Highgate’s gothic Women’s Institute sign up for matching organ donor tattoos

Members of a gothic Women’s Institute (WI) have made their passionate support for organ donation permanent by signing up for specially-designed matching tattoos.

The Gothic Valley WI, who meet at Lauderdale House in Highgate once a month dressed all in black, have once again challenged the WI stereotype of jam and Jerusalem by getting inked.

They want to raise awareness of the national donor shortage, as well as making known that they are all registered donors.

They have chosen one of two designs created by Kilburn tattoo artist Joe Farrell, of Kilburn Original studio.

Most opted for a red heart outline with the words “I am an organ donor”, but some chose an anatomically correct heart with a banner reading: “Donor”.


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Organ donation is the National Federation of Women’s Institute’s (NFWI) campaign of the year.

President Madeleine Pearce said: “A lot of our members are part of the alternative community, so we felt that a tattoo would be the perfect way for us to express our wishes to donate our organs after our deaths.”

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Three people die every day in the UK in need of an organ transplant, and there are 10,000 people in the UK in need of a transplant.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are delighted that the WI is encouraging people to talk about organ donation and make their decision known in such innovative ways.

“With four out of 10 families still saying no to organ donation when asked, it’s more important than ever that people tell their families they want to be an organ donor.

“However you do it, over a cup of tea, when you’re out walking the dog or like these ladies, by gathering a group of friends and having your intention permanently tattooed, let those closest to you know your decision to donate your organs.”

Marylyn Haines Evans, public affairs chair of the NFWI, said: “Gothic Valley WI members are proving that the WI really is everything that you want it to be.

“We’re looking forward to seeing their campaign tattoos, and believe that their actions will encourage even more people to have such a vital conversation with their families and friends to share their views on organ donation.”

The tattoo artist has waived copyright on the images, so the designs can be used by any artist or printer.

Find Gothic Valley WI on Twitter at @gothicvalleywi.

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