Big Pink Dress charity hero left stunned by awards win

Special Recognition award winner Colin Burgin-Plews with Joy Yates, Editorial Director of the Shields Gazette.
Special Recognition award winner Colin Burgin-Plews with Joy Yates, Editorial Director of the Shields Gazette.

Utterly stunned - that was the reaction from ‘Big Pink Dress’ charity hero Colin Burgin-Plews after an awards win which left him gobsmacked.

Colin was at the Best of South Tyneside Awards to present a trophy to Lifetime Contribition winner Tony Carlisle ... or so he thought.

What a result! The utterly stunned Special Recognition Award winner Colin Burgin-Plews is congratulated by Shields Gazette Editorial Director Joy Yates.

What a result! The utterly stunned Special Recognition Award winner Colin Burgin-Plews is congratulated by Shields Gazette Editorial Director Joy Yates.

But what Colin didn’t realise was he was next on stage after Tony to become an award winner himself!

It had all been kept as a complete secret from Colin - and it worked a treat.

As awards compère Ray Spencer MBE read out the citation, it dawned on Colin he was the champion in The Shields Gazette-sponsored Special Recognition category.

Later, he told the Gazette: “This is so cool. I thought I was just there to present. When they asked me to stay on the stage, I thought they must be getting me to present a trophy to the next person.

I am just a bloke who puts a dress on and runs a marathon or two.

Colin Burgin-Plews

“But when they said it was a 50-year-old charity champion, it began to ring a bell!”

And in modest Colin style, he played down his immense achievements by saying: “I am just a bloke who puts a dress on and runs a marathon or two.”

But the whole of South Tyneside knows he’s much more than that.

Colin has made dozens of incredible frocks - and then ran in them ,even though some weighed more than 2st - to raise funds for Breast Cancer Now, as well as a range of other causes close to the hearts of people in the borough.

Colin with South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck  at the end of the Great North Run 2018.

Colin with South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck at the end of the Great North Run 2018.

The citation for him said: “He’s the charity champ who never says ‘no’ when it comes to helping others. And he’s the one who brings happiness to people in the darkest of times.”

Our thanks go to this year’s sponsors - Barbour, Harlow Printing Limited, JML, BT South Tyneside, Northumbrian Water, UTS Engineering Ltd, Warmseal and South Tyneside College - for helping to make the event such a success.

Colin was one of 15 winners on a night of drama when courageous children, top-class sportsmen and women, children of achievement and many more picked up honours.

Watch out for an eight-page supplement, filled with more photographs and interviews, in the Shields Gazette on Wednesday, September 26.

Colin in the dress he will wear for the London Marathon.

Colin in the dress he will wear for the London Marathon.

Colin in Sunderland colours after he was the offical starter of the Sunderland City 10k and half marathon, last year.

Colin in Sunderland colours after he was the offical starter of the Sunderland City 10k and half marathon, last year.

Colin was all dressed up for the Breast Cancer Now fun day last year. He's pictured with organiser Steph Kaier.

Colin was all dressed up for the Breast Cancer Now fun day last year. He's pictured with organiser Steph Kaier.

Colin Burgin-Plews at a 2015 fundraiser to remember Forces heroes.

Colin Burgin-Plews at a 2015 fundraiser to remember Forces heroes.

Big Pink Dress Colin Burgin-Plews with competition winner Caitlyn Hughes, 9, lats year.

Big Pink Dress Colin Burgin-Plews with competition winner Caitlyn Hughes, 9, lats year.