Hooray! Frankie tops 1m pennies in support of Help for Heroes

December 01 2017
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HE'S done it! Singer Frankie Johns has smashed his ambitious target to collect one million pennies for the charity Help for Heroes.

HE'S done it! Singer Frankie Johns has smashed his ambitious target to collect one million pennies for the charity Help for Heroes.

To celebrate he visited pupils at St Stephen's Junior School in Soundwell to tell them all about his extraordinary journey.

The 58-year-old came up with the idea back in 2013 and has been busy ever since travelling across the city with his bike and trailer collecting people's spare change.

He also visited schools and put collection buckets in local pubs and clubs, including those where he performs.

Frankie, whose real name is John Billitteri, has even surpassed his target by reaching the grand total of 1,018,784 pennies - or £10,187.84.

The last big boost came from customers at the Lord Raglan pub in St George after a collection bucket was placed on the bar.

Frankie, who was nominated for the regional heats of the Pride of Britain awards for his pennies campaign, brought his bike and trailer to the school hall where a special assembly was held.

Among pupils was none other than Frankie's grandson, eight-year-old Colby, who became centre of attention for the day.

After telling pupils about his campaign and the charity Help for Heroes, Frankie then took questions from pupils who were keen to find out more.

Frankie, who lives in Kingswood, said: "It's absolutely brilliant to reach the target.

"It's been a challenge but a good one. I've loved getting out and meeting people and have met lots of new friends.

"It was great to visit pupils at St Stephen's who really took an interest in the campaign and asked some really interesting questions."

Acting headteacher Alan Walters said: "Help for Heroes is such a good cause that we were happy for John to come in and tell pupils about it.

"It's a huge achievement to collect one million pennies. As a school we do a lot of work on perseverance so it's brilliant to see someone who has persevered and achieved a huge goal."

Frankie said it had been a campaign which captured local people's imaginations.

"The support people have given me has been fantastic so I'd like to say a huge thank you to them. 

"Help for Heroes is a great charity doing a good job to make sure the lives of injured servicemen and women are made as normal as possible. It's only through the generosity of the public that they can do what they do."

Frankie, whose daughter is former X-Factor contestant Marisa, has previously raised more than £70,000 for Help for Heroes which supports British service men and women who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty.