Sheffield’s ‘Pram Man’ offers his heartfelt thanks for Olympic honour

Burkhill  at Town hall. John Burkhill at the Town Hall where he was met by Richard Caborn MP, Rob Turner Macmillan Cancer Support and supporters.
Burkhill at Town hall. John Burkhill at the Town Hall where he was met by Richard Caborn MP, Rob Turner Macmillan Cancer Support and supporters.
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Let me try to tell you and all the readers of The Star just how I feel after completing my latest 1,000-mile plus walk through every district of Sheffield.

I want to thank the great citizens of our city for voting for me to carry the Olympic Torch in Chapeltown, not forgetting the great supporters of our two teams, the Owls and the Blades, who also voted for me to carry the torch.

How did I feel?

Very, very emotional and humble. It is something I will never, ever forget. The people of Sheffield made it possible for me and I carried that torch on behalf of each and everyone of them.

The latest walk which I completed on Tuesday, July 30 raised well over £11,000.

Absolutely fantastic that dream of raising a quarter-of-a-million for MacMillan is getting nearer. I will do it, our great people of Sheffield will make sure of that.

Going back to the torch, to me it is absolutely priceless. If you offered me 500 billion trillion for it my answer always will be, not a chance. I will never part with it. I and MacMillan are going to try to make sure that as many people will see the torch as possible. Everyone is welcome.

If they see me and my pram out with the torch take a photo, they are more than welcome, without them I wouldn’t be carrying it. I will soon be out again with my pram with another walk already planned, ‘once I’ve got my pram through the MOT.’

So many people have shook my hand, so many kids have had a high five with my big foam hand, so many memories. I will never forget carrying that torch, thanks so much. To be one of the torch bearers will live with me forever.

People have been asking me who I think should light the Olympic flame in London, Sir Steve Redgrave or David Beckham. My choice would be Ben Parkinson, the soldier who carried the torch in Doncaster. I was moved to tears when I saw him.

What courage, what a man, no one deserves it more. I’m sure Sir Steve or David wouldn’t mind one bit.

Everyone in Yorkshire would be so thrilled for him. Come on Seb do your best.

Yours in friendship

John Burkhill, the mad walker with the pram