Pam Nash, who rose to fame nearly 70 years ago because of her natural beauty and extensive tattoo collection, passed away last month and was buried just this morning. Though she was largely forgotten by the public in the new millennium, her legacy lives on through the wonderful and occasionally risqué photographs of her. Many members of the community in which she lives, tattoo enthusiasts, and her last few remaining relatives attended her funeral, which was a beautiful celebration of her life.
Pam Nash is one of the most photographed tattooed women of her time. This is due to the fact that the tattoos captured England's cultural imagination when it first rose to prominence during the middle of the 20th century and numerous news outlets started reporting on tattooed individuals. As seen in some of the images here, there are numerous pictures of Nash showing off her body art at the Bristol Tattoo Club, which was the only organization of its kind in Britain back then. Her voice has even been passed down through this documentation as well. "We've been at work on the design since Easter," said Nash upon being award a prize for her back-piece by the club. "I have a bit more added each week." All of her tattoos were done by the legendary Les Skuse, who is largely responsible for trailblazing the way for future tattooists in the country.
Upon Nash's death last month, the Cheltenham Borough Council struggled to contact any relatives to help make the necessary funeral arrangements. Though she rose to fame during the 1950s and 60s, by the end of her life, she had drifted almost entirely into obscurity, living a rather solitary life in Fiddler's Green. In an interview with Gloucestershire Live, Garreth Jones — the towns Senior Environmental Officer — said, "It seems a shame that someone who must have been a very well-known character in Cheltenham doesn't seem to have any family or friends who can come to her funeral." Fortunately, after several weeks of outreach, city officials managed to contact Nash's last living relatives, her estranged son, Beverly, and his family, who currently reside in the US.
Beverly and his family were able to attend his mother's funeral. He even wrote a touching letter to her, which he read during the ceremony. "I never had the opportunity to say: 'Hello, mum. I love you.' But now I have had that opportunity. Your life is like a fascinating novel. I was there for the first chapter, and I have now read the final paragraph," he said. "On Valentine's Day two years ago, I saw the picture of you in the mirror, and on your arm were two hearts. I knew then that you really did care for me." The way that Nash's tattoos communicate her love for her long-lost son from beyond the grave is profound as it is tearjerking. It shows how body art is more than merely bodily decoration; the art form can be a means of imparting heartfelt expression as well.
Nash legacy as one of England's first tattooed women will live on through the amazing photographs of her, and she is also survived by her son, daughter-in-law and her two grandchildren. May she rest in peace.