Harry’s steel leaf tribute

Harry Brearley
Harry Brearley
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Many names are etched upon the glinting steel leaves of Rotherham Hospice’s Tree of Life, in memory of loved ones lost.

But it is particularly apt that one recent addition has a place on a tree made from stainless steel.

Nestled on high, next to that of his grandson and great-nephew, is the name of Harry Brearley, the Sheffielder credited with inventing the everlasting metal in 1913. The leaf was bought in his memory by Ann Humberstone, the wife of Harry’s great-nephew Peter, a patient at Rotherham Hospice who died in November 2015 aged 85.

Ann, of Wickersley, had decided to buy a Tree Of Life leaf in memory of Peter and thought that Harry deserved a place up there too.

Ann said: “The family was extremely proud of its famous relative. Peter attended Sheffield celebrations for the centenary of Harry’s invention and donated the first set of stainless steel knives ever to be made, a family gift from Harry himself, to Kelham Island Museum so they could be shared with the city.”

The three-metre high stainless steel Tree Of Life sculpture was created by Yorkshire Man of Steel designer Steve Mehdi. It stands in the hospice gardens and was officially launched in May after three years in the planning. It has already raised over £35,000 thanks to bereaved relatives, whose loved ones received hospice care, purchasing engraved leaves and sections of bark in their memory.

Ann added: “I wanted to give back to the hospice for the care Peter received in the two weeks before he died. The staff became our comfort blanket and helped me to deal with the desperate time leading up to Peter’s passing. I think the inventor of stainless steel would be very proud to have his name on the tree, which exists because of his invention.”