Fundraiser ‘Man with the Pram’ delighted after raising £1m for Macmillan

A pensioner who has dedicated his life to raising £1million for Macmillan Cancer Support as The Man with the Pram has said he is “humbled” and “blown away” after hitting his target.

John Barkhill, 84, has become one of Sheffield’s best-known characters.

He spends his days bringing color to the city streets, complete with his decorated pram, trademark green wig and giant foam hand, collecting cash and chatting with everyone he meets.

Mr Barkhill, who lives in the Handsworth area of ​​the city, began fundraising for Macmillan in 2007.

He was inspired by the death of his wife, June, from cancer in 1993—a year after losing their daughter, Karen, during a routine procedure.

They initially set a target of £250,000, but after hitting this in 2013, they turned to the “magic million” mark.

As well as his daily tour of Sheffield’s suburbs and city centre, he has taken part in 1,038 races – always carrying a children’s colt bought for his late daughter in 1961.

And he is one of the few figures who crosses Sheffield’s footballing divide as he is greeted outside both Wednesday and United grounds on match days.

He said: “Honestly speaking, I am at a loss for words.

“I’m really humbled by it all and blown away.

People have said that I am hero and legend, but those who put money in buckets and donated are heroes.

John Barkhill, Man with the Pram

“People have said that I am a hero and a legend, but those who put money in buckets and donated are the heroes.”

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Mr Barkhill said: “I can’t thank everyone enough for their support.

“They may all think I am a little stupid in the best possible way, but they are behind what I am trying to do for those affected by cancer.”

He said he has no plans to stop.

Mr Burkhill said: “I’ll keep going.

“People have always asked me what I will do when I get there, but I have to move on.

“I know it’s a bit stupid, but even when I’m pushing that pram, my daughter and wife are both with me. They keep me going.

“As long as I can put one foot in front of the other, I’ll keep going.”

Mr Burkhill received the British Empire Medal in 2013 and a bar to the medal in 2021.

He also received the Douglas Macmillan Award for services to Macmillan Cancer Aid in 2013 and was awarded the British Citizen Award for services to charitable giving in January.

Gemma Peters, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We are very proud of John and very grateful for his incredible effort over the last 15 years to achieve his ambition of raising £1 million for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“It is difficult to put into words how phenomenal this achievement is, because John is the epitome of all that is good in humanity.

“She is selfless beyond measure, having overcome such personal tragedy, and has put everyone else before herself.”

Ms Peters said: “Jon really does everything he can for people with cancer in trekking across town, whatever the weather, and pushing his late daughter’s pram whilst taking part in countless races across the country .

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“We thank you, John, from the bottom of our hearts.”

McMillan said plans were being finalized for a celebration to thank John for his achievement.

The charity said their fundraising meant providing Macmillan nurses for 16 years, or answering Macmillan’s support line 58,823 times, or giving 2,857 people Macmillan grants, which helps cover additional costs, such as travel. cost or pay for the wig.

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