Man’s 8-year matchstick Eiffel Tower world record bid thrown out on technicality

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A council worker who spent eight years building a 23ft matchstick model of the Eiffel Tower saw his dreams of a Guinness World Record go up in smoke when the bid was rejected on a technicality.

Richard Plaud, 47, said officials did not even bother to come and see his replica, which he painstakingly constructed over the course of 4,200 hours using 706,900 sticks.

His stands two foot taller than the current record for the tallest matchstick sculpture ever, held by Lebanese craftsman Toufic Daher, who created a 21ft model of the landmark in 2009.

But it was dismissed because the matchsticks he used were not commercially available and had been altered from their original form.

Frenchman Mr Plaud, who developed a passion for model-making from the age of eight, raged against the decision on social media, posting: ‘Tell me how 706,900 sticks stuck one by one are not matches.

‘My matchstick tower still stands and will be 7.19 meters for a long time.’

He completed the work on December 27, the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who designed and built the original tower.

Mr Plaud painstakingly constructed the replica over the course of 4,200 hours using 706,900 matchsticks (Picture: Richard Plaud)

The council worker, who lives in Montpellier-de-Médillan, a village in west France, built 402 matchstick panels designed to fit together Ikea flat-pack style.

Speaking to The Times, he explained how he had hoped the organisers would sympathise with him before conceding: ‘It’s part of the dream that has escaped.

‘It’s disappointing, frustrating, incomprehensible and not very fair play.’

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The council worker built 402 matchstick panels designed to fit together Ikea flat-pack style (Picture: Richard Plaud/Facebook)

Mr Plaud initially bought matches for his project from supermarkets.

But his decision to persuade a French matchstick maker to send him boxes filled with hundreds of thousands of headless matches would prove his downfall.

Officials told him that for his attempt to be valid, the heads had to be scratched off.

Mr Plaud’s wife Sandra was similarly disappointed, joking that a world record for her husband would have meant she was ‘able to get my living room back’.

Metro has contacted Guinness World Records for comment.

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