A tattoo artist is giving people free ink if they donate a toy to their Christmas gift appeal to make sure less fortunate kids don't miss a 'visit from Santa'.
James, from the Ink Kingz in Oxford Place, Leeds, brought back his annual toy appeal this year to do what he can to give struggling families a happier Christmas. The dad appeared on BBC's The One Show to explain he will give anyone who donates a toy at his tattoo parlour some free body art.
He said: "Every year we do an event called Tatts 4 Toys. Basically what we do is we set up over the year 1,000 designs which we can then tattoo onto people and all they have to do is bring a toy down to trade. We've been getting bigger and bigger every year. This year we've already got 2,000 toys."
Shocked, the presenter asked why it meant so much to him to do this as his business would "just stop" during this time. To which, James replied: "To be honest, it was my family that were here at one time. So, what I try and do now is use my skill and give back to the community to help people like us who need help."
According to Leeds Plus Social, Ink Kingz will be dedicating December 9 to doing as many inkings as possible. They wrote on a TikTok clip, which has gained more than 28,000 likes: "Transforming Christmas for kids in Leeds… one tattoo at a time.
"Toy donations are your currency this Saturday, as Leeds dad James will exchange any gift for a completely free tattoo at his studio in the city centre. James grew up not knowing whether there would be anything under the tree at Christmas – and now he wants to give back to his community in the way he knows best.
"For the past few years, Ink Kingz Leeds have run an innovative drive called ‘Tatts 4 Toys’ offering free ink in exchange for donations of toys, including pre-loved items, secondhand tech and more! Last year, their scheme received over 500 toys across their studios in Leeds and Pontefract.
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"So far this Christmas they’ve already received 1,500 gifts and are ready to make this year even bigger! On December 9, at their Leeds studio, James’ tattoo artists are being called in from all areas of Yorkshire to help out, as Ink Kingz open their doors to anyone who wishes to donate a child’s toy."
Locals have flocked to the comments to praise James for his work. One social media user said: "This idea is amazing." Another added: "What a magnificent lad."
A third commented: "And my faith in humanity is restored." Meanwhile, a fourth wrote: "Nice one James you're definitely a hero right now."
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