SEQUINS, sparkles and sartorial elegance were the order of the day as the Roker Hotel was transformed into a celebration of Sunderland style.
The first of its kind, the Sun FM Style Awards proved a huge success, attracting everyone from reality TV stars to Wearside hipsters and footballing legends.
As well as recognising well-known Wearsiders, such as boxer Tony Jeffries and Frankie Francis, singer in Frankie & the Heartstrings, the event awarded ordinary Mackems who ooze style, as well as trendy venues and businesses.
The awards were launched in a bid to inject some fun into the city’s awards calendar and to show that Wearside has its own trends worth shouting about.
Among those to attend the event was Greg Lake from MTV hit show Geordie Shore. He controversially decided to quit the show after deciding its portrayal of the sometimes seedier side of North East nightlife wasn’t for him.
He said: “I never expected anything like this. I thought it would be a quiet night but it’s really good. Everyone is dressed really well. I’m probably one of the worst dressed here, all the girls look mint in their dresses.
“Leaving the show was probably one of the best decisions I made. Everywhere I go everyone says they could tell it wasn’t for me. It’s opened a lot of doors and I’m in talks about having my own show.”
Other star attractions were Jodie Lundstram and Debbie O’Toole from E4 show Desperate Scousewives who are notorious for dressing up to the nines for nights out in Liverpool.
“We’ve never been to Sunderland before,” said Debbie. “But everyone looks really glamorous and the girls are all in gorgeous dresses. We feel like we’re in Liverpool.”
Jodie added: “Desperate Scousewives is fabulous for us because it means we get to come to lovely places like this. And it’s great that we get to do it together because me and Debbie have been friends for nine years.”
Among the local winners was Martin Longstaff, from East Herrington, who picked up the Best Unsigned Award for his folk/indie act, The Lake Poets.
He said: “I’m very proud to be from Sunderland. If you skim the surface and go underground there are a lot of bands and people working hard to bring the profile up and make themselves proud.
“Tonight is a brilliant way of making people aware of all the hard work people of Sunderland put in.”
Helen Rogers from 103.4 Sun FM said the event had been one of the most successful in the station’s history.
She said: “The event was great. From the moment the doors opened and Nessun Dorma greeted the guests, to the incredible Ruff Diamond dance troupe bidding them goodbye, it just worked.
“It was nice to pay homage to Sunderland as a city, because it is sometimes overlooked.”
Plans are already in the pipeline to host the awards again next year.
Helen, sponsorship & promotions manager, added: “The Roker Hotel looked amazing. Our local celebs and those who travelled to join us on the night really helped to make the first awards something special.
“I think we really made the whole of the North East stand up and take notice – Sunderland has style!”
l See Thursday’s Seen in the City for more gossip from the night.