In for a penny, in for 750,000 - hero Frankie pedals on towards his target

Published on: 01 Aug 2016


YOUNGSTERS from St Stephen’s Infant School have donated their pocket money to help singer Frankie Johns reach a landmark in his campaign to collect one million pennies for charity.

Frankie has been travelling around the city with his bicycle and trailer in support of the charity Help for Heroes.

He has now reached 750,000 pennies, which totals an impressive £7,500 for the charity that supports wounded military personnel.

Frankie, 57, whose real name is John Billitteri, visited the school near his home in Kingswood to talk to reception and Year 1 pupils about the charity and how he has been raising money.

The youngsters brought their loose change along to the special assembly where they placed their pennies in his trailer.

Headteacher Tim Ruck said he was delighted the school could help the charity.

“It’s a pleasure to support such a good cause,” he said.

“A lot of pupils brought their pocket money in.

“Pupils learn about Remembrance Day so it was a good chance to revisit what we have learnt previously. It’s also a great way to show how we can help people in the community.

“We wish John good luck and hope he reaches his final target of one million pennies.”

Frankie has boosted the coffers by placing collection buckets at venues where he performs including a recent successful night at the Portcullis pub in Staple Hill where landlord and landlady Kevin and Jackie Barber have been particularly supportive to Frankie’s cause. 

John has always raised money for various charities through his Frankie Johns stage act but it wasn’t until his daughter Marisa, an X Factor contestant, sang on a number one charity single for Help for Heroes, he decided to make that particular charity his main focus.

He started the one million pennies campaign in June 2013 after already raising £60,000 for Help for Heroes.

John, a father of two and grandfather of three, said: “It’s brilliant to reach 750,000 pennies but now I’m pressing on to reach that million.

“It’s worked out how I’d planned it, which was to collect a quarter of a million pennies every year so hopefully I should get to the target this time next year, which would be fantastic.

 “I can’t thank the public, including the pupils at St Stephen’s, enough. They’ve just been so kind and generous. Everyone asks how it’s going which shows people are really interested in what I’m doing.

“The money will help our military personnel who have been injured or mentally affected by war and conflict to rebuild their lives and get back to normality. They put their lives on the line for our country. They are true heroes.”

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

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