Ottery fan has church tattooed on torso

Ben McNeil superimposed next to St Mary's Church in Ottery

Ben McNeil superimposed next to St Mary's Church in Ottery - Credit: Archant

A MAN misses Ottery so much he has paid a unique tribute to his home town – by having its church tattooed on his torso.

Londoner Ben McNeil, 25, proudly has St Mary’s emblazoned across his body to remember his family’s roots.

He has not lived in the town since he was four years old, but spent £350 going under the needle for a place he says still feels like home.

“It took seven hours over three sittings – I can’t pretend it didn’t hurt but it wasn’t that bad,” he told the Herald.

“It was absolutely worth it, I’m very happy to have my little piece of home with me all the time.”

He said the tattoo serves as a conversation starter that gives him the chance to talk about Ottery’s people and traditions.

He said his tales of the tar barrels leave others ‘bemused but envious’.

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Ben, who teaches people how to create and record music with computers, also has ‘ink’ of a pocket watch his late grandfather gave him in the Volunteer pub on his forearm, and the ship he sailed on during the war on his calf.

The former Tip Hill resident said his grandmother, Jo Sarton, still lives in Ottery and is quite proud of his body art – but is unsure why he puts himself through it.

The tattoo was done by Lewis Piper at Stainless Steve’s in Kent.