Manchester shows pride with bee tattoos after attack

 A tattoo artist inks a bee logo following the May 22 Manchester Arena bombing attack, at Tattitude on May 26, 2017.
A tattoo artist inks a bee logo following the May 22 Manchester Arena bombing attack, at Tattitude on May 26, 2017.PHOTO: AFP
The bee logo is a symbol of Manchester's industrial heritage, and rapidly becoming a symbol of resilience after the attack.
The bee logo is a symbol of Manchester's industrial heritage, and rapidly becoming a symbol of resilience after the attack.PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER (AFP) - Since the terror attack, Manchester's tattoo parlours have been swarmed by requests for tattoos of bees - a symbol of the city and its residents' deep community spirit.

Tattoo parlors in places such as Canada, Australia and America also picked up the template and were inking the bee, CNN said on Saturday (May 27).

To beat the crowds, Naomi Johnson arrived early on Friday at a parlour called Tattitude, after its owners said they would donate proceeds to a fund set up to help people affected by Monday's suicide bombing.

"I just felt I wanted to do something to signify how we are all feeling," said the 32-year-old neurologist, her left leg lifted on a stool as tattoo artist Jordon wielded the ink needle.

"No city is as good as Manchester," said Johnson, who wore a summer dress, pink lipstick and sunglasses perched on her forehead.

"The bee is a symbol of hard-working people but also of standing together."

Jordon, 28, etched the image onto her leg and then added on the words: "Stay strong our kid" - a phrase as Manchester as they come, in a city built on hard work during the Industrial Revolution.

"I did 15 yesterday. There are already six people queueing and the morning's not over yet!" the tattoo artist said.

Jordon said he was working on his days off.

The worker bee was adopted as a motif for the city during the Industrial Revolution, during which Manchester rapidly expanded from a small town into a major city and a world centre of factory-based industry.

It symbolises the hard work of Mancunians - as residents are called - and the city being a hive of activity in the 19th century.

The bee also features on the city's crest, ship HMS Manchester, Boddingtons beer, on the mosaic flooring in the Town Hall and on lamp-posts around the city.

The tattoos cost £50 (S$88) each and the money goes to a special fund set up by Manchester city authorities in conjunction with the Red Cross that has already raised more than £4 million.

Some parlors were starting to keep their doors open until 2 am to make sure everyone who wants to can be inked, CNN said.

Before the attack, Paul said his parlours were getting requests for 10 bee tattoos a week.

Paul, who is covered in tattoos and piercings, including on his face, has been so busy he has hardly had the time to process the attack on his city which killed 22 people and injured dozens more.

"I live 10 minutes away from here. I had friends at the concert. They weren't hurt but everybody's affected by it," he told AFP.

Paul said he was supposed to be looking after his seven-year-old daughter, who would normally come to the parlour with him, but did not want her around in a city that is still jittery.

"I've sent her to my mum's 40 miles (65 km) away," he said.

The day after the attack, a massive shopping centre near the tattoo parlour had to be evacuated after an alert that turned out to be a false alarm.

In the waiting room, Stephanie Gilchrist, a 19-year-old blonde, looked nervous. She said she had finally decided to get a tattoo on her wrist after thinking about it for a few days.

Gilchrist, who works at a jewellers, said she wanted "to do something".

"After the attacks, I heard all of the proceeds would go to the families. I've set my heart on it, I can't back out."