'Big Pink Dress' Colin smashes his fundraising target as he gets ready for Great North Run challenge

A South Tyneside charity hero has smashed his fundraising target as he prepares to run a half marathon for two worthy causes – and he is doing it in a brand new dress.

Thursday, 6th August 2020, 6:00 am
Colin Burgin-Plews who tackled a sponsored walk earlier this year to thank the NHS heroes who saved his life.
Colin Burgin-Plews who tackled a sponsored walk earlier this year to thank the NHS heroes who saved his life.

‘Big Pink Dress’ Colin Burgin-Plews had hoped to raise £300 for the Kayaks and St Benedict’s Hospice by tackling the Great North Run ‘virtual’ half marathon in September.

But he has already doubled that target and there is still plenty of time for people to add their own backing to the man who has already raised tens of thousands of pounds since 2014.

Colin’s latest challenge is to run 13.1 miles on September 13, the day he would have been tackling the Great North Run along with more than 50,000 other runners.

Colin Burgin-Plews, aka the Big Pink Dress, in a handcrafted creation after completing the Great North Run 2018.

The run itself had to be cancelled so Colin is doing a virtual version of it – and he is preparing well.

"It’s going canny,” he told the Gazette. “In the first four days of fundraising, I reached double the target.”

But what is more remarkable is that Colin is also doing the Great North Run solo challenge which asks people to complete 40 runs by September 13

Colin said: “I am doing about 70 miles a week at the moment. It is very slow but I get there in the end”

A part of Colin's latest creation which he will run in for the Great North Run virtual challenge next month.

His next target is the virtual Great North Run and Colin has a special dress lined up for the day – although it is still being made.

He explained: “I have designed a new dress which will have all the GNR T-shirts on it.”

But the T-shirts won’t be the actual shirts from the runs – they will be painted on by Colin and people can have their names on it in return for a donation.

He said: “It is going to take forever and it will have the Red Arrows on the front with the names of people on the trail.”

It was in June 2019 that doctors discovered problems with his heart.

After experiencing chest pains and numbness in his arm while at home, Colin went straight to South Tyneside District Hospital, where doctors told him he may have a problem with a valve in his heart, exacerbated by high blood pressure.

He had a scan and now has to take tablets to control the problem for the rest of his life.

He first took up the title of ‘Big Pink Dress’ in 2014 when he ran the Great North Run and, that year, the charity he was running for had a pink colour theme.

Colin feared he wouldn’t make the £350 fundraising target in 2014 ... he raised thousands and a legend was born.

And now he is tackling his latest ventures. To support his virtual GNR bid, people can donate here.

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