John Burkhill to become ‘freeman with pram’ this monthPosted by: Ashley Birch
The council is set to award the familiar Sheffield face the city’s highest honour at a ceremony held in the Town Hall later this month
After it was revealed in March that Sheffield’s man with the pram, John Burkhill, was to be awarded the Freedom Of The City, a ceremony has now been organised to bestow Sheffield’s highest honour on one of its most recognisable sons.
The ceremony will be held in Sheffield Town Hall on 26 November and will recognise John’s tireless fundraising efforts, which have seen him raise nearly half a million pounds for Macmillan over the past 30 years.
John, who lost both his wife and daughter to cancer, has taken part in over 1,000 organised races with his distinctive green wig and pram, braving the hills of Sheffield and beyond in all kinds of weather.
He will join only a handful of people to have been given the honour, including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Nelson Mandela.
John said: “It is a great honour, I never believed it would happen to me. I want to say thank you to the people of Sheffield.”
Labour Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “I am thrilled to grant the freedom of the city of Sheffield to John Burkhill. He is a true reflection of Sheffield’s spirit and makes us all feel very proud. The city is recognising his enormous contribution by awarding him the right to walk wherever he wants - the freedom of the city.
“This seems particularly fitting given that over the years John has walked through hundreds of the city’s streets fundraising. John has raised more than £350,000 for Macmillan, and everyone in Sheffield knows and loves him. On behalf of everyone at Sheffield City Council, it is my pleasure to bestow this award in recognition of his fantastic efforts.”
The Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by the council upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. Although the title of “freeman” confers no special privileges, it will allow John the freedom to parade through the city and is a very public recognition of John’s years of charity fundraising.