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Tattoo parlour in danger of closure
IT has made an indelible mark on the community in more ways than one.
But now a troubled tattoo parlour needs the help of its supporters to survive.
Knights Road tattoo studio in Blackbird Leys, described as a vital meeting hub, could go out of business following a string of adversities.
Susan Kellaway, 63, the partner of owner Ian Austin, died in hospital last Sunday.
The Headington resident has himself suffered from frequent bouts of ill health and has not been able to properly run the business.
Losing his “rock” has hit the business hard and he said he needs £3,000 to stop the council locking it up.
The building is owned by Oxford City Council and in Mr Austin’s absence through sickness a backlog of rent arrears and bills has mounted.
The 53-year-old said: “My life has been devastated.
“My staff have been wonderful but I have been in pieces, crying all the time.
“Susan was like a mother to the parlour and to the people who came here.
“Over Christmas she bought me many more presents than she should have done, and I think it’s because she knew she didn’t have long left and wanted me to have a special time.
“Susan had bad chest infection, and within about 20 minutes of arriving at hospital had a seizure and died – her heart just stopped.”
Friends and colleagues have rallied round to raise funds.
Mr Austin, who has had his work exhibited at the Oxford Union, said: “The place is so much more than a tattoo parlour. People say it is more like a community centre than the community centre.
“We’ve even been told that it has helped cut down trouble in the area.
“It’s a vibrant part of the Blackbird Leys community. Before we moved in it was a tip.
“We have turned it around and everyone has said what a positive impact on the community it has had.
“To lose it all would be unthinkable.”
Tattooist at the parlour Jamie Gardiner, 30, said it had held fundraising events for charities in the past but now needed support.
He said: “Not many people can even imagine what he must be going through.
“It’s not just somewhere people can go for tattoos, it’s somewhere people can drop in and have coffee, or even chat about their problems. It means so much to so many people and would be a huge loss for Blackbird Leys.”
A spokesman for Oxford City Council said: “We have been in discussions with the owner of the tattoo parlour. We would encourage him to have further conversations with us so we can help resolve the situation.”
A raffle is running inside the shop until February 1.
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