South Yorkshire’s music greats today welcomed in the New Year by making another song and dance in support of the Women Of Steel Appeal, writes Graham Walker.
They joined calls to step up fundraising for a £150,000 bronze statue to honour the women who kept Sheffield’s steel mills going while their men went off to fight two world wars.
Heaven 17, ABC’s Martin Fry, Tony Christie, Eliot Kennedy, John Parr, Baby Bird, John Reilly and Graham Fellows’ comedy creation John Shuttleworth were just some of the big names who recently performed for free and helped to raised £62,000 at The Star-backed Women Of Steel Concert.
Today we reflect on the sold-out star-studded Sheffield City Hall show as we begin a series of video highlights from it, featuring a track a day from some of the stars, here on our website.
It’s a chance to relive magic moments and in return we ask for a donation – whatever you can afford.
With other fundraising, which included The Star Walk, the appeal is little over £35,000 away from the target. A donation of just 50p from each of our readers and web users would get us there.
So watch our concert highlights and make a donation at www.justgiving.com/womenofsteel.
It will make the dream come true for the surviving Women Of Steel from World War II – now all in their late 80s and 90s – who want to see the statue in their lifetime in Barkers Pool outside Sheffield City Hall.
Council leader Coun Julie Dore, who described the concert as “amazing”, has given the green light for work to begin on the statue but made a plea especially to Sheffield’s steel companies, other businesses and individuals to bring in the rest of the cash.
Our first show highlight is the first public performance of a new song, called Women Of Steel, by the writers, Grammy Award-winning Eliot Kennedy, St Elmo’s Fire star John Parr and Boy On A Dolphin front man John Reilly. Plans are to release it as a fundraising single.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch Eliot Kennedy, John Parr and John Reilly perform their song Women Of Steel - it brought the concert to a spectacular end. In return we would be thrilled if you would then then make a donation, whatever you want to give, to www.justgiving.com/womenofsteel.
Eliot, who also co-organised the show with The Star’s digital editor Graham Walker and former Sheffield Hallam University communications director John Palmer, performed hits including self-penned classics Picture of You, Say You’ll Be There and When You’re Gone. He said: “We need to make this statue a reality.”
John Reilly said: “When we see that statue in Sheffield we will all feel part of it.”
Other exclusive performances on our website will feature Reverend and the Makers’ own Jon McClure, comedy great John Shuttleworth and a solo performance from guitar man John Parr, who added: “With Sheffield behind the Women Of Steel song this story will go global.”
Shoot That Poison Arrow star, ABC’s Martin Fry, brought along wife Julie and mum-in-law Nora Awoko, who used to work at Firth Brown steelworks, now part of Sheffield Forgemasters. He said: “She is a woman of steel. Let’s get that statue up soon.”
Is This the Way to Amarillo? star Tony Christie said: “I was so proud to be involved. Please donate to this great cause.”
Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware turned down switching on London’s Regent Street lights to be there. Glenn said: “It meant a lot to us to be involved. Our dads worked in the steel industry and it’s important that these women get their statue.”
Baby Bird played the City Hall main hall for the first time and performed classic You’re Gorgeous. Front man Stephen Jones said: “I studied at school how women kept the country running during the war. I like the whole idea that you’ll be able to give the statue a hug. I’ll definitely be back for a picture with it”.
* Heaven 17, Richard Hawley, Lesley Garrett, Paul Carrack, Kate Rusby, The Everly Pregnant Brothers, Martin Simpson, In the Nursery, The Crookes, Fay Hield, Roy Bailey, The Tempertons and Yorkshire Tea Bags Skiffle Band have all donated tracks for a £10.99 download Women Of Steel fundraising album, available from www.womenofsteeltheconcert.co.uk or on iTunes - CLICK HERE.