Sheffield granddad to mark 70th year with charity pledge

A Sheffield man is set to mark his 70th birthday with a series of fundrasising challenges in aid of the hospital that took care of his granddaughter.

Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 1:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 2:03 pm

John Johnson is gearing up to embark on an impressive four years of charity challenges for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

His granddaughter, Sophie Skill, was just two-years-old when she swallowed the lithium battery that burnt a hole in her oesophagus, and caused her left lung to collapse.

She was left with a deadly infection and had to spend six days on life support and a total of eight weeks in the care of the hospital.

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During her stay she needed seven operations but thanks to the skill of the staff at the hospital she made a full recovery and is now a happy, healthy three-year-old.

And now, John is set to give back to the hospital by taking part in what he has dubbed ‘Sophie’s Challenge’.

He said: “As a family we have always been supportive of Sheffield Children’s Hospital,” said John. “We never realised that one day we would need the service of the hospital to save our precious grand-daughter. We’re so grateful for all they did for our little girl. Once I have completed this, I intend to carry on raising funds for the hospital by doing other challenges such as the Dales Way Walk in 2017, the coast to coast challenge in 2018 and another challenge in Italy the year after. Completing these hikes will be my way of marking and celebrating my 70th birthday!”

John will kick off Sophie’s Challenge with three-days of mountain climbing in the Yorkshire Dales.

On June 10 he will climb the three peak challenge, followed by Great Shunner Fell on the 11th and Buckden Pike on the 12th.

Gemma Bower, Community Fundraiser for The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “By setting himself this goal and raising money for the children’s hospital John is helping to support children just like Sophie get the best treatment possible in an environment designed especially for them. We wish him all the best and can’t wait to see how much he manages to raise by completing Sophie’s Challenge!”

To help him prepare, John is training daily at Gym Plus in Crookes. He is welcoming any fundraiser who wants to get involved with ‘Sophie’s Challenge’ to sign up and walk with him.