The Owls are delighted to welcome local fundraising hero John Burkhill to Hillsborough tomorrow!
The 83-year-old has been raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support for almost 15 years and has been recognised nationally with awards for his incredible contribution to the charity.
Macmillan offer dedicated support to people diagnosed with cancer, helping them live life as fully as possible.
John has become well-known in Sheffield as the ‘man with a pram’ as he pushes his fundraising buggy across all areas of the city, whilst sporting his iconic green wig.
His accolades include the Freedom of the City of Sheffield and a BEM Bar Medal from Her Majesty The Queen.
John is now closing in on the incredible £1m milestone for Macmillan, the organisation he chose to support after losing his wife to cancer in 1992.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on fundraising for Macmillan, with John unable to walk the Sheffield streets and raise much-needed funds due to the restrictions. But now, he’s back and is as determined as ever to reach that magic £1m mark.
John said: “We followed the lockdown rules and it was very, very hard for me because I couldn’t go out and do what I wanted to do. Macmillan lost a lot of funds and I managed to get out and keep myself fit and train as best I could. But it was very, very hard.
“The motivation is the kids that come up to me and you can see the happiness on their faces. It’s something that you can’t put into words.”
Despite more than his fair share of personal tragedy, losing both his wife and daughter just over a year apart, John’s determination and dedication has never wavered.
He added: “I got that pram many years ago, in 1961. It’s my daughter’s pram. It’s been all over the country with me. I’ll never part with it and it’s part of me.
“I have a mascot on the front, it’s my late wife’s teddy bear. I know it’s a bit daft but when I’m shoving that pram, they’re both with me and I feel they’re helping me to get round.”
John’s push for £1m is getting ever closer and he plans to continue supporting Macmillan for as long as possible.
He added: “Macmillan means a lot to me. I’ve seen the work they do and how they look after people. I lost both my brothers and they moved heaven and earth to get things moving.
“They really mean a lot to me and I’m going to keep on fundraising for as long as I can for them.
“We’ll get there to £1m, there’s no question about that. If you can help push us over the line, it’d be absolutely fantastic.”
To help John reach the magic million for Macmillan, you can donate via this fundraising page at: justgiving.com/fundraising/madwalker or by texting the word PRAM to 70550 to make a £5 donation.
Keep an eye out for John around Hillsborough tomorrow and say hello to a Sheffield legend!