American tourist loves Wigan so much she got herself an Uncle Joe's Mint Ball tattoo!

An American tourist has fallen so much in love with Wigan and its people that she has one of its most familiar exports branded on her arm.

Kristi Kimmel, 48, from Frederick in Maryland decided to have a sleeve completed consisting of images that represented her nearest and dearest.

Included are three stars representing husband Rick and two sons, a puzzle piece and The Little Prince for her youngest son who has autism, peonies for her late mother and a chameleon which symbolizes her ability to change.

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But after being smitten with Wigan on a visit, she now also sports a large tattoo of the iconic Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls logo, which are made in Wigan and sold the world over.

Kristi with her friend Alice Kinley's nephew Paul Phillips, who also has an Uncle Joe tattoo

Kristi said: “My friend, Alice Kinley, took me to a sweet shop. The bright red Uncle Joe’s tin with a smiling man drew me in. I picked it up and said: ‘I’m getting this’.

“She told me that they are made in Wigan and Wigan is known around the world for this candy. She went on to say that they’ve been around over 100 years. That made me love them even more.”

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Kristi has travelled to California and across America, she has also been to the Dominican Republic and Morocco, yet Wigan is the only place to be represented in her tattoo.

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The famous Wm Santus factory on Dorning Street

On her most recent visit to the town last month, Kristi went to take pictures of the Wm Santus factory on Dorning Street and was invited inside for a tour.

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When staff found out about her tattoo she was presented with a T-shirt and a small book detailing how the sweets were first made and the growth of the business.

Kristi said: “I brought home a bunch of tins. I put one on my station at work and can now tell the incredible story of going to the factory and meeting everyone.”

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Joint MDs, John and Antony Winnard, said: “We were delighted to find out why Kristi wanted to visit our factory and honoured that she chose our logo to represent the warm and friendly welcomed which she received in Wigan.

“The town is sometimes looked upon unfavourably, usually by people who have never been, but we think it is the best place in the world!”