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Halifax giant Lydon Sutcliffe is celebrity attraction at Wimbledon

Lydon Sutcliffe pictured with Holly Willoughby

Lydon Sutcliffe pictured with Holly Willoughby

Lanky Lydon Sutcliffe is one Brit who is always a big success at Wimbledon - where the 7 ft 1 ina groundsman is constantly accosted for photos by celebrities.

The 26-year-old giant from Halifax spends six months each year preparing the courts for the world-famous tournament.

And thanks to his height he finds himself in demand from spectators and celebrities alike who ask to pose with him.

Lydon has met over 30 stars since starting at Wimbledon in 2009 and they all ask him the same thing - ‘What’s the weather like up there?’

He said: “Celebrities just spot me in the crowd and come over and ask for a picture with ‘the tallest man in Wimbledon’.

“They also say ‘can I just ask...’ and before they have finished speaking, I reply ‘7 ft 1 ins.’ They say ‘how did you know what I was going to ask?’

“It amazes me because everyone asks the same things. I often get the usual ‘gosh, you’re tall aren’t you?’ and then there’s the classics like ‘did your mother put you in a grow bag?’

“I’ve heard them all countless times but I still find it funny.

“A lot of people ask me if I play tennis when they see how tall I am. I tell them ‘no, I play miniature golf’ and they seem to find that quite funny.

“Over the years I’ve met so many famous people and it’s always so easy to chat to them because right away we have a topic of conversation - my height.”

Those who have teamed up with Lydon include: Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Nick Clegg and comedian Michael McIntrye.

He’s also been photographed with TV presenters Holly Willoughby and Helen Skelton, boxers David Haye and Amir Khan and tennis greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Pat Cash and John McEnroe.

Lydon added: “I love meeting all different kinds of people and it’s great to talk to any celebrity but my favourites are athletes.

“I absolutely love sport and I have so much respect for people who play professionally.

“No matter what sport it is, I know I’m so lucky to be able to stand and chat with them, especially because most of them actually approach me.

“I’m quite friendly with a few of the tennis players now. Roger Federer always asks to have a photo with me and John Isner, who played the longest professional tennis match in 2010, always chats to me, as we are both into wrestling.

“Last time, he left me his size 14 trainers, which fit me perfectly.”

Lydon, who is officially classed as a giant, said that the nicest out of all the famous people he’s met is ex-England footballer Peter Beardsley.

“I saw him standing on his own so I just went over and said hello,” Lydon said.

“He was the nicest guy I’ve ever met. He was just so down to earth and we stood chatting for a bit.

“His opening line was ‘bloody hell, you’re a big lad.’

“Some people find it a bit overwhelming talking to famous people but the way I see it is they’re only human.

“They’ve always been so friendly to me, maybe with the exception of John McEnroe, who I thought was really rude.”

The smallest person Lydon has had his picture taken with is pint-sized TV presenter Georgie Tomlinson, who is just 5ft 2in tall.

“She was so lovely but I remember feeling like she barely reached my knee,” Lydon said.

“She was so small and I’m so huge we must have looked like a right pair.”

Getting daily comments about his height is part and parcel of life for Lydon, who was 6 ft 3 ins by the age of 12 and had size 14 feet by the time he was 14-years-old.

He is so used to stares and questions that he would find it strange if he went out and didn’t get attention from other people.

“For me it’s just normal, everyday life,” said 20-stone Lydon. “I’ve always had strangers chatting to me about my height so I don’t see it as any different when it’s famous people.

“I suppose it is a bit strange because if you saw a really fat person you wouldn’t stare and ask them to pose for a picture but I see the funny side.

“I’m proud of being tall and I just get on with it. I wouldn’t get to meet all the people I do if I was normal height so there’s definitely a positive side of

being a giant.”

At college, Lydon studied sports turf management, and as part of his course, he had to go on placements.

It was through this that he got a placement at Wimbledon and since then, he has worked at Wimbledon for the last few years, looking after the tennis courts and making sure the grounds are in top condition. He also spent two weeks working at the Olympics.

Other famous people Lydon has met include singers Tony Hadley and Dave Hemingway, tennis players Maria Sharapova, Tim Henman, Andre Agassi, Andrew Castle and Lleyton Hewitt, basketball player Kobe Bryant, journalist Ian Hislop, golfer Rory McIlroy, drummer Nicko McBrain, ice hockey player Alex Ovechkin, TV presenters Sue Barker, Colin Murray, Gethin Jones and Patrick Kielty, X-Factor contestant Jamie Afro and rapper Tinchy Stryder.

 

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