There is no denying the season of goodwill is alive and kicking in Sheffield – as demonstrated by one generous pensioner.
The city’s most famous fundraiser, John ‘man with a pram’ Burkhill, was dumbfounded when the man handed him thousands of pounds in the street – for a second time.
John, who pounds the pavements of Sheffield each day wearing a green wig and raising cash for Macmillan Cancer Support, got his best ever Christmas gift in the form of the £5,000 donation.
Kind-hearted widower Bill Hawcroftstopped John in his tracks as he collected coppers in The Moor, handing him the cash in £20 notes.
It is the second time Mr Hawcroft has made such a contribution to John’s appeal – last November, the 85-year-old gave John the same amount, again in cash.
Mr Hawcroft, who lives in sheltered accommodation in Sheffield city centre, had been saving since losing his wife Shirley to cancer seven years ago.
She was 65 when she passed away.
The wad of money went straight to Macmillan Cancer Support staff, who banked it instantly.
John said: “I couldn’t believe it, I was speechless.
“He told me he was full of admiration for all the fundraising I do.
“I started crying. He’s such a nice man.
“He hasn’t got a penny – he just saved it all up from his pension.
“That’s the reason I do what I do, because of people like Bill.
“He says he’s full of admiration for me, but I am for him. He’s a lovely man.”
As a small token of his gratitude John, aged 74, visited Bill at home on Christmas Day and the pair shared some food and drink.
John has already topped the £250,000-mark in his Macmillan mission, inspired by late wife June, who died from cancer. He has now set his sights on a much bigger target.
John said: “This has made me determined to raise £1 million for them.
“I’ve got to my quarter of a million, but I won’t stop now.”