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Monday, 25 November, 2002, 20:30 GMT
Businessman donates body to art
Photomontage of Robert Ashton and someone the doctor did earlier.
Robert Ashton has visited the professor in China
A businessman from Norfolk has admitted he plans to give his body to the controversial anatomist who carried out a public autopsy last week.

Robert Ashton, 47, from Wymondham, wants Professor Gunther von Hagens to "plastinate" him - a process the scientist has devised to preserve corpses.

Prof von Hagens, who has been the subject of widespread controversy, says plastinated cadavers are suspended between "death and decay".

His Body Worlds exhibition in an old London brewery has attracted more than half-a-million visitors.

Professor Gunther von Hagens
Professor von Hagens invented "plastination"

The professor made the headlines last week when he carried out a public autopsy, which is technically illegal.

Police are still deciding whether he should be prosecuted.

Mr Ashton, a business consultant, visited the exhibition earlier this year, and decided to join the growing waiting list of people who want to be plastinated.

He said: "Some of the poses of the plastinated corpses are artistic, and I like art so that appealed.

"It would be nice to become a work of art, but the main reason is education.

"It would be great if my body could be a teaching aid that could help future generations understand anatomy."

Medical career

When he dies, Mr Ashton's body will be taken to Professor von Hagens' China-based plastination centre, dubbed Plastination City, which he has already visited.

He added: "I hope it won't be for another 30 years or so yet."

Because he has agreed to donate his body, Mr Ashton was invited to attend the public autopsy, and he took his 16-year-old daughter along to see it too.

Mr Ashton added: "She's interested in medicine as a career, and it was a good opportunity to find out whether she was squeamish or not."


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See also:

21 Nov 02 | Health
20 Nov 02 | Health
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