Women of Steel meet the Queen and go backstage at the Palladium

Have your say

Our Women of Steel are all set to have their stories told in some of the country’s best-known venues - including Buckingham Palace.

Two of the pensioners who led The Star’s campaign for official recognition for Sheffield’s wartime women steelworkers are heading to the capital tomorrow morning.

They have been invited to a garden party with the Queen and other members of the Royal family.

Ruby Gascoigne and Kathleen Roberts will be making the special trip - but stress they are representing every woman who helped the war effort in the foundries.

Thousands of women made planes, boats and bullets in Sheffield’s steelworks when the men were sent to fight on the front line.

The Star’s campaign for recognition last year saw the survivors thanked for the first time with a letter from the Ministry of Defence.

Four women shared tea with Gordon Brown in Downing Street, and now two have been invited to the Palace.

Ruby’s son Kevin has supported the campaign from the beginning and contacted the Palace asking for the women to be given the Royal seal of approval.

Straight after the garden party they will head across the capital to see the Wizard of Oz at the Palladium, and meet Michael Crawford backstage, thanks to Bill Kenwright who pulled a few strings from them.

They are staying at The Union Jack Club, a military service hotel, and have been invited to share their memories at the Imperial War Museum.

Kathleen, aged 89, said she was proud to represent the Women of Steel and hopes Sheffield Council will honour its pledge to create a permanent memorial to the group in the city centre.

“I still find all quite unbelievable,” she said. “It is so amazing and I just hope, when people read about it, the ladies who were in the steelworks realise that it is not just about Ruby and me - this if for them.

“We are not doing this for our pleasure but for all the ladies who worked in the steelworks and it is an honour for them.

“I am worried the council won’t do anything about the statue, but we all still really hope they will.”