OLYMPIC fever has provided a South Yorkshire cancer charity with a welcome boost.
Sheffield’s famous ‘Mad Man with a Pram’ John Burkhill joined forces with the city centre’s Cash Converters to raise more than £5,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The summer of fundraising began when store manager Wayne Barrett approached John shortly after he carried the Olympic flame through Sheffield. He promised that he would raise at least £2,000 towards John’s Macmillan mission if the green-wig-wearing pensioner loaned him the torch.
Throughout the summer, the Glossop Road branch displayed the golden beacon proudly in-store, inviting customers to hold it and have their photo taken with it in exchange for donations.
Team GB’s gold rush helped to prompt a huge surge in interest from shoppers in the city centre, with the torch proving to be a star attraction.
Keen to capitalise on the enthusiasm for the Games in light of Jess Ennis’ medal glory, the pair also visited the post box in Barker’s Pool painted gold in her honour.
They gave people the chance to hold the torch while visiting the city centre’s latest landmark.
A charity Stars in their Eyes night organised by the company - where John and his partner were guests of honour - added to the £5,181 total.
Wayne said: “The response was huge. We had a lot of people coming in to the store to have their picture with the torch. One lady was a 102-year-old Sheffield woman who brought four generations of her family with her.
“The idea came about because I saw John outside the shop and asked him what he was doing with it. We shook on the £2,000 deal there and then.
“It was a fantastic three weeks for us. It went so well we arranged to go out together in the city centre the following week. John is getting quite popular around the Barker’s Pool area now.
“I’m just so impressed with what John is doing and how determined he is to reach the £250,000 for Macmillan.
“If we can help him in any small way, we will.”
Rob Turner, fundraising manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Sheffield, said: “I want to thank Wayne and all the team at Cash Converters. About 97 per cent of our funds come from people like him and John who are raising money which helps us reach as many people as possible.
“Wayne really has been amazing and it is John who has inspired him to do this.”