Grandma's pride as Martyn hits the heights

A TALL Todmordian has been posted to guard the Queen and has hit national newspapers and regional television as he towers over the tourists.

At a staggering seven ft three ins, Martyn Walters will start his guard duty outside Buckingham Palace this week but if it rains he has to be replaced by a smaller soldier because he is too tall to stand in the sentry box.

Martyn's height increases to nine foot when he wears the trademark bearskin and he towers above his replacement, Matthew Else, who is only five ft two ins.

A former pupil of Shade School and Todmorden High School, 21-year-old Martyn moved to the West Midlands six years ago.

He has recently been accepted into the First Battalion of the Irish Guards and starts guard duty after having a special uniform tailored and an extra long bed constructed at the Wellington Barracks near Buckingham Palace.

His proud grandma, Brenda, who still lives in Todmorden, said being tall runs in the family and can be traced back to Martyn's great great grandmother.

"He gets his height from the Walters side of the family and my late husband's grandma was an exceptionally tall person," said Brenda, who is herself six foot tall.

"Martyn was two foot long when he was born. He comes from a family of tall people with his grandfather being one of four brothers who were all between six ft three and six ft eight.

"You've got to be very good at what you do to guard the Queen."

The role is not just a ceremonial post, the guards will go to Kenya later this year for training and will have a two-year term in Cyprus in 12 months.