LONDON, UK -- Four couples spent exactly 24 hours and 44 minutes
in a hug session at the iconic Meeting Place statue at St. Pancras International station - setting the new world record for the Longest Hug, according to World Record Academy (www.worldrecordacademy.com).
The previous Guinness world record for the longest hug lasted 24 hr 33 min and was achieved by Ron O'Neil and Theresa Kerr (both Canada) at Centennail Beach in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the largest group hug; it consisted of 10,554 people in an event organized by Bear Hug III (Canada) at the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
The event was part of World Record London's new campaign to earn as many world records as possible before the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
From an original group of six couples, four made it to the end to clinch the title - Lorna Tulett, star of BBC's The Choir, and her army officer husband, Sergeant Bryan Tulett; stand-up comedian, Sanderson Jones and his friend, Mikey Lear; Xiang Xu and her husband, Andrew O'Brien; and best friends, Emily Brown and Rose Manley.
In addition to kicking off World Record London, the long embrace marks National Hugging Day on January 21 and represents a warm welcome to the world to London in 2012. The record break culminated with an official announcement from Guinness World Records and a mass group hug.
World Record London is a calendar of unique and one-off record-breaking events taking place around the capital from now until July 2012 celebrating the capital's most exciting attractions, venues, events and activities.
The capital will attempt to break new records for the world's Biggest Easter Egg Hunt, the world's Most expensive chocolate Easter egg and the world's Longest photograph.
Guinness World Records will also recognise London as the holder of a number of worldrecords. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on Sunday 3 June hopes to break the record for the Largest parade of boats and London Marathon will be recognised as the world's Largest fundraising event.
Amongst some of the other records Ealing Studios will be recognised as the oldest working movie studio and Sherlock Holmes as the most portrayed fictional character. Further records will be announced over the coming weeks.