A very fond farewell to one of the most talented tattooists to ever come out of our ink-crazy town.
I was so shocked to hear of Lee Clements distressing death the weekend just before Christmas, it totally stopped me in my tracks.
As the news started trickling slowly on my social media, I couldn’t quite believe we’d lost another of Barry’s bestest.
And that once again, our town is plunged into a serious sadness that the likeable artist, like so many local men, found himself in the darkest and deepest of places.
Sending my sincerest condolences to those family and close friends whose pain at the loss must be unbearable.
I never knew Lee as well as his loved ones of course, and I don’t pretend to have an ounce of understanding of the emotions they are going through.
For me, it’s a total tragedy that the likeable guy, I smiled hello to as we crossed in the Asda aisles recently, reached that point of no return.
I’m proud too though that I at least have a mark to remind me of his skill – a ‘Tramp Stamp’ from my misspent early Thirties sitting serenely on my skin.
You know the one Girls. It was standard style, off the wall, and is inked on the back of many a wild Barry women of a certain age.
We used to laugh about it every time I caught up with him in Chimera. No chance of a crafty cover up though – a Tramp Stamp is for life not just one long, hot, Summer.
I liked Lee, and, as was so totally shown by the hundreds of heartfelt tributes, he was much loved as a partner, father and friend, plus massively respected as an artist – both here in Barry and the wider world.
I totally get that we never know what demons are battled daily so I make no comment on his back story – it’s not my tale to tell, or business to know.
I just do know for sure that he will be deeply missed, more than he will ever realise of course.
And that his, always creative, sometimes colourful, consistently perfectly-crafted, tattoo work will leave both massive memories, and a lasting legacy.
We can all say goodbye to Lee on Wednesday January 22nd at Adams Funeral Home, Gladstone Rd, Barry, CF62 8NA, at 10 am.
A burial service will follow at Barry Cemetery, with the Wake in Brewers Fayre, at The Waterfront.
The family would love the funeral dress code to be in memory of Lee’s love of Cardiff Blues. They ask, if possible, can people wear something Blues related or even just something like a blue tie if you’d prefer to wear a suit.
Cardiff Blues will be paying a tribute to Lee at half time at the home game on January 18th.
The talented tattooist will certainly always be in Barry’s big heart, with our town set to give him the send off he so richly deserves.
Rest in Peace Lee John Clements.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.