Women of Steel will get lasting memorial

Women of Steel visit to London. The ladies at Downing Street in the White Room where they meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown''PICTURE: SARAH WASHBOURN
Women of Steel visit to London. The ladies at Downing Street in the White Room where they meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown''PICTURE: SARAH WASHBOURN
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Council finds cash to start fund for new monument

COUNCIL bosses have allocated funding towards a permanent memorial for Sheffield’s Women of Steel, after a successful campaign by The Star.

Despite funding squeezes, councillors say they have found £28,000 from efficiency savings to pay for a monument in Barker’s Pool.

They are now asking businesses to donate funds to make up the estimated £150,000 total cost of the memorial.

The announcement follows a long Star campaign to win recognition for the hundreds of women who braved Nazi bombing raids to keep the city’s steelworks going during World War Two.

As part of the campaign, last year the women received thanks from former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a visit to Downing Street, as the Government finally officially recognised their contribution to the war effort.

Kathleen Roberts, Kit Sollitt, Dorothy Slingsby and Ruby Gascoigne, each aged between 87 and 90, were received at Number 10 after working with The Star to give the campaign momentum. The whole campaign was triggered after Kathleen contacted The Star and it met a fantastic response, with hundreds of women calling in to tell of their wartime experiences.

Now Sheffield Council has decided there will be a permanent, lasting monument to their heroic work.

Paul Scriven, Liberal Democrat leader of the council, said: “I’m delighted that through making efficiency savings in-year, we’ve been able to locate these funds for this vital project. We’re confident that the commitment we’ve made will encourage donors to come forward.”

Originally four ideas were proposed for the monument, including an abstract, contemporary sculpture at the top of Howard Street, commemorative plaques as part of the seating on Howard Street, and a garden of remembrance.

But after consultation with the former foundry workers, it was decided a memorial in Barker’s Pool would be the best way of marking the women’s efforts.

Designs have yet to be finalised, but the council has launched a fundraising drive to get the cash together, and hope their initial pot of £28,000 will soon swell to the total amount.

Coun Scriven said: “These women made great sacrifices for the war effort and it’s important that, as a city, we recognise their contribution.”