Tattoo pain means gain for autism fund

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A lifelong Liverpool fan has promised to get the crest of arch-rival club, Manchester United, permanently tattooed on his body.

Liverpool FC fan Niall proudly shows off his club’s kit. Pic © Niall Byrne

Niall Byrne will go under the needle next month after agreeing to get the Manchester club’s logo inked on his calf to raise money for autism units in Arklow, Ireland.

The avid Reds’ supporter is father to daughter Freya, who was diagnosed with autism when she was just three years old. He has taken part in various fundraising over the past several years but says this is the “wackiest” thing he’s committed himself to so far.

He said: “The idea came to me just last Sunday. I’ve held summer football tournaments over the past few years to help raise a bit of money but summer is still six months away.

“My wife and I were talking at the weekend and I don’t know how, but the idea just popped into my head. I thought, “what can I do to help and who do I dislike the most?”… Manchester United!

“I set up a gofundme page on Monday hoping to raise €1,500 and by Wednesday we had already reached that goal. The aim now is to reach €3,500 before the EFL Cup final on February 26th.”

Andrew O’Callaghan, a local tattoo artist, has offered to pen Niall’s leg free of charge and the Irishman plans to unveil the artwork on the day of the final, in a pub full of Man United fans.

All proceeds will be donated to Mr Byrne’s daughter’s school, St Joseph’s National, where efforts by himself and other parents have already raised enough money to provide an autism unit with two sensory rooms.

YouTube: BodModz

Mr Byrne said: “People with autism suffer from visual and sensory problems. The sensory rooms act as a calming facility and are places for the kids to be in their own world for a while.

“My daughter is now seven years old and just seeing the progress that she has made whilst being at St Joseph’s just shows that the staff and facilities are nothing short of extraordinary.”

Principal of St Joseph’s National School, Máire Daltúin, told JMU Journalism: “Niall is representative of the co-operation that exists between our parents and our school and their fundraising efforts always involve some element of fun and good humour.

“Niall has really gone the extra mile on this occasion and has even surprised us as we know he has just made his ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of our children. Words cannot express our gratitude to Niall and to all the parents who fundraise for our children.”

If you wish to help Niall reach his goal, click here to donate.


About Jessica Harris, JMU Journalism