Penny for this guy - John has just £240 to go ...
Published on: 27 Oct 2017
CHARITY campaigner John Billitteri is on the home straight with his fundraising mission to collect one million pennies to help injured service men and women.
John was given a huge boost from pupils at Courtney Primary School in Kingswood who brought along their pennies when he visited them earlier this month.
Singer John, 58, who goes by the stage name of Frankie Johns, launched his campaign in 2014, pledging to travel around the city on his bike and trailer, encouraging people to donate their spare change.
The money - which equates to £10,000 - will go to Help for Heroes, a charity John has been raising money for since his X-Factor contestant daughter Marissa sang on a number one single in aid of the charity.
During a special assembly at the school in Courtney Road, John told pupils all about his campaign and the motivation behind it.
He also took part in a question and answers session when pupils told him about members of their own families who are in the armed services.
At the end of the assembly, pupils lined up with their pennies - with some even bringing pound coins - and took it in turns to thrown them into John's trailer.
Their change amounted to a whopping £61.63, which means John is edging ever closer to his target.
John, who lives in Kingswood, said: "The pupils were absolutely brilliant. My trailer was really heavy afterwards and I had to push my bike up the hill! I'd like to say a massive thank you to the school for letting me come along and to the pupils for being so generous.
"I'm up to 976,000 pennies, which leaves 24,000 pennies to go, which is £240. I'm nearly there! I'm going to be performing in a few places where collections are being held and I have a collection bucket at the Lord Raglan in St George so I would hope to reach my target by Christmas."
Headteacher Deborah Wood said: "It's amazing how much the children have responded to John's fundraising campaign.
"It's really inspired them and shown that everyone is capable of contributing to the community and making a difference, which is what we are all about at Courtney."
* At the time Downend Voice went to print John was waiting to hear if he will go through to the finals of the annual Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards.
He has been nominated for ITV Fundraiser of the Year and is up against three other
A profile on John and his charity work was featured on ITV West on Thursday October 19.
John has raised more than £70,000 over the years for Help for Heroes, a charity supporting British service men and women who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty.
The Pride of Britain awards will be televised on Tuesday October 31 and hosted by celebrity brainbox Carol Voderman.
The Pride of Britain Awards celebrate the achievements of ordinary people who do extraordinary things to make the world a better place.