The Big Pink Dress Runner
995. Colin Burgin-Plews
Colin Burgin-Plews, from South Shields, has achieved local notoriety as ‘the big pink dress runner’, raising tens of thousands of pounds for ‘Breast Cancer Now’ by running the Great North Run in a variety of eye-catching pink ball gowns.
Colin has participated in 50 fun runs and marathons, each time in a different dress, hand made by himself. What started out as a way to raise some money for a friend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, has grown into a local phenomenon which has seen Colin raise over £30,000 for the charity.
The award will be presented to Colin by Brendan Foster, founder of the Great North Run, on Sunday 9 September, at the start line of the 2018 Great North Run in Newcastle. Colin’s local MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, will meet Colin at the finish line, to congratulate him on the award.
In a personal letter to Colin, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your eye-catching runs have raised a tremendous amount of money for Breast Cancer Now and are also raising awareness of the charity’s vital work. Your handcrafted pink dresses have become a much-loved sight in charity runs across the country and I wish you every success as you continue to inspire donations to this important cause.”
Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields, said:
“Colin is an excellent ambassador for ‘Breast Cancer Now’. His fundraising has no doubt made a massive difference to so many lives. He brings a smile to every face he meets and his gowns are just amazing. I know this started out as a very personal tribute to Colin’s friends who had experienced and been lost to breast cancer but I really think there are not many people in our town now who don’t know about Colin and his unique sense of fun. I am sure everyone will join me in wishing Colin all the best for this Year’s Great North Run and I will look out for him at the finishing line.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of ‘Breast Cancer Now’:
“Colin is such a deserving winner of this very special award from the Prime Minister. We are so grateful to Colin for his selfless dedication, and for his incredible efforts to help fund our cutting-edge research to help put a stop to breast cancer.
“His energy and enthusiasm is infectious, and Colin has inspired so many others to take on challenges to fundraise for breast cancer research, to help us reach our aim that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well.
“In his iconic Big Pink Dress, Colin goes above and beyond to complete his extraordinary challenges. He is a real champion, and encapsulates the spirit of ‘Breast Cancer Now’. We are very lucky to have Colin’s continued support, and wish him the very best for this year’s Great North Run – and for all future events!”
“To receive a call telling me I’d been given the Points of Light award from the Prime Minister Theresa May has to be one of the proudest days of my life.
“The support I’ve had since I started Big Pink Dress fundraising for Breast Cancer Now at the 2014 Great North Run has been absolutely incredible. A special thank you to my wife Cath, my son Ollie, and friends Stephanie and Gary for their fantastic support without whom I couldn’t do what I do. To be given the award at this year’s run is so special to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.”
Pictured below: Colin presented with his award by Emma Lewell-Buck MP, and in his Big Pink Dress at the Angel of the North