Life Video

By James Ward and Aliki Kraterou


The world’s fastest window cleaner is still going strong at 62 – but is devastated his children haven’t followed him into the family trade.

Essex dad-of-two Terry ‘Turbo’ Burrows has held the Guinness World Record for fastest window cleaning for more than 20 years.

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The sexagenarian has seen off challengers dozens of times – breaking his own record at a contest in Blackpool in 2009, cleaning three windows in 9.14 seconds – and has even proved himself faster than Usain Bolt.

But Terry, dubbed ‘the most famous window cleaner in the world’, has been left broken-hearted kids Ashley, 26, and Aliscia, 28 haven’t followed him into the family trade – instead choosing more high-flying professions.

Terry, from Romford, said: “I have always loved what I do and have always been very proud to follow in the family footsteps.

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“There are a lot of things that have changed in the window cleaning game since I first started, but I took it to another level.

“I’m a bit disappointed there is nobody to carry on the tradition but I’m proud of my kids for following their own directions.

“When they were little they would come to my contests – but I’m proud of them no matter what they do.

“You can influence your kids but he will choose his own pathway – the window cleaning was my own journey, and I consider myself lucky.”

Before starting out as a window cleaner, Terry worked as a musician and karate instructor and dreamed of being an undercover police officer before being introduced to the family business by his uncle as a youngster.

Terry realised his window-cleaning ambitions in 1993, when he appeared in the TV programme ‘You Bet’ – and he decided right then and there he would become the most famous window cleaner in the world.

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Two years later he would be in BBC’s ‘Record Breakers’ for his first World Record which launched his star-studded media career.

Since then, he has had countless appearances on TV and has travelled to many destinations, including Texas, Las Vegas, Germany and France to participate in windows cleaning competitions.

During the contests, 45cm by 45cm windows are set up in frames next to each other – and if cleaners leave any watermarks there is a half second penalty added.

And some things seem to just be destiny as Terry, who has been married to wife Patricia for 41 years, is a ‘Guinness baby’ meaning he was born in August 1955 – the same year the first Guinness World Record book was published.

But destiny or not, there have been numerous people training to attempt to beat Terry over the years – but none have succeeded so far.

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Terry said: “It took me just 16 moves of my body to achieve the World Record.

“At my last contest, I actually finished in 8.14 seconds but I left two watermarks and I got two penalties so the time was 9.14.

“My technique is all about the body movement.

“As I’m starting, before I even finish the first window, my legs are already set for the next one.

“Many are trying to beat my record – but no one has succeeded so far, despite everyone around the world trying to – even Usain Bolt.

“You don’t get these opportunities every day but on the other hand I wouldn’t get them if I weren’t the best.

“I have raised the bar by a big standard and I want to keep my record for as long as I can as I really enjoy what I do.

“When I’m in a contest I take the microphone and try to put my own show within the show.

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“When I met Usain Bolt our time records are similar, his was 9.58 and mine 9.14.

“We could rob a bank together, use his legs and my arms and we‘d get away with it!”