Music giant Eliot Kennedy today sung the praises of 92-year-old Dorothy Slingsby - one of Sheffield’s surviving Women Of Steel, writes Graham Walker.
They met at his Steelworks Studio to chat about a star-studded concert to help fund a £150,000 statue in honour of the women, who manned the steel mills while their men fought in two world wars.
Grammy award-winning Eliot will lead a house band and perform with icons including Heaven 17 and ABC’s Martin Fry at a Women Of Steel Concert, Sheffield City Hall, November 9.
BUY TICKETS: From just £20, may be subject to a booking fee, plus Yorkshire inspired VIP supper before the concert, including welcome drink, pie and peas, premium seats and a ticket to the after show party, where you and your guests will be able to mix with some of the stars of the show. Buy in person from the venue, call the Box Office on 0114 2789789, or visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report - including show preview, interviews with Eliot Kennedy and Dorothy Slingsby.
Dorothy said: “It’s a very good idea - to think that all those people are willing to help us to be recognised.
“The state is very improtant to us. I’m hoping that I’m still going to be around to see it, And if not, at least I now know it’ll get done.”
Eliot, whose songwriting partners include Gary Barlow and Take That, has written some of pop’s biggest hits, including Take That’s Everything Changes, Boyzone’s Picture Of You and Say You’ll Be There, for The Spice Girls.
He’s sold out the City Hall on previous occasions with some of the artiste’s he’s written for performing for charity.
But he says The Women Of Stel Concert will be a stand-out event.
He said: “Of all the things we do for charity, this gig really feels tangible. The Women Of Steel are going to be there in the audience.
“I’ve done gigs like this before, where we’ve brought together lots of my old artiste friends, singing the songs I’ve written for them. This time it’s really beyond that - it’s a celebration of Sheffield, but in particular of a special group of womem that, had they not done what they did, there wouldn’t be a Sheffield, I’m sure.
“There wouldn’t be much of an England the way that we understand it to be now. We owe a great deal to these Women Of Steel and it’s an opportunity for the people of Sheffield to get together and celebrate them, as well as Sheffield as a music city.”
Eliot has worked with some of the biggest names in showbiz but he admits he’s a bit starstruck himself at the chance to be the bass player for Lexicon Of Love star Martin Fry.
“It’s a bit of a dream come true for me that Martin will be performing. I’ve always wanted to be the bass player in ABC and this time I get a chance,’’ he laughed.
“Every musician loves the chance to get up on stage and have a great time doing just what they do - but for such a great cause. You don’t get that opportunity very often.”
Also confirmed to perfom are You’re Gorgeous hitmakers Baby Bird, John Shuttleworth, the comedy creation of Graham Fellows, singer-songwriter John Reilly and Boy on a Dolphin, Philippa Hanna, who recently toured with Lionel Richie, folk star John Tams, songwriter Ray Hearne and Cornerstone Brass, who are regional champions.
There will be appearances by Reverend and the Makers’ frontman Jon McClure, Dean Andrews from hit TV show Life on Mars, radio presenters including Toby Foster, from BBC Radio Sheffield, Steve White from Hallam FM, Dixie from Real Radio and Hirsty from Capital Radio, plus BBC TV Ancient Egypt presenter Joann Fletcher, and many more.
Artist Martin Jennings has been commissioned to make the statue and Sheffield Council has committed £28,000 to the project so far, with more than £33,000 also pledged at www.justgiving.com/womenofsteel.
South Yorkshire Community Foundation will raise money locally.
The Women of Steel Concert aims to raise another £40,000 and celebrate the city’s illustrious history.
The Star, which led a campaign to get the Women of Steel the recognition they deserved, took a group of the women to Downing Street four years ago – where their efforts were publicly acknowledged by the Prime Minister.
Now The Star is a headline sponsor of the concert, with Pyronix and Sheffield Hallam University. Sheffield International Venues, Human Design Studios, HR Media, and Very Creative Ltd Event Sound and Lighting are also supporting.
Other organisations are being encouraged to get involved with a special package that includes a pre-show Yorkshire Supper and an after-show party in the City Hall Ballroom.
Sheffield’s Lord Mayor Coun Vickie Priestley, Council Leader Julie Dore, Master Cutler Neil MacDonald, Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Wright, and MPs Clive Betts, Paul Blomfield, David Blunkett, Meg Munn, Angela Smith and Nick Clegg are all giving it their support. They are making a personal appeal for companies to support the cause by sponsoring the event or buying a hospitality table.
John Palmer, former director of communications at Sheffield Hallam University, who is working with The Star’s Graham Walker and Eliot Kennedy to produce the show, said: “Sheffield’s music and entertainment stars are appearing free, the City Hall is waiving its fee and several businesses are already providing free services to make this event a success.”
* Tickets are £20 and £22, may be subject to a booking fee, are available now.
Make your evening extra special with a Yorkshire inspired VIP supper before the concert, including welcome drink, pie and peas, premium seats and a ticket to the after show party, where you and your guests will be able to mix with some of the stars of the show.
Buy in person from the venue, call the Box Office on 0114 2789789, or visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.
Can’t get there, but want to make a donation? Visit www.justgiving.com/womenofsteel.