South Shields charity hero The Big Pink Dress Colin Burgin-Plews reveals plans to retire after hitting £150,000 fundraising landmark

Charity hero Colin Burgin-Plews has smashed an amazing milestone – but his running fundraising days could come to an end this year.

Saturday, 14th May 2022, 9:45 am

‘Big Pink Dress’ has raised £150,000 for worthy causes since he first donned one of his iconic outfits for the 2014 Great North Run.

Since then, he has met famous people including Nancy Sinatra, gone through two major health scares, ran thousands of miles and won awards.

He told the Gazette: “I genuinely think this will be my last year of doing it. I have entered the London Marathon in October and I think that will be the last.”

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Colin Burgin-Plews whose fundraising has reached the £150,000 milestone.

“I know I have talked before about retiring but it is getting harder.”

Colin has suffered from health problems since 2019. After experiencing chest pains and numbness in his arm, he went straight to South Tyneside District Hospital, where doctors told him he may have a problem with a valve in his heart.

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

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

Two years later, there was more bad news when a biopsy showed he had skin cancer. The news came just weeks after Colin lost his mum Pat to cancer whens she was 76.

It was in June 2021 that he went through an operation to remove the mole which left him with 16 stitches and a four-inch scar, and with experts telling him he needs to be checked every three months for skin cancer.

Once again, he fought back by fundraising.

Colin Burgin-Plews at the start of his sponsored walk outside of South Tyneside District Hospital in 2020.

And it’s not just running that Colin has done.

Now, though, he is ready to step back from the spotlight but with a huge thanks to everyone who has supported him.

"I never ever thought I would reach £150,000 but it has never been about milestones for me,” he said. “I have been so fortunate that people have been so lovely to me.”

Colin won the Special Recognition honour at the 2018 Best of South Tyneside Awards.

He added: “It has been a huge privilege to do this and I just want to say thank you to everyone. It makes a big difference when you are doing those runs to have all that support.”

He still remembers that first time he pulled on a big pink dress for the Great North Run in 2014. The charity he was running for had a pink colour theme.

He previously told the Gazette: "I only had one thing that was pink. It was a dress that I’d made for a Stars In Your Eyes night where I sang as Diana Ross and the Supremes. So I rocked up to the Great North Run in that!"

Colin raised thousands and a legend was born. Among his many honours, he won the Special Recognition honour at the 2018 Best of South Tyneside Awards.

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Colin was the City Runs official starter at the 2021 Sunderland City Runs event.
Coin pictured during the Sunderland City Runs 10k earlier this month.