Coffin for
7ft 2in man too big for crematoria

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The grieving family of a 7ft 2in “gentle giant” have been told his coffin is too long to fit into local crematoria.

Relatives of Graham Mellor, who died aged 72 a fortnight ago, now face a 35-mile trek from north Staffordshire to a larger crematorium near Burton-on-Trent.

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.

Coun 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.”

Because of the lack of suitable local facilities, the family of Mr Mellor, who lived in Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, have arranged a local funeral service for March 7 and will attend his cremation at Bretby, near Burton, the following day.

Mr Graham’s cousin, Sharon Edwards, told The Sentinel newspaper: “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.”

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.”