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The Search That Led To An Immortalized Memory

“Have you got a tattoo dedicated to someone close to you?”

That was a question that Bobby & Lindy asked on Smile Breakfast last Monday which led to a heartwarming conversation with listeners about the stories behind their body art and the memories of loved ones. For Athené Doonan from Brackenfell it would mean the start of a dream come true. She had always wanted to get a tattoo of her late father’s signature but couldn’t find a copy of it anywhere. Athené decided to reach out to Bobby & Lindy for some assistance and the team made a promise to make a few calls to try help. Several calls, emails, and few gifts later Bobby & Lindy managed to find a copy of James Doonan’s signature from the deeds office.


Bobby & Lindy surprised Athené with the news on Tuesday and she immediately recognized her father’s signature which she fondly recalled having a smiley face in. Athené’s mom Charlie was overcome with joy hearing the news on air. Laughing as she spoke to Bobby & Lindy, she also recalled how her children would only want James to sign their report cards and homework books.

“I was told very nicely ‘Mommy your signature is boring. Do not sign any of my homework’. Julle het my kind se droom laat waar word. Ek het vir jare probeer as ‘n ma om James se handtekening te vind maar het dit nooit in die hande gekry nie.”

James Doonan had fought brain cancer for 17 years before passing away in Athené’s matric year. Hearing about what this signature meant to the Doonan family and the memories of James – “a pillar of strength and McGuyver of the family who always had a smile on his face”, the Smile Breakfast team decided to take it a step further and invite Athené on a “tattoo date” to have her father’s memory immortalized on her wrist. Uncle Black, a talented artist from More Than Hype Tattoo Art Collective had heard the story and offered to do the work for Athené on Wednesday. When he saw James’ signature he could immediately see how special it was to Athené and her family.

“You can tell a lot about a person’s character through their handwriting. I could can see how his persona shines through his signature. It looks like he was an interesting person and I’m glad to be a part of this. There’s nothing better than having your first tattoo as a tribute to your family.”

Once the work was done by Uncle Black, Athené looked at the tattoo and was overcome with emotion, remembering how her father, despite his ailments, was able to keep his family laughing and smiling.

“He was my clown. I feel like I won the lotto. This is gonna be my smile every day.”


Phil de Lange – Smile Breakfast Producer and Smile Comedy Hour Anchor, Saturdays 9pm – 11pm