Rangers fans accused of abusing Sheffield's 'Mad Man With The Pram'

John Burkhill
John Burkhill
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Rangers football fans have been criticised for abusing Sheffield's most well know charity collector.

John Burkhill, who walks miles each day collecting money for Macmillan Cancer Support, was targeted by Rangers fans ahead of their team's friendly with Sheffield Wednesday yesterday.

Dressed in Macmillan's traditional green, the 78-year-old said he was targeted because Rangers' rivals, Celtic, also wear green.

He was sworn at and abused before some fans stole his wig and other items from the pram he pushes around the streets in his bid to raise £1 million for Macmillan.

No money was taken from him during the incident.

John, who has raised around £750,000 for the charity since his wife June died of cancer, said he was disappointed with the behaviour of some of the Rangers fans.

"I can't say it was all of them, it wasn't, and there was one young fan who actually came over to me to apologise for the behaviour of those involved," he said.

"But I can say I have never known anything like it in all the years I have been collecting."

He was targeted outside Wednesday's stadium on Penistone Road at around 2pm as thousands of Rangers fans made their way to the stadium ahead of their 2-0 win.

"I stand outside HIllsborough and outside Bramall Lane when Sheffield United are at home on every single match day and I won't let this stop me.

"It was not good at the time and I learned some swear words I had never heard before - and all because I was wearing green like Celtic do.

"I took a lot of abuse but I stood my ground and didn't let them stop me doing what I was there to do - to raise money for Macmillan - because it is too important to me.

"The Wednesday fans who know me saw all this happen and were upset because 95 per cent of them probably know me and it could have caused some real bother but it wasn't all the Rangers fans so thankfully nothing else happened."

The pram John, from Handsworth, pushes around Sheffield to collect cash was bought for his daughter, Karen, when she was born in the 1960s.

Rangers FC has been asked for a comment.