OPINION: We salute our city’s Women Of Steel

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When the sirens sounded to warn Sheffield that Nazi bombers were on their way, most people dashed for air raid shelters - but not the Women Of Steel.

These bravest of the brave, the city’s wartime heroines, had a job to do.

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BREAKING: Medals and statue for our brave Sheffield Women Of Steel

They had replaced their menfolk in the steelworks to keep the munitions factories going, making the bullets and bombs to win the fight for freedom.

But they were never publicly thanked or recognised. Until now.

Today we honour the women, of two world wars, by announcing not only that a statue in their honour will be unveiled in June - but they are also to get a medal.

Their back-breaking courage is finally being honoured thanks to you, our readers, after a Star-driven campaign raised almost £170,000, smashing the statue target and paying for hundreds of medals.

It’s something these women should have had a lifetime ago. Many of them, sadly, have passed away, but at least their families can now celebrate the honour and apply for a medal which will keep their stories alive forever.

The big day itself is Friday, June 17 - make a note in your diaries and turn out in force - for the unveiling of the statue.

That’s the day the surviving women, now in their 90s, and families of those who are no longer with us, will have a long-overdue celebration.

And we are delighted for four surviving Women Of Steel in particular, who have championed the cause of them all, now in wheelchairs or walking with sticks but still going strong - Kathleen Roberts, Kit Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby,

They tell us that the campaign has kept them going. It’s given them a purpose in life, to get the recognition all the women deserved.

Let’s not forget former Star assistant editor Paul License, our own Nancy Fielder, Graham Walker and Simon Waller, who with fundraising champion John Palmer, council leader Julie Dore, Andrew Skelton and the Sheffield Assay Office’s Ashley Carson have all played a major role in the campaign, statue and medal.

Then there is a whole host of celebrity names - including Tony Christie, Heaven 17, ABC’s Martin Fry, Eliot Kennedy, John Parr, John Reilly, John Shuttleworth, Baby Bird, Faye Heald, Martin Simpson and a galaxy of other stars, who took part in huge concerts.

And of course you, our readers, who don’t do things by half. You did everything from coffee mornings and baking to running marathons and even producing special beer, to help us make this happen.

Today we salute you all.