John's on his skates in charity challenge to support hungry children

A St Helens born pensioner's roller-skating challenge for charity is aiming for an even higher fund-raising milestone

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 3:36 pm
John is halfway towards his overall goal of 90 laps.
John is halfway towards his overall goal of 90 laps.

Dr John Wilcock, 89, is currently in the midst of a charity fund-raising project that will see him complete 90 laps of the courtyard in front of his flat whist wearing roller skates before he reaches his 90th birthday next year.

He started the challenge in March with the goal of raising £500 for FareShare but after receiving overwhelming support has now changed the fund-raising goal to £50,000.

Dr Wilcock said: “Our children are our future, so feeding hungry children can’t be bad. No child should have to go to school hungry or go to bed hungry.”

FareShare are a charity that distributes food that would otherwise be thrown away to around 11,000 frontline charities around the country, feeding almost one million people a week.

Raised in the mining communities of Sutton Manor and Clock Face before, during and after WWII, John often knew the feeling of going hungry.

“The pantry was often empty, and we knew what it was like to be hungry,” he said.

Leaving school aged 14, he worked as a milk roundsman delivering to the streets of Dentons Green, Parr and Thatto Heath before being called up for National Service in the Royal Air Force.

After three years of service, John returned to the milk round during the day and studied for GCEs in the evenings.

Through that, he studied at Hull University, going on to earn a doctorate at Birmingham University and from there went on to lead a successful career as a university lecturer.

Today (Thursday, July 8) marks lap number 45 for Dr Wilcock - halfway towards his overall goal of 90 laps.

Dr Wilcock added: “I have also had a note from Father Christmas. He says that if I reach the new target before December 1, he will come and skate lap 90, the last lap, for me.”

Anyone wishing to donate to John can do so at