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Lifelong memento

15 November 2013

IT IS a job that Lee Mayes will never forget, and he has made sure of that by having a lasting reminder tattooed on his arm. Experienced in conservation work for the builders Knox & Wells, of Cardiff, he was appointed site manager for the £850,000 refurbishment of the Galilee Chapel at St Illtyd's, Llantwit Major, in Llandaff diocese.

The 13th-century chapel was a roofless ruin that has now been brought back to life, and has just been officially opened by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, as a new visitor centre.

It houses Celtic crosses that are more than 1000 years old, and it was the design on these that inspired Mr Mayes. "I am not a religious person, but . . . as soon as I saw the Celtic designs when I came down here, I knew I wanted to be involved in this project," he says.

"I saw the Celtic designs on the stones, and thought to myself: I'm going to have that on my arm. It took a couple of sittings, and was pretty painful, but I really like it, and it's great to have a lasting reminder of working here. It's been a great job: I love old buildings, and you can't get much older than this one."

He already had an endless-knot tattoo on his arm, which he had designed himself, but he had the head of the Samson Cross - taken from the grave of Will the Giant, a 17-year-old man who was seven feet seven inches tall - inked in above it by a tattoo artist, Matt Faulkner (below), and the Latin inscriptions from another cross added underneath.

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