COUNTY NEWS: Sussex puppet collector wins original Thunderbirds doll at auction

A Sussex puppet collector has added a 1960s icon to his collection after securing a Lady Penelope marionette from the original series of Thunderbirds.

Puppet collector Colin picked up an original Lady Penelope marionette for 19,000
Puppet collector Colin picked up an original Lady Penelope marionette for 19,000

Colin Burnett-Dick, from Chuck Hatch near Hartfield, in the Ashdown Forest bought the pink-clad puppet for £19,000 after checks confirmed she was the genuine article.

The famous marionette, which is one of just 10 models made for the original show, was discovered earlier this year after her previous owner passed away.

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Colin said: “His family was clearing out his house, going through his things when they found her wrapped in towels at the bottom of a wardrobe.

Colin with the newest entry to his collection

“I believe he had some sort of connection in show business and was an avid collector. He had a very big sci-fi collection.

“I’m planning on restoring her. Don’t get me wrong, Penny is in very good condition but she is 50-years-old. I’m working with someone from the original show to get advice too.”

Colin says he plans to put Lady Penelope on display once restoration work is complete.

While he is now an avid puppet collector, Colin says he hasn’t always been a fan.

He said: “I was absolutely petrified of them, but over time my fear turned into fascination. There’s no particular moment or time it happened, I just gradually went from being absolutely petrified of them, of anything I thought might come alive, to being fascinated.

“I was a nervous child, I was anxious about a lot of things, but when the puppets came along they more or less became a fascination. It’s been a lifelong fascination.”

Lady Penelope, isn’t the first famous name to grace Colin’s collection.

Several years ago he bought the original Archie Andrews puppet from Educating Archie, a 1950s radio show which used to attract audiences of millions.

The purchase set Colin back more than £34,000, officially making Archie the most valuable ventriloquist doll ever sold at auction.

Since being bought at auction, Archie has been performing with a number of ventriloquists, including Britain’s Got Talent star Steve Hewlett. Most recently the puppet has been touring with Donna Marie Walton, a professional ventriloquist and broadcaster.