THE chairman of a charity for recovering alcoholics will celebrate her birthday by getting a tattoo of the organisation’s logo on her arm.

Val Chiswell, of Britton Crescent, Great Baddow, will get her first tattoo next Tuesday–her 75th birthday–in honour of Chelmsford charity Helping Hands Essex.

Mrs Chiswell, a grandmother of three, has been supporting the charity since it became operational three years ago.

The charity, which has a residential programme in the city and half-way house for recovering alcoholics, relies on grants and donations to keep running, so Mrs Chiswell decided to get the tattoo in return for donations.

She said: “We have a residential rehabilitation unit in Chelmsford which can house up to five residents, who all have to be at least seven days sober and homeless to be accepted on our programmes.

"Alcoholism is difficult to beat and I’ve seen the challenges people face.

“My son, Tim, now 48, is a recovering alcoholic and I previously worked asamagistrate for 35 years, soIhave seen the problems they face.

“I joined as a trustee and also help them with advice about benefits and what they can claim to help them.”

The tattoo will be Mrs Chiswell’s first piece of body art, but rather than being nervous she is excited to be raising money and awareness for the charity.

She said: “I thought this is a big birthday, and at 75, people might think what’s that old woman doing?

“But I don’t feel 75 and I thought if I was going to get a tattoo, it should be of something which means something to me – and this raises money for a good cause at the same time.

“I’m not worried about it. I get more nervous going to the dentist!  

"But I’m getting excited and hope to raise at least £1,000. We are about halfway there at the moment.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

You can donate at