He’s done it!
The life of legendary Sheffield fundraiser John Burkhill will be made into a book thanks to the generous donations of big-hearted people who chipped in to cover the costs in just weeks.
Some 51 people donated £1,285 after an appeal was launched by John - also known as the ‘Mad Man with the Pram’ for his daily walks around the city, collecting spare change for Macmillan - last month.
And then Hillsborough company County Shopfitting Services Ltd offered to fund the remaining costs as well as making an additional donation, totalling £3,000.
Now the book, which will tell the story of Richmond grandad John and how he has raised a staggering £325,000 for Macmillan, will be produced and sold to collect even more cash towards his £1 million dream target.
John, aged 77, said: “I’m very touched that the people of Sheffield think so much of me to make this book happen.
“I can’t wait to see it in print and hope the people of Sheffield will get behind me, one more time and buy a copy.”
John started fundraising for the cancer charity after his wife June died of the disease.
His efforts have been recognised by many - as he was given the chance to carry the Olympic flame, has met the Queen and received a British Empire Medal.
Paul Ellerton, the company director of County Shopfitting, said John’s dedication had inspired the firm’s large donation.
The 50-year-old said: “Over the last 15 years we have seen John pushing his pram around Sheffield and on a few occasions I have put some spare change into his bucket.
“What John is doing really has touched many people throughout Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
“John is one of a kind, dedicating his life to help comfort and hopefully eventually save others from the horrible effects of cancer. Over the years our family have seen the devastating effects of cancer and are really thankful of the nurses and special teams that Macmillan have provided our family.
“We see this as a way of returning what we were given over our hard times.
“In helping publish this book we feel John’s story will reach the readers and help him beat the targets he has set. We really do honour John for the work he produces and to keep it up at his age is brilliant. We wish John the best of luck in the future.”
The Regional Magazine Company has written and designed the book free of charge.
It is hoped the book will raise at least £15,000.
Rob Turner, fundraising manager for Macmillan in Sheffield, said: “For so many people to come forward and donate to help us make this book a reality is just incredible, and it is so great for John to know precisely what he means to the people of Sheffield.
“Everyone in Sheffield knows him, loves him and will have seen him walking around the city in all weathers. John is an inspiration to so many and we want to make this happen for him.”
Macmillan is now looking for retailers to sell John’s book.
To pre-order a copy of John’s book email email@example.com