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The world's greatest gurner is from the UK and he even gurned in front of the Queen

Emily Brown

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The world's greatest gurner is from the UK and he even gurned in front of the Queen

Basically anyone who's been to a festival will have come face-to-face an extreme gurner at one point or another, but one man is so good at it that he's won more than a dozen Guinness World Records.

Who knew gurning could be so rewarding?

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The man in question is Tommy Mattinson, from Aspatria, Cumbria. As hard as it might be to get your head around, gurning actually ran in Mattinson's family, with his own father becoming a 10-time world champion before Mattinson came to steal his record.

Contests for gurning, which typically involves sticking out the lower jaw and using the bottom lip to cover the top lip, are a rural English tradition, and it's through this tradition that the world's greatest gurner found fame.

Queen Elizabeth II and the king of gurning. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Queen Elizabeth II and the king of gurning. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Mattinson showed off his moves at Egremont Crab Fair in Cumbria, where he first won the World Gurning Championships in 1986.

He went on to win again in 1987 before embarking on an epic winning streak from 1999. In 2019, he racked up his 17th win during another appearance at the event.

Mattinson has previously described the expression he pulls when gurning as 'a cross between an alien and a wolf man'.

Following his win in 2013, Mattinson said: "That said, this year in particular I really, really tried hard. I put in a lot of effort, and now have a sore head and all the muscles in my neck ache."

The Queen didn't look to impressed by Mattinson's skills. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
The Queen didn't look to impressed by Mattinson's skills. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The World Champion's gurning abilities even earned him an audience with Queen Elizabeth II in 2008, when Her Majesty travelled to Cumbria to officially reopen The Beacon museum in Whitehaven.

Mattinson showed off some of his funny faces for the Queen, though she didn't look too impressed by his ability to gurn so brilliantly.

Following his win in 2019, Mattinson said every win is 'special' to him.

"It’s nice to have the support from Egremont, and it’s great that this tradition’s carried on," he told the News and Star.

Mattinson insisted he would 'always come back' to the contest for as long as he can, with runner-up Gordon Blacklock agreeing that the tradition 'must be supported'.

"If we stop doing this, the event is going to die and we can’t let that happen," he said.

Mattinson has not been able to compete in the event since 2019 as organisers of Egremont Crab Fair made the decision to cancel following the death of the Queen in September 2022.

In 2020 and 2021, the event was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Featured Image Credit: Trans World Sport/YouTube

Topics: UK News, The Queen

Emily Brown
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