Exploding Ink, owned by Kerry and Karl Watling and located on South Street in the town centre, opened their doors at 10am on Sunday for people to walk in and pay between £20 and £40 for one of their specially designed heart-themed tattoos to raise the funds to purchase a defibrillator for outside their shop.
Kerry explained: “We’ve wanted to do some fundraising for a while, but couldn’t pick a cause then we thought that having a defibrillator in town would be a good idea, that way it’s always there if people need it.”
The town turned out in force with long queues stretching all the way down the street, with some queueing for between two and eight hours to show their support for the cause.
Kerry said that the support of the town’s residents as overwhelming: “We weren’t expecting such a big turnout, it was amazing.
“Even when it was getting late, the people outside in the queue were chatting between themselves and spirits were high, there was a great atmosphere.”
Overall, the team tattooed more than 70 people with one of their heart designs, continuing tattooing well into the night with the last client leaving at 11pm, and they even had to turn people away from the queue from 4pm onwards otherwise they would have been there even longer into the night.
Kerry said the team had received donations from people just pitching up outside without even getting tattoos done.
“We had people come from all over - Skegness, Grismby, Lincoln - it was incredible that people travelled such a long way and queued for hours to support us.”
A fundraising raffle, with prizes donated by local businesses, is also running with the draw scheduled to take place tomorrow (Wednesday).
The team had quite a mix of people, from those who were coming for their first tattoo to those with many, and they heard some truly heartbreaking and inspirational stories from people who came in to have the tattoo.
One of whom was Heidi McClymont, from Tattershall, who had one of the tattoo designs inked onto her hand - the same hand she had used to perform CPR on her husband Craig and save his life back in August.
The couple had gone to bed as usual, but the usually settled Craig was restless and got up at 1.30am to make a hot drink after experiencing some mild chest pain, which he had put down to overdoing his gardening earlier in the day.
They went back to bed, but just an hour later Craig go up and went into cardiac arrest.
Luckily, Heidi had CPR training due to her role as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties, so she got Craig on the floor, called an ambulance and performed CPR on him until the ambulance arrived.
Craig was in intensive care for over three weeks and spent six weeks in hospital altogether due to his cardiac arrest, found to be caused by a blocked artery.
But miraculously, he should make a full recovery in time and has suffered no serious ill effects thanks to Heidi’s quick thinking.
She said: “I honestly don’t know how I did it, every now and then I’ll look at Craig and think ‘did it really happen?’ and get flashbacks because it just doesn’t seem real, even now.”
Incredibly, although Heidi’s CPR was using the correct techniques for half an hour, Craig suffered no broken ribs and the doctors told her that they didn’t know how she kept it up for so long, and that she had saved his life.
“That’s why I’ve had the tattoo on my right hand as it’s the hand I used to keep him alive,” Heidi said, “I was first in the queue and started queuing at 8.30am to make sure I got in!”
Heidi added that she hopes the tattooathon will help raise awareness of the importance of first aid being taught to everyone.
“Without the amazing training my company, Dimensions, provide I wouldn’t have known what to do,” she added.
The final total raised through the tattoathan is more than £2,000, with 100 percent of the money raised going to purchase a defibrillator, and any money raised over this amount will be donated to a children’s charity.