Readers decide who deserves a statue in Sheffield - and ‘man with the pram’ John Burkhill gets the vote
“The legend, John Burkhill, no one deserves it more. This man is tireless with his charity work, and continues to do so.”
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We asked readers on our social media pages who most deserves to be commemorated with a statue in Sheffield - and we received hundreds of comments.
While there was a range in answers, there was certainly one overwhelming response: John Burkhill.
For those not familiar with the legend, John ‘man with the pram’ Burkhill has spent the past 16 years tirelessly fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support after losing his beloved wife, June. And in May this year, he hit the magic million-pound milestone.
The inspirational 84-year-old from Handsworth is frequently spotted in the city centre with his bright green wig on and a pram which used to belong to his late daughter, who unexpectedly passed away a year before his wife’s death.
John was chosen to receive the British Empire Medal for his services to charity in 2013 and a second bar for the medal was awarded to John in 2021. He also received the Douglas Macmillan award for his services to Macmillan Cancer Support in 2013 and was recognised with a British Citizens Award for services to charitable giving in January 2023.
Pauline O'neill said: “The legend, John Burkhill, no one deserves it more. This man is tireless with his charity work, and continues to do so.”
Linda Steer said: “Definitely John Burkhill, he's a very special gentleman and a legend of Sheffield for all his hard work for cancer support. He deserves this. God Bless you, John.”
Christine Wilson said: “John Burkhill, The Man with the Pram deserves a statue in Sheffield. I cannot think of anyone else more deserving.”
Martin Clarke said: “Definitely John Burkhill, what a lovely bloke if anyone deserves it, he does!”
Lisa Barton said: “John Burkhill, definitely. Without a doubt he should be made the pride of Sheffield and given an award. He should be knighted for his achievements.”
Other notable mentions included:
- Helen Sharman, who was born in Sheffield, and in May 1991, aged just 27, became the first British astronaut to travel into space.
- Corporal Liam Riley - a heroic Sheffield soldier who was tragically killed in action aged 21 while trying to save a fellow soldier.
- Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, a retired British track and field athlete and an Olympic champion. She is now a champion for women's health.
- Sean Bean - Sheffield's own Hollywood star. Born in Handsworth, he is known from the likes of Game of Thrones, GoldenEye, and The Lord of the Rings among many, many more.
- And reader Andrew Hawley suggested a “massive bottle of Hendos”.