Sheffield charity collector abused by Rangers fans

An eccentric charity collector was abused by Rangers fans - for wearing the colour of their arch rivals.
John Buckhill is known as the 'Mad man with a pram' collects donations for Macmillan.John Buckhill is known as the 'Mad man with a pram' collects donations for Macmillan.
John Buckhill is known as the 'Mad man with a pram' collects donations for Macmillan.

John Burkhill - known as the ‘Mad man with a pram’ - walks miles each day collecting money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

On match days the 78-year-old can be found collecting donations outside Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium.

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But on Sunday he was set upon by Rangers hooligans because he was wearing Macmillan’s traditional green colours - the same as their arch-rivals Celtic.

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John was sworn at and abused before some fans stole his wig and items from the pram he pushes around the streets in his bid to raise £1 million for Macmillan.

Rangers FC’s Club 1872 supporter’s group has since apologised and started a crowd funding page in a belated effort to ‘right a wrong’. So far £1,400 has been raised.

John, of Handsworth, who has raised around £750,000 for the charity since his wife June died of cancer, said he was disappointed with the behaviour of some of the Rangers fans.

“I can’t say it was all of them, it wasn’t, and there was one young fan who actually came over to me to apologise for the behaviour of those involved,” he said.

“But I can say I have never known anything like it in all the years I have been collecting.”

He was targeted outside Wednesday’s stadium on Penistone Road at around 2pm as thousands of Rangers fans made their way to the stadium ahead of their 2-0 win.

“I stand outside Hillsborough and outside Bramall Lane when Sheffield United are at home on every single match day and I won’t let this stop me.

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“It was not good at the time and I learned some swear words I had never heard before - and all because I was wearing green like Celtic do.

I took a lot of abuse but I stood my ground and didn’t let them stop me doing what I was there to do - to raise money for Macmillan - because it is too important to me.

“The Wednesday fans who know me saw all this happen and were upset because 95 per cent of them probably know me. It could have caused some real bother but it wasn’t all the Rangers fans so thankfully nothing else happened.”

Rob Turner, Macmillan Cancer Support, Fundraising Manager in Sheffield, said: “We were shocked to hear about the incident. John is a tireless supporter who has already raised more than £300,000 for Macmillan.

“Fortunately, this is an isolated incident - as John says, it’s never happened before in his years of collecting.

“We’re continuing to offer our support to John and help him with his incredible fundraising.”