The wife of former World Champion Powerlifter and family man Colin Wright has paid tribute to her “big-hearted” husband who had friends from “all walks of life”.

Colin passed away peacefully following a battle with cancer on Tuesday, October 8.

Describing her husband as a “very genuine, forthright character,” Selina Wright added: “He was his own person, he was full of life and mischief, a big presence both physically and in personality. He loved life, his family, friends, lifting and his community.”

Selina explained that Colin was originally from “Protestant East Belfast” and whilst he valued his own heritage, he was also able to accept and appreciate the value of other traditions.

“He made friends from all walks of life and across communities,” said Selina, adding: “Where a person came from or what their beliefs were did not matter to him, what mattered to him was the person you were, how genuinely you treated others and the effort you made especially with helping young people. He was very driven and when he committed to someone or something he did it wholeheartedly. He also had a strong faith which was important to him.”

Selina noted how Colin was always open about his own difficulties as a young person. “With help he used sport and outdoor pursuits to address those difficulties and change his life. For many years he then used his experience and skills working with disadvantaged young people who were at risk of losing their home and who were at risk of involvement in the criminal justice system,” she said.

It was whilst working in a homeless shelter in Belfast that Selina and Colin met. Together they moved to Enniskillen where they raised a family.

“Colin loved living and raising his family in Fermanagh,” said Selina, adding that he was a great father to their four children and became very involved in his local community which he really appreciated being accepted in to.

During his working life, Colin spent a number of years working at Balcas. Both his employers and colleagues were very supportive following his diagnosis and he cherished the many good friends he had there.

Calling Colin her best friend as well as her husband, Selina shared: “We got married on April 6, 2018 after 20 years together and following Colin’s diagnosis. He has left lots of fabulous memories as a father and husband.”

A World Champion Powerlifter, Colin was actively competing over an eight to nine-year period.

Sharing Colin’s successes Ricky Mullan, CEO of Northern Ireland Powerlifting Federation and NI Director for British Powerlifting said: “Colin was multi-time World Champion, he was top of the tree essentially.”

“In South Africa in 2014 at the Masters One, Colin had what he would have referred to as his ‘day of days’. He won the gold medal in the squat and deadlift, he basically won everything there was at the 120kg category and then he won the overall best lifter as well,” shared Ricky.

Colin also had a coaching career where he would have supported and coached several of the British team members while they were competing and helped them achieve personal bests and international medals as well.

In 2018 he was inducted into the British Powerlifting Hall of Fame.

Paying tribute to Colin, Ricky said: “Colin was a legend in Powerlifting, truly one of the all-time greats: multi NI, British and World Champion, first IPF Masters Classic Overall World Champion, British Hall of Fame inductee, multi British and Commonwealth record holder, and a National Level Referee.”

He continued: “Although a fierce competitor on the platform, he was also a very down to earth man, always willing to help out a new lifter and give a few words of encouragement to anyone.”

“He will be greatly missed around the world of Powerlifting, and the white lights on the platform just won’t shine as brightly now,” Ricky added.

Battling cancer for 20 months, Colin didn’t let his illness define him.

“He remained really active, really on the go, really involved, so much so that literally five weeks ago in August we were up in the Mournes and we did a six hour walk. It was just the last month that his health deteriorated significantly,” said Selina.

“He was so appreciative of all the hospital staff that would have helped him, from the doctors to the staff in the treatment rooms, staff in the South West Acute Hospital and then the staff that would have been involved in his care in the cancer centre in Belfast,” she added.

Tributes have poured in from the many groups Colin had been associated with including Tempo Maguires GAC, St. Patrick’s Lisbellaw Hurling Club, Northern Irish Powerlifting Federation, British Powerlifting and Irish Powerlifting Federation.

Colin is greatly missed by his wife Selina, children Lauren, Conor, Isabella and Joshua, his mother Emily, his sister Gillian and the wider family circle.

The funeral was conducted by undertaker John McKeegan and took place on Friday, October 11 at St. Michael’s Church, Darling Street, Enniskillen. Selina highlighted how Cavanacarragh Pipe Band were one of the groups that provided a guard of honour for Colin and solo piper Danny McCann played ‘Amazing Grace’. Children from St. Patrick's Primary School, Mullanaskea sang as a choir during the funeral service. "Colin valued the school and the staff and they arranged a choir who sang beautifully alongside Eleanor Farry," shared Selina.

“We have been overwhelmed and touched as a family by the tributes and very grateful for the support that has been offered,” concluded Selina.