The Tour de France is heading to Sheffield in less than two weeks - and charity fundraiser John Burkhill is getting into the spirit of the occasion with his very own race... the Tour de Pram!
John is planning his own version of the world’s most famous cycling contest, in which he will follow almost all of the event’s route through Sheffield, from Oughtibridge to Attercliffe.
The 75-year-old will be pushing his trademark pram all the way, as well as wearing his signature bright green fright wig - and he’s appealing for wellwishers to support him along the 14-and-a-half mile route.
John, who has dedicated his life to raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support since losing his wife June and daughter Karen, said he was looking forward to taking to the streets for his latest walk on Sunday.
Joining him for part of the trek will be 12-year-old Shaun Daley, a pupil at Ecclesfield School in Chapeltown, who has raised £3,500 for Macmillan, which helped his great-grandmother before her death from cancer.
John, who has completed 970 races for the charity, raising £251,253 so far, said: “I’m not sure the pram can move as fast as Chris Froome’s bike - but we’ll certainly give it a go. It would be lovely if the people of Sheffield would come out and cheer me along. I can promise them a high five and a picture with the Olympic Torch!”
He added: “I want to raise £1 million for Macmillan. It’s my dream. I know it sounds a tall order, but when I started walking 25 years ago people thought I was crackers trying to raise a quarter of million pounds, but we’ve done that – and I would be so proud if one day I could reach that target.”
Shaun said he thought John was ‘amazing’.
“The amount of money he has raised must have changed so many people’s lives,” said the schoolboy.
“In 2012 my nannan got cancer. All the family was devastated and falling apart but I stayed strong and around this time I started raising money for Macmillan to try to turn something negative into a positive. I chose Macmillan because they had treated my great nannan and took really good care of her.
“Sadly she passed away from cancer but I am really honoured to walk with John as he is my inspiration.”
The walk starts at 10am, setting off from The Hare and Hounds pub in Oughtibridge before finishing at Sheffield Arena at 4pm.