Some years ago W.Uden and Sons had the privilege of conducting the funeral for Britains Tallest Man, Mr Christopher Greener. At 7ft 6 1\2 Mr Greener held the record for Britain’s tallest man for more than 40 years. From a very young age Mr Greener had a tumour at the base of his pituitary gland, which controls the release of the human growth hormone. The tumour caused his pituitary to grow to several times the size of that of an average person, and he would not have stopped growing had the tumour not been surgically removed when he was in his late 20s. Amazingly, his condition, pituitary gigantism was not diagnosed until 1970, when he was 27 years old, already at his current height and the record-holder as the tallest man in Britain
Every life is unique and although Mr Greener’s was short in comparison to his height, he certainly lived life to the full, An actor and director, he played the circus giant in the David Lynch’s The Elephant Man . He also starred in The Rainbow Thief (1990) and Birdie Blues ( 2007) as well as appearing in several documentaries chronicling the lives of the very tall, including the World’s Tallest People television special on The Learning Channel in the United States and Superhuman: Giants on ITV
As with all of the funerals that we conduct we made sure that this gentle giant, of which he was known by his friends, had a respectful, beautiful send off. We had a custom made extra long coffin constructed, which required 8 bearers to carry him as opposed to the usual four or six. We also had to make some modifications on one of our hearses so that the coffin would fit comfortably, Of course this was all fitting with Mr Greeners life, where he required many modifications, including his own car so that he could fit in to the seat without being all crumpled up. He was a champion for tall people and arranged conventions to raise awareness of “heightism” and explained what it was like living in a world which is designed for those under 6ft tall, where ceilings are too low, doors too narrow, desks not high enough and having to walk in to places with a stoop.
As many of you know, my height isn’t something that I am personally known for and so I was certainly amongst the shortest in attendance at Mr Greeners funeral. Amongst those attending were several members of the Tall Cub of Great Britain including Sharran Alexander, who at the time was the only female Sumo wrestler in the UK, and fellow actor Ross Sambridge. Sharran, 6ft, and Ross who is 7ft 1, met Christopher at the Tall Club, which also campaigns for tall people.
The ceremony itself was a poignant blend of solemnity and celebration, a reflection of Christopher’s personality that reached far beyond the height for which he was known. Eulogies echoed with tales of resilience, kindness, and the unique perspective that comes with standing head and shoulders above the crowd, and as a family we were very proud to be able to conduct this amazing mans funeral.
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