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Support Tameside tattooist Sam
Thursday 8th June 2017 @ 11:44 by Lee Wild
News Stalybridge

The Tameside Reporter, in conjunction with former Heartbeat actor Jack Marsden, today launches an appeal to recognise the amazing contribution made by one of our own to the Manchester Attack Appeal.

Stalybridge tattooist Samantha Barber was the originator of the ‘Manchester Bee Tattoo Appeal’ which has so far raised more than £300,000 to support the families of those killed or injured in the atrocity.

Together, we are asking people to support our campaign to award Sam the highest civic honour a person can be bestowed, the Freedom of the Borough of Tameside.

If you would like to recognise Sam’s amazing gesture, we’re asking you to email [email protected] to show your support for a local hero.

Simply email “I support Sam Barber” and we will collect all your messages before passing them on to the Civic Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Joyce Bowerman, to recognise Sam’s achievements.

Jack Marsden, who starred as PC York in the popular period drama Heartbeat, said he was touched by the response to the attack.

“I was in Manchester when the actual attack happened, and it was horrific to see,” he said.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see on the news how people were responding to the Manchester Bee tattoo appeal and that queues were forming outside of tattoo parlours.

“The Manchester Bee tattoo just encapsulated so much of what I think society needs.

“Certainly it’s what Manchester needs right now, maybe even the world, because this buzzing little Manchester bee has gone global.”

“When I looked at where it all started, this amazing tattooist Samantha, I just thought how ingenious is that.

“It’s allowed people to express how they feel and to support the charities to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The entire appeal has been a huge co-ordinated effort, which has included support from her business partner Adam Spencer Young.

Sam said she thought the idea was an obvious one to raise money for the appeal.

“I just wanted to do something to help and being a tattooist, that’s the one thing I can do is tattoo, and the obvious choice was to do the Manchester bee.

“I’ve tattooed it in the past on people who wanted it as a proud symbol of where they came from and it just seemed more than relevant at the time.

“I didn’t expect it to take off as it did, I was hoping some local studios would get involved but then I was overwhelmed by the response from the tattoo industry that everyone across the world was right behind us with it; sending support from Australia, New Zealand, America and everywhere.”

The team behind their appeal had people bringing them smoothies, sandwiches and more to help them get through the extra hours caused by the long queues.

The artists are not only giving their time for free, but are actually operating at a loss, with the materials for the tattoo actually costing between £10-£14 per person.

The appeal has brought hundreds of thousands of people together, united in one cause.

A 75-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman were just two of the people who booked themselves in to be inked for their first ever tattoos.

Famous rock band Bowling for Soup even took time out from their performance at Slamdunk festival to get the tattoo.

Adam said: “I don’t think we’ve slept for about six days. The thing that we’ve really tried to get across is that it is a collective thing.

“If the studios and the people hadn’t come together it wouldn’t have been possible.

“The bee is such a symbol of strength and hope, everyone wanted to be a part of that.

“We’ve had a really strong team of admin support which we’ve needed as we’ve been receiving 3,000 to 4,000 emails a day – so it’s been fantastic.”