STAR OPINION: Remember the men who gave so much

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Sir Stuart Goodwin used much of his steel fortune to benefit the people of Sheffield.

His fame was assured in the city for many years by the landmark Goodwin Fountain that once stood at the top of Fargate.

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Has Sheffield forgotten its past heroes?

Gerald Haythornthwaite battled to preserve the beautiful countryside in and around the city and was a driving force behind setting up the Peak District National Park.

So you’d think, then, that their graves in Crookes Cemetery would be in sparkling condition, as befits two community leaders who contributed so much.

Sadly, the opposite is true, as we report on Pages 1 and 3 of The Star today.

Sheffielder David France spoke out after he was shocked to discover the state of their graves while strolling through the cemetery.

He told The Star: “I am aghast that the city has not done anything other than allow these graves to slip into ruin.”

Sir Stuart was a generous benefactor to the city of Sheffield for many years, contributing hundreds of thousands to many good causes.

His improvement schemes benefited the health service, the University of Sheffield and many individuals in need of a helping hand.

His legacy would amount to millions if he was giving the money today.

Gerald Haythornthwaite’s work lives on in the national park and in the legacy he left to ensure that a group could continue his efforts to protect it.

Sheffield City Council has quite rightly pointed out that these are family-owned memorials and therefore the responsibility for their maintenance would lie with their families.

Also, the council’s resources have been seriously stretched by central government cuts that threaten hundreds of jobs and put vital services under ever more strain.

Clearly, many people, not least those who are losing their livelihoods, would be outraged if the council was spending money on something that is not its responsibility.

However, we think that Mr France has a point and agree that something should be done to ensure that two men who fought so hard to benefit the area should receive their due in terms of how they are remembered.

So perhaps someone could identify a pot of money somewhere. 
Perhaps it could come from the Sheffield industrialists of today.

Or perhaps a group of volunteers could step forward to find a solution, in conjunction with any surviving members of the men’s families.

That would be a fitting tribute to the work of both.