Call for more of Sheffield’s Women of Steel to come forward as statue design is revealed

Women of Steel Dorothy Slingsby, Ruby Gascoigne, Kathleen Roberts and Kit Sollitt (front) outside the Sheffield City Hall where the Women of Steel statue will be placed
Women of Steel Dorothy Slingsby, Ruby Gascoigne, Kathleen Roberts and Kit Sollitt (front) outside the Sheffield City Hall where the Women of Steel statue will be placed
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Sheffield’s Women of Steel hope to see their number boosted by new faces when a statue honouring them is unveiled in June.

Some of the brave women who helped Britain win two world wars through their work in munitions factories have issued a plea for more of their former colleagues to come forward and get the recognition they deserve.

They were speaking after the design of a new statue, to be placed outside Sheffield City Hall, was revealed. And, thanks to a funding surplus, all Women of Steel will be presented with a medal at the statue’s unveiling on June 17.

Both the statue, designed by Martin Jennings, and the medals, were funded by a Star-backed campaign that raised more than £150,000.

Woman of Steel Kathleen Roberts, speaking on the site of the new statue yesterday, said: “It’s very important for people to come forward.

“I started this and I did it for all the women that worked during the war. We worked our butts off, we really did. And we would have worked longer if they had asked us. It would be great if more people came forward to join us.”

Those behind the campaign believe about 500 medals will be given out, and the search to find all the women who worked in Sheffield’s steelworks during both world wars is now on.

Fundraising champion John Palmer played a key part in the campaign, alongside The Star’s Paul License, Nancy Fielder and Graham Walker.

John said the campaign had entered the ‘home leg’.

“It’s fantastic to be here with the four women who have been at the forefront of the campaign,” he added.

“Kathleen told me it’s what keeps them going. That brings a lump to your throat.

“It’s not just for them but for the people of the city who have taken these women to their hearts. It’s really brought the community together.”

The city council’s deputy leader Leigh Bramall said: “The whole point of the statue is to recognise the fantastic contribution that so many women made.

“We also want to give something personal to each family, but we need to know where they are. We want people to come forward and contact us.”

n The women, or their families, can apply now, either online at www.sheffield.gov.uk/womenofsteel or by picking up a form from The Star’s reception.