Are we getting taller?
As new statistics from the World Health Organisation shows that Britons are on average four inches taller than a century ago, NATALIE WALKER speaks to to some lofty Lancashire folk who are used to towering over their peers
We’d all like to be a few inches taller. It would certainly help reach the top shelf at the supermarket and would be useful in fixing the light bulb, but for some, being of a great height can be huge pain. Nicholas Coxhead, who is 6ft 8ins, for example, loves the fact he can help his girlfriend see over the crowds at festivals, but he can’t find a bed big enough to sleep in. The 21-year-old, from Penwortham, said: “I do like being tall as I stand out from other people, but there are times when it is annoying. “Sometimes when I am on a night out, people start on me because I am the big guy. A lot of my friends are tall, so I don’t always think about it. “There are times at home when things are difficult. I can’t fit in a double bed, as even when sleeping diagonally, my feet hang off the edge. I also have to crouch down in the shower. I am a mechanic and trying to fit under the ramp is hard work. But you just have to laugh at it. “My girlfriend, Hannah Stewart, 21, is 5ft 3ins. It must look funny, as I am abnormally tall and she is quite small, but we have been together for a while so we forget about it. “She likes that I am tall as I can pick her up at festivals so she can see.” Nicholas’s plight comes as new research by Imperial College London reveals that Britons are four inches taller than they were a century ago, placing them in the world’s top 40. But it seems the UK still has a lot of growing to do to match Dutch men and Latvian women, who are currently the world’s tallest. The study, carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and co-funded by the Wellcome Trust, used sources including military conscription data and population surveys to calculate average heights for 18-year-olds in 1914 and 2014. It shows that British men have grown an average 10.6cm to 177.5cm from 1914 to 2014, or just over 5ft 8ins. As a result the UK has risen from 36th to 31st in the world rankings. British women have grown an average 11cm to 164.4cm, or just below 5ft 4ins, taking them from 57th to 38th. Nicholas’s cousin, Kent McGuinness, also of Penwortham, is even taller, as he is a colossal 7ft. The 25-year-old loves his high status and revels in the attention it brings. He said: “I come from a tall family. The height comes from my dad’s side. He is 6ft 4ins tall and my cousin, Nicholas Coxhead, is 6ft 8ins. “As a child at high school I was one of the smallest, but I shot up in year eight and nice. When I left I was one of the tallest. I grew two feet in a year. I must have been drinking Miracle-Gro. “It was weird as I went from being the smallest to the tallest. I am a delivery driver and every place that I go to, people always ask how tall I am. I just say I am average and everyone else is small.” Lydon Sutcliffe, who lives in Cockerham near Lancaster, has certainly made the most of his height, as it has led to stardom. At 7ft 1ins, the 28-year-old has modelled for High and Mighty, which makes clothing for big and tall men, and he does promotional work and YouTube videos. And when he worked at Wimbledon, looking after the tennis courts, he was often approached by celebrities to have his photo taken with them. He told the Evening Post: “I’ve heard all the sayings countless times ‘Did your mother put you in a grow bag?’ ‘Gosh, you’re tall aren’t you?’, ‘Your mother said you wouldn’t be long’. “Anywhere I go in the world, I get the same comments – it is like the international language of things to say to tall people.” For a previous story on how Lydon loves his height click here http://www.lep.co.uk/news/the-long-and-the-short-of-one-of-lancashire-s-tallest-men-1-6289361