Everyone in Sheffield knows the famous ‘man with the pram’ John Burkhill, who is hard to miss with his curly green wig and green foam hand as he walks the streets of Sheffield raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
From running marathons at the age of 83 to walking around the city with his daughter’s pram and donation bucket, John has been collecting for the cancer charity for 15 years after the death of his daughter, Karen in 1991, followed by his wife, June, to cancer a year later.
Having raised over £840,000 for Macmillan, John is more determined than ever to reach that magic million figure that would make the city and his family incredibly proud.
Talking about his father’s fundraising, Stuart Burkhill has issued a plea to the people of Sheffield to help his dad across the line.
“If they can, I’d ask the Sheffield people to put some money in the bucket or do whatever they can. He has got to get that one million,” said Stuart.
“He’s given 1,000 per cent. It’s all I’ve ever known since I have known my dad. He has always been doing his walking and fundraising. It would mean everything to my dad if he gets that million, absolutely everything. He’s got to do it now, he has been doing it long enough.”
Stuart is unfortunately receiving treatment for cancer himself, but says this has only made his dad even more determined to get to the million pound mark. He has urged his dad to keep going and get that magic million that he deserves.
Stuart adds that most of John’s fundraising has come from bucket donations, making the hundreds of thousands he has already raised even more impressive.
“Not all people realise it has all come from money in the bucket. He’s got very little help from businesses or anything like that. It has all come from people in Sheffield, everything he’s done – it is the people of Sheffield that have done it,” said Stuart.
“To get that bucket full is impossible at the end of the day, he has tried and he can’t do it.”
He said getting to the magic million target is something John is achieving one milestone at a time.
“I never could have imagined it; he said that he’d get a thousand, then he smashed that thousand and said he’d get three thousand. Then it went up and up to half a million and now he just wants that million.
“He’s out in all weathers, it doesn’t matter what kind of weather it is my dad is always out there.”
Even at the age of 83, John is still out almost every day walking and competing in marathons to raise money, with John saying he is ‘very lucky’ to still be able to do this at his age.
“It takes him half an hour to get to the start,” says Stuart. “It takes ages to get anywhere with my dad – going through the city centre everyone wants to talk to him.”