A former miner has certainly made his mark on the community as he celebrates 30 years of opening his tattoo studio.
Ex-pitman Eddie Hardiman used his redundancy money when he lost his job in the mid-80s to set up Eddie’s Tattoo Studio in Horden.
And 30 years later he is still going strong.
In fact, it has become a real family affair, as his daughter Trudy Hardy and granddaughter Shannon Hardy also work there.
Eddie, who is now 68, said: “I bought the business with my redundancy money when the pit shut.
“Actually, it wasn’t a shop, it was a shell and I rebuilt it and opened in 1986.
There’s not many tattooists can boast they have been in the same shop for 30 yearsEddie Hardiman
“I had been interested in tattooing all my life, even when I was at the pit.”
Eddie had worked down Horden coal mine for 23 years before he and hundreds of other miners lost their jobs when the pits were closed by the Government in the 1980s.
Even then he was doing tattoo work on a weekend and during his holidays.
He first picked up the needle when he was still at school at the tender age of 14 when his first customer was himself.
“Altogether I’ve been involved in tattooing for about 55 years,” said Eddie. “Back then there was no age limit. It was only in 1969 when the age limit became 18.”
And over the years demand for his skills has grown as tattoos become increasingly popular.
Eddie, married to Brenda, added: “It is very popular, especially with women. Years ago you were lucky if you did one woman a year, now it is at least once a week.”
And reflecting on reaching 30 years in business he said: “It is a long time. There’s not many tattooists can boast they have been in the same shop for 30 years.
“I still enjoy it. To me it’s not a job, it’s a way of life. I have got no plans whatsoever to retire.”
He has been supported in the business by daughter Trudy, who works on reception and has been studio manager for the last 15 years.
And 21-year-old granddaughter Shannon joined three years ago as a laser removal technician.
Eddie previously ran the Peterlee Tattoo Arts Festival for 10 years. But he had to give it up when he needed a life-saving triple vascular bypass due to problems with his veins and circulation.
He spent seven weeks in hospital.
“The doctor said if I didn’t do it I would die,” said Eddie. “I have difficulty walking, but I still come to work every day.”