Thousands back call for charity champion John Burkhill to be crowned Sheffield’s next star

Fundraiser John Burkhill, of Richmond Park.
Fundraiser John Burkhill, of Richmond Park.
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More than 7,000 people have backed calls for a Sheffield charity champion to be honoured with a new city honour.

Petition organisers hoping to recognise John Burkhill – nicknamed the Mad Man With The Pram – as a ‘Sheffield Legend’ are making a final push for signatures before they take their bid to Sheffield Council chiefs next month.

They want the Macmillan Cancer Relief fundraiser – who walks the streets of Sheffield in a green wig, pushing a pram almost every day to collect cash – to receive his own star on the city’s walk of fame outside Sheffield Town Hall.

It is hoped that submitting the petition to the authority will then trigger a public debate on the topic at a council meeting next month.

Mum Cath Fletcher, of Oughtibridge, one of the organisers behind the online campaign, said: “We started the petition in November so it hasn’t been long really to get all those signatures.

“You have to have 5,000 signatures to start a public debate so we are well above that, but we would like more and to have 8,000 would be great.

“There have been so many comments from people as well saying that John really deserves this.”

Grandad John, of Richmond, is hoping to raise £1 million for Macmillan after his wife June died in 1992.

His journey so far has seen the 75-year-old - famed for wearing a green wig on his travels - meet the Queen, receive a British Empire Medal and carry the Olympic Torch as it journeyed around Britain in the run-up to the London 2012 Games.

Charity chiefs at Macmillan say he raised £30,000 last year alone and a star would be a ‘wonderful’ way to recognise his support.

John said: “I wouldn’t say no to having a star - it is a great honour for the people of Sheffield really, as without them I wouldn’t be able to have raised as much money.

“It’s unbelievable 7,000 people have signed the petition.”

The last ‘Legend’ to be honoured was squash world champion Nick Matthews in 2013, who joined the likes of actor Sean Bean, rockers Def Leppard, World Cup winning footballer Gordon Banks, artist Joe Scarborough and London 2012 heptathlete champion Jessica Ennis-Hill with a plaque in the pavement.

No new star was unveiled last year as the council said there had not been time to run the scheme due to a series of high-profile events being held in the city, including the finish of a stage in the Tour de France cycle race.

To sign the petition, click here

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