A GROUP of 18 women all touched by breast cancer have each been tattooed with a special design to raise money for charity.

Pauline Langley, 44, came up with the idea after she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

The sponsored tattoo, depicting the pink breast cancer campaign ribbon logo was her way to raise money to thank staff for the care she received at Southend Hospital’s breast care unit.

The group has so far raised more than £3,000 for the Bosom Pals Appeal to buy new mammography equipment and improve the unit.

Pauline, of St Luke’s Road, Southend, had a mammogram last summer which warned she might have cancer. This was then confirmed by a biopsy.

The mother-of-two said: “I was just so shocked. No one in my family has ever had cancer. I didn’t smoke, I hardly ever drank and I always eat healthily. I had the tests but I kept thinking they’d got it wrong.”

Pauline underwent a lumpectomy, followed by five-and-a-half weeks of radiotherapy, and was told by doctors the prognosis was good, because it had been caught early. She said: “The staff were so absolutely fantastic, so I thought, ‘what can I do to help?’ I came away from the unit thinking a box of chocolates just wasn’t enough.”

Several months later, she was back at work behind the bar at Fat Cats, the Southend bar she runs with husband Ian, when she came up with her fundraising idea. Pauline, her daughter Stacey, 23, and Pauline’s friend Franca Wood, all had a tattoo, then roped in more friends to be tattooed.

All 18 women had either had breast cancer or knew someone affected by the disease.

Silver Needles tattoo parlour, in Southend agreed a special discount – £10 a tattoo, which was a third of its usual price .

Then when Pauline went to hand over £180 for tattoos, the parlour refused to take the money, telling her instead to add it to the appeal total. Pauline added: “It was lovely of them. And the tattoos are really delicate, really girly.”

So far, helped by a small Easter raffle, the women have raised £3,027.