Mourners pay tribute to 7ft 2in Bucknall man Graham Mellor
RELATIVES and friends of one of Staffordshire's tallest ever men have paid their final respects to the 'gentle giant'.
More than 100 mourners gathered at Carmountside Crematorium to say farewell to 7ft 2in Graham Mellor yesterday in the first of two ceremonies.
The 72-year-old's family will today travel to Bretby for his cremation as the Burton crematorium is able to accommodate Mr Mellor's 7ft 9in coffin.
At yesterday's service, Mr Mellor's coffin was brought into the church to the sounds of Clarence Henry's I Don't Know Why.
Pastor Paul Owen said: "I know he could perhaps be a frightening sight as he was such a tall man but he was so gentle and placid."
Bachelor Mr Mellor, of Chapel Street, Bucknall, attended St Mary's Infants School before going to Malthouse Road Secondary Modern School – known locally as 'bottom school' and 'top school' due to their locations in the area.
Mr Owen also shared memories from Mr Mellor's family during the service, which included the hymns The Lord's My Shepherd and The Old Rugged Cross.
He told the congregation: "His cousin Carol told me that he was tall at school and got the name 'Little Moe'.
"Carol also wrote: 'We used to go to our grandparents when he was at the top school and I was at the bottom – he was seven years older than me. They would always get us some cakes and we would battle for one particular type and obviously, he would always win.
"His mother Gwen would worry about the cost of clothing him and getting him shoes because of his size.
"They had to get shoes specially made at a factory in Northampton.
"As a teenager Graham would go on camping trips with some neighbours and he always enjoyed it."
On leaving school, Mr Mellor went to work at Shelton Bar.
But by his mid-30s he was suffering from ulcers on his feet and legs – a complaint which would continue to plague him until his death from a ruptured aneurysm on February 13.
The congregation was told how Mr Mellor – who was crowned Staffordshire's tallest man in 1967 – enjoyed his visits to the Traveller's Rest pub and Bucknall Ex-Serviceman's Club where he would play cards with friends. He was also a fan of horse racing and would sometimes enjoy a glass of whisky.
Mr Owen added: "He was well known and was a good friend to many, many people."
Mr Mellor's cremation will take place at Burton because Stoke-on-Trent City Council-run Carmountside cannot cater for coffins which exceed 7ft in length.
At Bradwell, which is run by Newcastle Borough Council, the maximum length is just over 6ft 7in.