Guinness World Records has learnt with great sadness of the passing of Isobel Varley, world record holder for Most tattooed senior citizen (female), who died yesterday at the age of 78.
An iconic figure within the body modification community, Isobel had an incredible 93 per cent of her body covered with tattoos.
Born in Yorkshire (UK) before eventually moving to the south of England as a youngster, Isobel was surprisingly something of a latecomer to body art, having had her first tattoo when she was in her late 40s.
A visit to a tattoo convention at London’s Hammersmith Palais in 1986 saw her go under the needle for the first time, kicking off an obsession which saw her have an incredible 200 pieces of body art inked over a ten-year period. During that time Isobel estimated she spent over 500 hours having her body decorated.
Explaining how her interest in body decorations developed, Isobel said: “Originally, I was only ever going to have one - a small bird - but I fell in love with it, and developed an addiction.'
“The only areas not completely tattooed is my face, the soles of my feet my ears and some area on my hands."
A regular at tattoo conventions around the world, she entered her first competition in 1989 "for a tattoo on my back., but that's when I first heard of the "full bodysuit" category"
Isobel’s record was confirmed during an appearance on Italian TV programme Lo Show dei Record, back in April 2009. The clip below shows an appearance Isobel made on UK TV show Guinness World Records back in 1999 when just 72 per cent of her body was covered in tattoos.
Despite her numerous pieces of body decoration, Isobel drew the line at having her face completely tattooed. 'I want people to be able to see what I look like,' she explained.
Isobel’s death was confirmed on her Facebook page yesterday by her family, who have invited followers to share their experiences and photographs with her on the page as a tribute.