SHE has enjoyed a celebrity status being one of Sheffield’s beloved Women of Steel, so it was only fitting that Ruby Gascoigne was given the star treatment to mark her 90th birthday.
Ruby, who marks the occasion today, had the smile put back on her face following a recent cancer diagnosis when her family threw her a birthday bash.
The 58-strong group of relatives donned specially-made Ruby masks to surprise the heroine - one of hundreds of young women to work in the city’s steel factories during the Second World War - at her son Kevin’s home in Sothall.
Walls were decorated with photos from various stages in Ruby’s life, from her childhood growing up in Darnall to present day.
Using family anecdotes and stories from A Woman of Steel, the Stephen Johnson book that tells Ruby’s life story, Kevin, aged 55 presented a This is Your Life for his mother.
The inspirational OAP’s fascinating life story was re-told in front of relatives.
Ruby worked to produce parts for aircraft, tanks and bombs which were vital to the war effort at the WT Flather’s Standard Steelworks in Tinsley and fought for recognition for the Women of Steel in later life
For the mother of four boys, grandmother to 15, great-grandmother to 14 and great, great-grandmother to three-year-old namesake Ruby, being surrounded by family was the perfect way for the matriarch to celebrate.
Ruby, who will be immortalised as part of a statue for the Women of Steel in her home city, said: “It was absolutely wonderful.
“Everyone had face masks on, I walked into the lounge and it was like a room full of me. I couldn’t make out who was who.”
The party-goers sent Chinese lanterns into the sky at the end of the evening in honour of Ruby, a resident of Blackwell Court, near the city centre, who has been battling cancer for the past three months.
Kevin said: “She said it was one of the most wonderful days of her life. I think she was quite overwhelmed.”