Frankie well on his way to pennies target

Published on: 02 Jan 2015

frankie johns

IT seemed like an ambitious plan to collect a million pennies for charity, but singer Frankie Johns looks set to have already smashed his half-way target.

Frankie, whose real name is John Billitteri, has always raised money for different charities over the years.

But when daughter Marisa, an X Factor contestant, sang on a number one charity single for Help for Heroes, John decided to make that particular charity his main focus.

He had already collected more than £60,000 for the charity but last June John launched a new campaign. He pledged to collect one million pennies - or £10,000 - by cycling around the city with a trailer highlighting the cause.

John, 56, also planted collection tins in various pubs and clubs in and around Kingswood, where he lives with wife Julie.

At the time Downend Voice went to print, John, who switched on Staple Hill’s Christmas lights this year, said he believed he would reach his half way target by the end of 2014.

He said: “When I last counted it was 470,000 pennies and now I’m only 30,000 pennies away from reaching that half a million.

“I’ve got collection buckets located in pubs and clubs everywhere and they are always asking me to come and pick them up as they are full.

“I can’t predict for sure but I’m hoping I will reach my half-way target by the end of the year. It would be such an amazing achievement.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d have got that far in such a short amount of time.”

John who has another daughter, Charmaine, and two grandsons Colby, five, and Kemper, two, said he has plans for a busy 2015 to ensure he keeps chipping away at his million penny target.

“I’m taking part in a bike ride from Bristol to Weston and Armed Forces Day in Page Park, Staple Hill, where I’ll also be performing at the bandstand. I’ll also be carrying on with my bike to make sure I reach that million.

“The amount of support I’ve been getting from people has been amazing. Without them I couldn’t have done it. It doesn’t go unrecognised from Help for Heroes - they know how generous the people of Bristol are.”

If you would like to donate your spare pennies to help John reach his target, please call him on 0777 5870129.

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