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Frenchman’s matchstick Eiffel Tower sets record after ‘emotional rollercoaster’ Guinness U-turn

Frenchman’s matchstick Eiffel Tower sets record after ‘emotional rollercoaster’ Guinness U-turn

A Frenchman has officially set a world record for the tallest matchbook sculpture with his 23.6ft model of the Eiffel Tower after initially being snubbed by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Richard Plaud said he had been on an “emotional rollercoaster” this week, after spending 4,200 hours over eight years on building his model from more than 706,000 matches and 23kg of glue.

Mr Plaud said in an earlier announcement that he was denied a world record by Guinness because officials said he used the wrong type of matches.

Guinness World Records initially told him he didn’t make the cut as he hadn’t used matches that were “commercially available”. Mr Plaud started off by using commercial matches, cutting the head off each. Tired of this tedious process, he asked the manufacturer if he could buy just the wooden sticks without the head, prompting Guinness to refuse his record.

But Guinness said on Friday it was “too harsh” on Mr Plaud. Mark McKinley from Guinness World Records said he was “really excited to be able to approve it”.

“We’re happy to be able to admit that we were a little bit too harsh on the type of matches needed in this attempt, and Richard’s attempt truly is officially amazing,” he was quoted as saying by BBC.

“We are therefore very happy to award Richard with the Guinness World Records title and we have corrected some inconsistencies within our rules which now allow the matchsticks to be snipped and shaped as the modeller sees fit,” he said.

Mr McKinley added that Guinness “regrets the distress that the last 24 hours will have caused on what should have been a moment for celebration for Richard”.

“The tallest matchstick sculpture is 7.18m (23ft 6in), achieved by Richard Plaud (France) in Saujon, Charente-Maritime, France, on 7 January 2024,” reads the entry on the Guinness website.

Earlier, a disappointed Mr Plaud wrote on Facebook: “The Guinness Book judges have delivered their verdict, without actually seeing my tower in real life”.

“BIG DISILLUSION, DISAPPOINTMENT AND INCOMPREHENSION,” he continued. “[They] tell me that the 706,900 rods stuck one by one are not matches!!?? And they are too cut to the point of being unrecognisable!!??”

The artist then poked fun at the London-based organisation. “Clearly, the English are really different……” he said, adding: “No offence to the English.”

Mr Plaud, who is from Montpellier-de-Médillan in western France, completed the tower on 27 December, according to reports.