The Sheffield institution who just keeps on going

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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‘MAD pram man’ John Burkhill last night completed his latest fundraising challenge - to walk through every district of Sheffield to thank residents for nominating him to carry the Olympic Torch.

The 73-year-old was welcomed at the Town Hall by a band of supporters as he rolled his pram into the city centre after walking 1,184 miles in three months.

He proudly held his torch aloft as he was welcomed by former Sports Minister Richard Caborn, Lord Mayor Coun John Campbell and supporters of Macmillan Cancer Support, for which he has now raised £161,000.

John, from Richmond, said: “It has been fantastic. This walk was to thank the people of Sheffield for nominating me to carry the Olympic Torch.

“They’ve kept on giving and we’ve collected £11,000 on this walk, which is just brilliant.”

John has committed his life to fundraising for Macmillan since his wife June and daughter Karen died within months of each other.

Since then he has become a familiar figure in Sheffield, dressed in his green wig and pushing his pram around the streets of the city.

His target is to raise £250,000 for the charity.

“We will hit the quarter-million target, the people of Sheffield will make sure of that.”

And despite completing his challenge - his fifth 1,000-mile walk - he has no plans for a break.

He said: “I’ll be taking the torch around the Sheffield schools and I’m walking to York for the Jane Tomlinson walk.

“In September I’m walking to Newcastle to do the Great North Run, then walking back again.”

Mr Caborn, former MP for Sheffield Central, said: “He is fantastic - he has a cause he genuinely believes in. That’s why the people of this city nominated him to carry the torch.

“He is an icon in Sheffield - a bit like Jessica Ennis but for different reasons.

“I think now he has become a Sheffield institution. You walk down the street with John and everyone talks to him.”

Coun Campbell added: “This has been a tremendous effort.

“I’ve been watching him walk over a number of years - I see him walk near my home in all weathers. To raise so much for so many people is truly admirable.”