A bodybuilder who wanted to cover up an old tattoo got hooked and ended up getting his ENTIRE body inked with a ‘body suit’ – in just a YEAR.
Ray Houghton, 59, has been a fitness fanatic since he was a boy, but was reluctant to show off his impressive muscles thanks to eight hodge-podge “embarrassing” tattoos.
The gym owner visited a local tattoo shop to get some ‘sleeves’ – but returned two weeks later to continue the Maori-inspired design.
The dad-of-one spent a staggering 200 HOURS – and £5,500 – in the chair in marathon nine hour sessions.
And over just 14 months he covered his entire body in a black body suit – leaving only his face, hands, feet and penis bare.
Proud Ray, from Manchester, said he feels “complete” for the first time in his life – and decades younger.
He said: “I was young and impressionable when I got my first tattoos and as soon as I left the Army I was embarrassed by them.
“Being a bodybuilder I used to love people coming up to me and asking for photos or to speak to me but when you get older it doesn’t really happen.
“I soon realised that I wasn’t getting any younger. I could see visible signs of aging on my body.
“Being a bodybuilder vanity stepped in and I wanted to feel younger, and also to inspire other older people.
“I have always invested time and money on my body and the tattoo has completed me.
“Now when I walk around the shopping centre I can see people taking pictures of me.
“I also go to nudist beaches and when I come out of the sea I can even see people taking pictures then.
“I think it was totally worth it.
“I would do it all again if I could and would have done it earlier had I known it was going to look like this.
“It makes me feel younger. I feel young again.”
Ray joined the Royal Artillery as a teenager and got tattoos on his arms and legs in a caravan near the base from a man called “Sailor Bill”.
He admits the eight inkings – including a boat, the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’, a naked woman and a Geisha – “weren’t spectacular”.
The sportsman started to regret them as soon as he left the forces a few years later and added: “I hated them early on.”
He opened a gym, started competing in bodybuilding competitions and was crowned North West coast Champion in 1989.
But despite being the envy of his gym pals with a 54 inch chest, 18.5 inch bicep, and 34 inch waist, he wasn’t happy with his body because of his tattoos.
“I didn’t like people seeing them at all,” said Ray, who now works out six days a week in a gym he owns in Spain.
“Even though I was body building and going on stage I didn’t like my tattoos.
“It was the messiness of them. They weren’t spectacular.
“I had a good body but it was just disappointing looking at the tattoos.”
Around two years ago he finally went to a tattoo shop to ask them to cover some of his tattoos – and ended up covering his entire body.
He said: “It just went further and further and further.”
He endured 14 months of eight to nine hour sessions every two weeks, starting with his arms and legs.
He insists he didn’t feel any pain and said his favourite part is his BUM – where tattooist Toby Dean signed his ‘artwork’.
“It’s amazing how much younger it makes my skin look,” he said.
“I feel so young.
“People who come into the gym and see me, they can’t believe the age I am.
“The reactions I get are overwhelmingly positive.
“The older women in their 60s absolutely love the tattoos.
“When I was having them done, every couple of weeks when I had a new bit they would come into the gym and say ‘get your kit off and lets have a look’.”