A KEIGHLEY-based tattoo artist is moving closer to her goal of establishing a unique charity for breast cancer survivors.

Lucy Thompson, from Cullingworth, who is celebrating her business Skinflicted’s third birthday, trained in tattooing realistic areolae on breast cancer patients.

In March she founded NIP – the Nipple Innovation Project – a charity providing funding for specialist, permanent 3D restorative tattooing, to ensure everyone can have have access to this treatment.

Lucy, a 28-year-old mum, who was nominated for Business Woman of the Year in this year's Yorkshire Choice Awards, is now applying for full charity status after having raised over £5,000 in the few months since she launched NIP.

She aims to expand her services nationwide and provide as much funded support as possible. Throughout this October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she is calling on anyone interested in fundraising to consider her charity as a benefactor.

She explained she is building up a network of tattoo artists to train, with a vision of developing restorative tattooing in every major city in the UK.

And she is encouraging other studios to come and be part of her extended team.

Lucy said: “The aim is to build a directory of dedicated, compassionate and skilled artists who want to learn new life-altering skills which will help give survivors back the dignity they deserve.

"The long-term hope is to have qualified artists who specialise in the art of restorative tattooing throughout every major city, so breast cancer survivors can have easy access to the best possible tattoo options post mastectomy surgery."

Last year Lucy travelled to Texas to be the first UK artist to seek and achieve specialist training in the craft of tattooing realistic areolae on breast cancer patients.

She said she wants to show breast cancer survivors that "they deserve better” when it comes to post operation cosmetic reconstruction.

She added: “Currently UK women only have the option of medical or cosmetic tattoo treatment using micro pigmentation. This will wear away and require annual top ups, which can be traumatic for women, when they want to move on from this ordeal.

"There are also issues with how unrealistic some of these tattoos can look, and this can result in further body image issues occurring in mastectomy patients.

“Unlike many cosmetic tattooists, I have experience of dealing with scarred tissue, and I understand the skin in a different way."

Lucy is working on getting recognition from surgeons, doctors and media insurance companies to enable more women to access this type of service.

She credits her tattoos and her own business with "saving her" after she battled with depression for 13 years.

She said: "Getting into tattooing has helped me with my mental health, given me a meaning and a purpose and I want to take this further and give something back."

She is offering free correction work on faded medical cosmetic tattoos to as many people as she can provide appointments for.

People can visit nippletattoos.co.uk/1-show-support to find out how they can help her charity.