Birthday surprise for Sheffield’s ‘pram man’

John Burkhill, left, who has collected �250, 000 for Macmillan Cancer Support with his 'pram' celebrates his 75th birthday with a special award from Macmillan's Rob Turner.
John Burkhill, left, who has collected �250, 000 for Macmillan Cancer Support with his 'pram' celebrates his 75th birthday with a special award from Macmillan's Rob Turner.
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Today marks a special milestone for Sheffield’s ‘Mad Man with the Pram’ John Burkhill as he celebrates his 75th birthday.

And to recognise the dedicated charity fundraiser’s efforts, John has been presented with a special award by Macmillan Cancer Support, the good cause which he has so far raised £250,000 for.

The birthday boy said receiving the Douglas Macmillan Award was ‘fantastic’ – but he won’t be taking a rest from his usual walking despite the occasion.

For the last 20 years John, from Richmond, has pushed his trademark pram around the streets of Sheffield in all weathers, wearing a green wig and waving a giant foam hand.

His activities have brought him the honour of carrying the Olympic torch in his home city in 2012 and last year he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

“I’m very happy about getting to 75, but I’ve got a long time to go yet,” said John.

“I will get to one million pounds, no question about it.”

The Douglas Macmillan Award – named after the charity’s founder – honours just one volunteer each year.

John has collected money since losing his wife, June, to cancer, followed by his daughter Karen a year later.

“It’s fantastic for Macmillan to do something like this for me, it’s even better than the Empire Medal,” he said.

“The people of Sheffield have made this possible. Without them I couldn’t have raised £250,000, and I’m not stopping now.

“There are so many people suffering so badly, and without people to look after them we would be stuck.”

Just before Christmas his appeal received an unexpected boost when kind-hearted Sheffield widower Bill Hawcroft, 85, handed John £5,000 in £20 notes in the street – the second time he had made such a donation.

Fundraiser Rob Turner said: “John has dedicated his life to raising money to help others. Last year alone, John raised over £30,000 for Macmillan by walking around the streets of Sheffield.

“He is an inspiration and so many people who speak to John then feel inspired to take on their own challenge – helping us make a difference to more people.

“Almost everybody in Sheffield has seen him about, and he really deserves this award.”

Visit http://www.justgiving.com/madmanwithpram/ to donate.