Let Mad Man with a Pram carry torch

Sheffield Charity Walker John Burkhill
Sheffield Charity Walker John Burkhill
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A PETITION has been launched online backing Sheffield’s ‘Mad Man with a Pram’ John Burkhill to become a torch bearer for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Cath Fletcher set up the petition to help thank John for his fundraising efforts for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The 71-year-old has devoted his life to the charity after his wife June died from cancer in 1989 aged just 55. A year later his daughter Karen died during a routine operation.

He has walked and run thousands of miles around the city, taking part in 854 races – wearing his trademark green wig and pushing his decorated shopping trolley.

Now Cath, other supporters and Macmillan workers are encouraging people across South Yorkshire to give their support to the campaign asking that John be given the privilege of carrying the Olympic Torch through Sheffield as part of a relay across the UK in the run-up to the Games next year.

She said: “I can’t think of anyone more deserving than John, who has walked miles and miles on his fundraising mission for Macmillan.

“The weather doesn’t stop him – he walks miles and miles raising money for this worthy cause – and we believe that to gain the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch would go some way to say thank you for his endless hard work.

“Without being disrespectful, John isn’t a 21-year-old – but his stamina, enthusiasm and dedication would put any young person to shame.”

Fellow supporter Gavin Carter added: “I think it would be a great way for the people of Sheffield to show their appreciation for the time John spends each and every day fundraising.”

Rob Turner, fundraising manager for Macmillan in Sheffield and Chesterfield, said: “The Olympics are all about making people’s dreams come true and John would be honoured to be chosen as Sheffield’s Torch Bearer for 2012. ”

n Search for ‘John Burkhill’ on www.petitiononline.co.uk to add your name to the campaign.