Old school Blackpool tattoo artist dies after long fight with Alzheimer's

Derek Higham
Derek Higham
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An old-school tattoo artist who helped crack down on back-alley scratchers and bring in a new wave of health and safety reforms has died.

Derek Higham, 75, died on Saturday, November 16, following a seven-year battle with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

For more than 50 years he worked in tattoo studios around Blackpool, and was best known as the owner of Derek’s Tattoos on Foxhall Road.

A member of the British Tattoo Artists Federation, in the 1960s he was a vocal supporter of the Tattooing Of Minors Act, which made it illegal to tattoo a person under the age of 18.

His wife Carole Higham, 68, said: “It was very important to Derek that health and safety guidelines were put in place. Tattooing was his life. He was once in The Gazette for tattooing a bald man a full head of hair!

“He travelled all over the world tattooing. He would tattoo in Australia and Florida. He was a keen biker and loved his Harley Davidson.

“Everybody called him the salt of the Earth. He was a very good man.

“He was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2012 and it was a long, hard journey. The stages he went through were unbelievable. It just takes away everything from them. It’s awful.

“He will be very missed by everybody. I have had messages of condelences from artists all over the world and funny stories about him. He was loved everywhere.”

Derek leaves behind Carole, his three children, two stepchildren, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Derek’s funeral will take place at Lytham Crematorium on Friday, November 29. All are welcome.Instead of flowers, people are asked to bring donations for the Alzheimers Society.