Surrey resident Sarwan Singh achieved a feat, which every Sikh is going to be proud of. He set a new Guinness Book of World Record by having the longest beard. Singh's beard was measured at 2.36 meters or 7.7 3/4 ft, at a jam packed, Akal Academy in Surrey BC, on November 11, 2008. Over 200 people came out in support of the Akal Academy Music Teacher and his attempt at breaking the world record. The previous record was held by Shamsher Singh of Punjab, India, with a beard last measured at 1.83 metres in 1977. "This is history in the making," said Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji, the principal and president of Akal Academy Surrey, where Singh is a popular and respected music teacher. "Mr. Sarwan Singh is a devout, humble, spiritual man and his beard is considered as a divine gift. He's blessed, he's gifted. Hair is a divine gift. So this is a divine gift from God," said Dr. Bhurji. Singh stood on a stool while his beard was dipped in water, brushed and then measured three times on a flat surface with a measuring tape as the judges and media and over 200 other witnesses looked on. As he posed for pictures with his wife and two children, Singh's beard hung from his chin to the floor. "I have a feeling of divine happiness and I am thankful that God has chosen me for the gift of the longest beard," said Sarwan Singh, 42. The measurement was presided over by Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Singh Bains, Surrey RCMP Sgt. Baltej Singh Dhillon and lawyer Sukhjinder Singh Grewal. Sarwan Singh’s family told CBC News they were exceptionally proud of his achievement. "Not only to me, he's inspiring to the Sikh community," said his young son Bikram Singh, sporting a tuft of hair on his chin that may one day set another record. As a devoted Sikh, Singh does not cut or trim his hair, not just his beard, as uncut hair is one of the five objects (Five K’s) or symbols of faith of the Sikhs who have taken the vows of the Khalsa, as outlined by the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh. "Whatever God gives us, it is just our job to take care of that. Don't cut it or don't do anything to it," Singh's daughter Gursimran Kaur told CBC News. In addition to the Guinness World record, the event started with the students of Akal Academy performing Dhadhi Varan, a Sikh musical composition, explaining Sikh history taught to them by Sarwan Singh and other Akal Academy teachers. This was followed by talks on the importance and significance of hair from both a scientific and religious viewpoint as reflected in the teachings of the Sikh religion.