Sheffield pram man John lights up city streets with walk

GREENrc''John Burkhill
GREENrc''John Burkhill

Sheffield’s ‘mad man with the pram’ has a new accessory to finish his 1,000 mile walk of the city - his Olympic torch.

Fundraising stalwart John Burkhill was moved by the 5,000 signatures the petition for him to carry the torch received that he is now carrying it as he completes his mission.

“Our great citizens of Sheffield voted for me to carry that torch, each and every one of them deserves to see it,” said the 73-year-old.

“It belongs to the people of Sheffield. If you offer me £50 billion for it I wouldn’t take it, it’s priceless.”

John is set to wrap up his visit of every postcode next Tuesday at 4pm outside the Town Hall and hopes people will come and give their support - but he still has a 35-mile stretch to go.

He said: “I’d hoped I would finish the walk earlier but due to the great honour of being selected by the best people in Yorkshire to carry the Olympic torch, it knocked the walk back a bit. But carrying that torch was out of this world.”

John, who is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, added: “A little girl came up to me the other day and said ‘You’ll save my grandad won’t you?’

“I didn’t know what she meant until her dad came over and said he was in hospital.

“The faith that she had in me was amazing. It makes me well up.”

John has raised £150,000 since losing his wife and daughter to cancer - including more than £10,000 from his latest walk - and aims to reach £250,000.

John set off on March 26 and was seen off by former Sports minister Richard Caborn, who will be there to welcome him back with the Macmillan team and Lord Mayor John Campbell.