Graham Mellor: Body of 7ft 2in "gentle giant" who died aged 72 is turned away from local crematoriums

Too tall to be cremated: Body of 7ft 2in 'gentle giant' who died aged 72 is turned away from local crematoriums
Graham Mellor passed away at his home in Stoke-on-Trent at age of 72Two nearby crematoriums could not fit his 7ft 9in coffin into furnacesFamily now face a 70-mile round trip to facility that can cater for himCousin: 'I am completely taken aback. It will have to be a two-day funeral'
Former barman was crowned 'Staffordshire's Tallest Man' in 1967

By
Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

12:21 GMT, 27 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:59 GMT, 28 February 2013

To his many friends and relatives, Graham Mellor was always larger than life.

At 7ft 2in, though, the gentle giant sometimes admitted that being so tall was a burden.

Sadly, in death, his towering frame has left his loved ones facing extra heartache – over his funeral arrangements.

'Gentle giant': The family of the late 7ft 2in Graham Mellor (pictured) face a 70-mile round trip to cremate him because his local crematoriums can't can't cater for his giant coffin

Graham Mellor

'Gentle giant': The family of the late 7ft 2in Graham Mellor face a 70-mile round trip to cremate him because his local crematoriums can't cater for his giant coffin

The two crematoriums nearest his home
in Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, turned them away saying Mr Mellor’s 7ft 9in
coffin is too big for them to cremate.

It means the shocked relatives have
had to organise two services for Mr Mellor – a funeral locally next
Thursday followed by a 70-mile round trip for his cremation
the following day.

His cousin Sharon Edwards, 47, said
yesterday: ‘I have never heard anything like this before. I am
completely taken aback and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

‘It will have to be a two-day funeral which makes things quite awkward. But it is nobody’s fault.

‘He is an exceptional case because of his height and the funeral directors have been great in trying to organise the ceremony.’

'Taken aback': Graham's cousin Sharon Edwards (pictured) says funeral will now have to take place over two days

'Taken aback': Graham's cousin Sharon Edwards (pictured) says funeral will now have to take place over two days

Former steel worker Mr Mellor, 72, who
also worked occasionally as a barman, reached his full height when he
was only 15 and in 1967 was crowned Staffordshire’s Tallest Man. With a
54in waist, a 39in inside leg and weighing about 25st, he had to have
his clothes and size 15 shoes specially made.

He never married and, until they died in the 1980s, he lived with his parents Arthur, who was 6ft 7in, and Gwendoline, 6ft 2in.

He died at his home on February 13
after suffering a ruptured aneurysm. His relatives were stunned when
crematoriums at Carmountside in Stoke-on-Trent and Bradwell in
Newcastle-under-Lyme said they could not take the coffin.

So although a funeral service will be
held at Carmountside, friends and family face a 35-mile journey to
Bretby, Burton on Trent, the following day as the crematorium there is
the nearest that can cater for such a large coffin. It means costs have
spiralled.

‘I’m not sure how much it will be in
total because it’s in the hands of the solicitors but I know we’re going
to wince when we see the bill,’ Mrs Edwards said.

‘We’ve got two separate services
because a lot of his old pals won’t be able to get all the way to
Bretby. We are expecting about 100 people to turn up. His height was
always a bit of a burden to him. Everybody called him the Tall Man of
Bucknall or Big Man. You couldn’t take your eyes off him. It was a bit
frightening but he had a heart of gold.

‘He will be best remembered for his
time spent in The Travellers’ ex-servicemen’s club playing cards and
darts.’

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the cremation equipment at
Carmountside is the ‘industry standard’ size but cremation of a coffin
over 7ft long had to be done at a specialist facility.

Turned away: The crematorium at Bradwell (pictured), close to Graham's home in Stoke-on-Trent, can only take coffins 7ft in length, whereas his is 7ft 9in

Turned away: The crematorium at Bradwell (pictured), close to Graham's home in Stoke-on-Trent, can only take coffins 7ft in length, whereas his is 7ft 9in

'Extraordinary case': Carmountside Crematorium (pictured) was also unable to accommodate his coffin

'Extraordinary case': Carmountside Crematorium (pictured) was also unable to accommodate his coffin