Green man’s barmy Sheffield army on the march

John Burkhill anfd his pram and walkers about to set of from Meadowhall
John Burkhill anfd his pram and walkers about to set of from Meadowhall
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FOR more than 20 years, inspirational fundraiser John Burkhill’s signature green wig, shorts and famous pram have made him stand out from the crowd.

But yesterday he was indistinguishable among a sea of lookalikes who joined his crusade to raise money to help the 2,200 people in Sheffield who are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Around 150 people - many of whom had donned green wigs and fancy dress - turned out to John’s Father’s Day walk to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Since losing his wife June to the disease, John has been on a one-man mission to reach his fundraising target of £250,000 for the charity and has gained the nickname Mad Man with the Pram in the process.

The huge turnout proved his plight has struck a chord with others across the city - making for poignant scenes on an emotionally-charged occasion. Colleagues, pals, families and even four-legged friends whose lives have been touched by cancer put their best feet forward as they set off from Meadowhall coach car park on four and eight mile routes. It is hoped the event will raise around £12,000.

John said: “It’s wonderful. I’m really pleased with the turnout. When I first started the £250,000 target was a dream but this shows it can be a reality. Thanks to everyone who has supported me.”

Macmillan nurses Carolyn Sutton, 60, Rachael Bond, 42, and her 11-year-old daughter Hannah were just a few of those who took part and dressed like John for the day. Rachael, who works at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital, said: “We see on a day-to-day basis what this fundraising can do. John is amazing.”

Cancer survivor Sarah Miller, 28, delivered a tearful speech in which she stressed the need to support the charity which had been there for her in her hour of need.