It was a double celebration for two of Sheffield’s Women of Steel who celebrated their 90th birthday with a surprise party.
Twins Doreen Wright and Barbara Lingard thought they were going to their weekly lunch club at St Bartholomews Church Centre in Langsett.
But the sisters were surprised to be greeted by their children – and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield – when their Friday Folk lunch turned into a birthday celebration.
“It’s such a shock. We had no idea. We don’t know how they managed to get everyone here without us realising,” said Barbara, of Oughtibridge.
Doreen and Barbara are both Women of Steel who swapped their office jobs for life in the factories during the Second World War.
Barbara was sent to Leeds to make small parts for diesel engines while Doreen went to work making parts for jet engines in the Rolls Royce factory in Barnoldswick, on the border of Yorkshire and Lancashire.
When their father died in 1944, the sisters moved back to Sheffield to be with their mother and younger sister Margaret and continued their work in the factories.
Doreen worked in inspection at the Metropolitan Vickers factory in Attercliffe and Barbara made hacksaw blades at James Neill Tools in Ecclesall.
Barbara, who has two children with husband Fred, said: “They gave me an option to work in an office or go into the works, but Doreen didn’t get that choice.
“I chose the works. I’d been in an office so it was a change.
“I really enjoyed it. We met all kinds of different people.”
Great-grandmother Doreen, of Hillsborough, added: “It was surprising how people were in the factories. It was something different to do.”
The sisters were presented with bouquets of flowers by Sheffield Mayor Coun Peter Rippon who thanked them for their efforts during the war.
Their sister Margaret Binney, who is co-ordinator of Friday Folk, said: “We kept the celebration a surprise. They had no idea.
“I was 11 years old when they came back home. I was really proud of them. We are a very close family.”
Barbara and Doreen are continuing continue their birthday celebrations with several days out with their extended family.
Fundraising is almost complete for a Women of Steel statue in Sheffield as a permanent tribute to the ladies who worked in the factories during World War Two.
The statue will be placed in Barker’s Pool, near the City Hall.