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Blackburn woman's suicide awareness campaign goes global

Shaw Image copyright Danielle Shaw
Image caption A customer in Blackburn who got the semi-colon tattoo on each hand

Thousands of people from around the world have been getting a symbolic semi-colon tattoo to raise awareness of suicide.

The campaign was launched by Danielle Shaw, 27, from Blackburn, whose stepfather took his own life in 2016.

A total of 86 studios from around the world joined in the event on Friday.

Danielle was at the Grafix Tattoo Salon in Blackburn on Friday where over 200 people queued for inkings.

The mass-tattooing event was called the Semi-colon Project after the semi-colon came to be recognised as a symbol for suicide prevention.

It represents a person's decision to continue as the "authors" of their own life by choosing a semi-colon, instead of a full stop.

Image copyright Danielle Shaw
Image caption Danielle Shaw (on the left) with the team at Grafix Tattoo salon in Blackburn

Miss Shaw said: "It's been overwhelming. I have been having conversations with people who have been through the same things and it's been amazing. We didn't expect to get over 200 people here in one day."

"They have been queuing out of the door here in Blackburn but I think the biggest queue I've seen is in a studio in Glasgow," she said.

In the UK, 77 studios took part. A further nine international studios from Amsterdam to Thailand also joined in.

Image copyright Danielle Shaw
Image caption People queuing outside the Kaya Tattoo Studio in Glasgow

The inspiration for the campaign started just over two years ago when Miss Shaw's stepfather, Brian Baron, took his own life.

Following his death, Miss Shaw set up the Suicide Awareness/Prevention UK Facebook page which offers people support.

Miss Shaw said she had always wanted to get her own semi-colon tattoo and thought it would be a good idea for a campaign.

She said that some of the studios were planning to do their event next Tuesday, after which she would have a better idea of the final number of people who took part worldwide.

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