Women of Steel plaque to be unveiled in city

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A PLAQUE is being unveiled in Sheffield in homage to the Women of Steel and a fundraising campaign will be launched next year to pay for a statue.

Sheffield Council has announced the unveiling of the plaque on the ground next to the mature turkey oak tree, Balm Green, off Barker’s Pool.

The plaque will commemorate the women who served their city and country by working in the steel industry and factories during World War I and World War II.

The ceremony will be at 2.45pm on Saturday, November 5.

The plaque will be unveiled by four of the Women of Steel, a female apprentice from Sheffield’s steel industry, Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley and council leader Julie Dore, representing women in Sheffield’s industry and life in the past, present and future.

Coun Dore said: “The plaque unveiling is just part of our plans to pay our city’s Women of Steel the respect and honour that they deserve. Their valiant efforts were a crucial part of the contribution Sheffield’s industry made to the war effort in both world wars.

“We are keen that both the plaque and the statue are seen not just as a memorial to a remarkable group of women but an inspiration for the future and hope people will join us in the celebrations.”

The plaque unveiling will be followed by a free Tea Dance in the Winter Garden from 3.30pm until 5.30pm.

A council spokeswoman said that in the long term they hoped for a Women of Steel statue by November 2012.

She said: “Following consultation with a group of the Women of Steel, their preference is for a figurative statue, probably made of bronze, in the city centre.

“We have committed £28,000 of council funding so far with a fundraising target for a further £120,000. Sheffield fundraising expert David Heugh is working with the council to help secure the additional funding.”

A fundaising campaign will target businesses, charitable trusts and foundations and the public after the artist’s design is finalised.

An artist will be appointed before Christmas and will work with the women and the public to produce a model by the end of April 2012.