Paul wears his pop­pies all the time

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

AS body art goes it’s mag­nif­i­cent.

As a trib­ute to fallen com­rades it’s pa­tri­otic, pow­er­ful, pos­i­tive and per­ma­nent.

For his 50th birth­day two years ago for­mer sol­dier Paul Bre­heney com­mis­sioned a huge tat­too that takes pop­pies as its theme and acts as ar­guably the ul­ti­mate act of re­mem­brance. Now he wears his pop­pies ev­ery day. Mir­field-born Paul, 52, joined the Duke of Welling­ton’s Reg­i­ment in 1985 when he was 20 and spent two years on a tour of North­ern Ire­land where he met and mar­ried his ex-wife, Karon.

Paul later joined the Ul­ster De­fence Reg­i­ment. He never re­turned home to live in West York­shire. In­stead, 32 years af­ter join­ing the army, he still lives in Belfast.

Like many squad­dies he has sto­ries about lost friends. But he is keen to stress that his tat­too is a trib­ute to all the fallen from the Great War on­wards.

“It’s a full body piece and all in black apart from two pop­pies, a tree and a grave,” he said. “It’s based on the lone sol­dier with his ri­fle turned up­side down. I have bi­planes fly­ing on the top of my shoul­ders.

“I did it for my band of broth­ers. It took eight two-hour ses­sions and cost me £450. The tat­tooist was ex-army and gave me a really good rate.” Paul ad­mits: “It did hurt be­cause I didn’t use any numb­ing cream. The first two hours were a night­mare, then I just got into it. Then the last sit­ting was really hard. “The only time I was really sore was with the two pop­pies as he put the red in.” The tat­too has be­come a talk­ing point when­ever Paul takes off his shirt. And as a life-long Ter­rier since the age of eight he’s got used to fel­low fans be­ing bowled over and ask­ing for pic­tures. These days he trav­els to games with sons Jonathan, 28, and Mar­tin, 25. As the Belfast Terriers their ban­ner de­clares “The boys are back in Town” and adds the le­gend “Ul­ster Heart - York­shire Blood.” Paul added: “I’ve fol­lowed Town since about 1974. We have to cherry pick the matches we at­tend due to the price of the flights but we were across for the New­cas­tle and Man United games and for Spurs. We also went to Wem­b­ley. Peo­ple do come up and want to take pic­tures of it. I’ve done it for all the ser­vice peo­ple that have died in con­flict. I just felt that it was some­thing I had to do. “Now I carry my pop­pies with me all the time.” I’ve done it for all the ser­vice peo­ple that have died in con­flict ... it was some­thing I had to do. Ex-squad­die Paul Bre­heney sub­mit­ted to a full back tat­too with a Re­mem­brance theme for his 50th birth­day. Now he car­ries his pop­pies with him all the time

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.