A homegrown heroine has led a final push for funding to create a lasting legacy to Sheffield’s women of steel.
Kathleen Roberts, one of hundreds of ladies who rolled their sleeves up to support the World War Two effort, has pleaded with businesses and residents to dip their hands in their pockets.
So far fundraising efforts including a Star Walk and a special one-off concert at Sheffield City Hall have collected two-thirds of the cost of a £150,000 bronze memorial in Barker’s Pool to pay tribute to the women who kept steel plants operating while men fought on the front line.
This week the council is set to approve the release of funds - but an additional £40,000 is needed to make the design a reality.
Kathleen, aged 90, said: “I know people haven’t got a lot of money at the moment but we just want people to give what they can.
“I worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. I only had Saturdays off and I was 20 years old. I gave up my youth to work in the factories.
“Times were tough in 1941 - as a country we had our backs against the wall.
“We worked flat out for the work effort and we were just young girls. It breaks my heart that we haven’t been recognised and everyone else has been.
“I just want people to please give what they can so we can have a lasting memory of what we did.”
The life-size statue of two women, arm in arm, has been designed by artist Martin Jennings, who worked closely with the Women of Steel to come up the design.
Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “Over the last 12 months we have been overwhelmed by the response to the appeal, both locally and nationally.
“We all owe it to these amazing women to make the statue a reality and I’m calling on everyone to give it one last push.”