UK

Graham Mellor, Coffin Of 7ft 2in 'Gentle Giant' Too Long For North Staffordshire Crematoriums (PICTURES)

27/02/2013 15:27 GMT | Updated 29/04/2013 10:12 BST

The coffin of a 7ft 2in “gentle giant” is too long for his local crematorium – so it will have to be transported 35 miles to one that can accommodate him.

Graham Mellor died aged 72 a fortnight ago, but while his funeral service will take place in his hometown of Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, his cremation will have to take place at Bretby, near Burton, the following day.

Both Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle Borough Council have offered their condolences to Mr Mellor's family after informing them that local facilities in Carmountside and Bradwell were not big enough for his 7ft 9in coffin.

graham mellor

Graham Mellor was 7ft 2in tall

Cllr Elsie Bates, Newcastle-under-Lyme's Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said Bradwell Crematorium could only cater for a maximum coffin length of 6ft 9in.

The councillor said in a statement: "The borough council passes its condolences to the family and is very sorry it can't accommodate their wishes.

"This is an extraordinary case and something we've never seen before."

Mr Graham's cousin, Sharon Edwards, told The Sentinel newspaper: "It will have to be a two-day funeral which makes things quite awkward.

graham mellor

Mr Mellor's funeral service will take place in Stoke-on-Trent on March 7 and his cremation be at Bretby, near Burton, the following day

"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."

Tony Oakman, Stoke-on-Trent City Council's director of adult and neighbourhood services, said: "We understand that staff spoke with the funeral director prior to the service being booked and the maximum sizes that the cremation equipment could accommodate were discussed.

"The cremator is made to industry standard dimensions, which is the case for many crematoriums across the country.

"The cremation equipment at Carmountside is able to accommodate coffins up to 7ft in length but if a coffin exceeds that size, there is no other option than to arrange for a cremation at a specialist facility."