This isn’t just for people who might want to get tattooed themselves.
“It will make a fantastic Christmas present for someone and even if they want to sell it on to a friend, it’s still going to make money for The Studio, that’s the main thing.”
Phil Swinburne, chair of The Studio’s trustees, said: “I just think it’s a great thing for Paul to come forward to us and suggest this idea.
“I didn’t ask him to do it, Paul came to us because he knows how important The Studio is to the town.”
Anybody who wants to support The Studio can call 07723092286.
For information about the raffle call Wishful Inkin on (01429) 283755 or email www.wishfulinkin.co.uk.