The 80-year-old has been a familiar figure on the streets of the city over the last three decades with his bright green wig and fundraising pram.
He has now been awarded the city’s highest honour for raising as much as £750, 000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Handsworth man joins only a handful of people to have earned the honour, which includes Olympic gold medalist Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.
A number of readers took to The Star’s Facebook page to congratulate John and to call for him to become a knight of the realm.
Val Swift posted: “About time, now he should get a knighthood and he'd be one of the few who actually deserved it.”
June Willgoose added: “He should have got more than that for all he has done, an OBE or something. Amazing man.”
June Griffin said: “This is a case of definitely not before time.
“The man is a star, next one should be a knighthood for his selfless actions.
“He’s definitely my hero.”
Karl Jenkinson added: “This man should receive a knighthood.”
Connie Andrews posted: “Very well deserved, next thing should be a knighthood and obviously a star outside the Town Hall as he is one of Sheffield’s own stars.”
He described being given the Freedom Of The City as a “great honour” and added: “I never believed it would happen to me.”
John, who lost both his wife and daughter to cancer, has taken part in more than 1000 organised races.
Although the title of ‘freeman’ confers no special privileges, it will allow John the freedom to parade through the city and is a very public recognition of his years of charity fundraising