Statue appeal strides on

Launch of Star Walk at Hillsborough Sports Arena with Sheffield's Women of Steel with the Women of Steel Statue LtoR. Kathleen Roberts,Kitty Sollitt,Ruby Gascoigne,Dorothy Slingsby
Launch of Star Walk at Hillsborough Sports Arena with Sheffield's Women of Steel with the Women of Steel Statue LtoR. Kathleen Roberts,Kitty Sollitt,Ruby Gascoigne,Dorothy Slingsby
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There are just three days left before The Star Walk – the biggest fundraiser so far for the Women of Steel Statue in Sheffield.

It is believed to be the first time in 150 years that people in Sheffield have been asked to put their hand in their pockets for a statue.

Andrew Skelton, Sheffield Council public arts officer, said: “The memorial to the Women of Steel is unique in recent times as it will be raised through public subscription.

“We have kickstarted the process with an initial £28,000, but now it is over to the people of the city to help us raise the rest of the money – we owe a huge debt to these fantastic women.

“In Victorian times, public subscription was more common, but today the use of social media, the Just Giving website and various popular fundraising events make this a much more far-reaching and fun appeal.”

The Women of Steel Statue, designed by Martin Jennings, will stand in Barker’s Pool in the city centre and recognises the role of women in the steel works during both world wars.

Mr Skelton said: “I hope this will become a landmark, a place people want to visit to understand the story of the city, but also just a great work of art people will want to be photographed next to.”

Sheffield residents were called upon to give money for public work of arts following the Cholera epidemic and after the Crimean War.

The Cholera Monument still stands in its own grounds near Norfolk Park, while the Crimean War Monument, erected in 1863, is not currently on public display.

Council leader Coun Julie Dore is one of many councillors taking part in Sunday’s Star Walk and is urging everyone to get involved.

She said: “I think the statue captures the spirit of the Women of Steel their history and legacy beautifully. All the Women of Steel love it.

“We know the ladies as woman in their late 80s and 90s, but, of course, they were young girls when they began working as Women of Steel.

“The statue conveys their youth and also the ill-fitting men’s boiler suits they were made to wear when working in the factories.

“I love the way they are striding forward confidently arm in arm – to me this is a symbol of the city, not just of our past, but for the future.

“As far as I know, this will be the only significant memorial to working women in the UK and this makes it important, not just for our city’s history, but as part of the wider social change we have seen over the last century.

“We all know times are hard at present and we’re only asking people to give as little or as much as they can afford.

“If everyone gave the price of a stamp, we could easily raise the amount we need.”

n The Star Walk is a one-mile lap of Hillsborough Park so everyone, no matter what their age, can take part. To register, call 0114 2521299 .