Three familiar Sheffield faces are joining ranks to raise funds for the new permanent memorial to the city’s Women of Steel.
Former sports minister Richard Caborn, retired football referee Uriah Rennie, and public art officer Andrew Skelton are all pulling on their running shoes and stepping out for the inspiring women who worked the steel mills during two world wars.
The statue, featuring two of the women standing shoulder to shoulder, will cost £150,000 to create and will be given pride of place outside the City Hall in Barker’s Pool.
“It’s such a great cause and something we all feel strongly about,” said ex-MP Richard, who has done many charity walks and runs and considers himself ‘quite fit for an old man’.
“If it weren’t for these incredible women, we wouldn’t have been able to keep the industries going during the war years.
“They were never recognised and their modesty was such they never even realised they should be recognised. This statue will be here forever as a tribute to them.”
The trio will tackle 13 gruelling miles in the Sheffield Half Marathon on May 12 - two weeks after The Star’s own famous Star Walk makes a comeback especially to raise funds for the new statue.
The walk is just a mile long, so the Women of Steel themselves, now in their late 80s and 90s, can join in.
Andrew Skelton has been working closely with world-renowned artist Martin Jennings who will create the final statue when the money’s in.
“We’re hoping many more people will join us in helping to make a big dent in that £150,000,” said 55-year-old Andrew, who has never attempted a half marathon before and confessed he has been training hard.
“These ladies are in their 90s now and this is the time to honour them.
“They’re not just ‘old dears’, they’re an inspiration to young people, a symbol of what you can achieve when necessary in difficult circumstances.”
Uriah, 53, said: “We want to give these ladies their rightful place in history and, most importantly, show them we care about all they went through for us.
“It doesn’t matter how much you give, whether you take part in The Star Walk or Half Marathon or whether you’re just there cheering everyone on, we want you to get involved, that’s the main thing.”
Richard, who turns 70 this year, said: “We’d also like to see all those factories these ladies worked at back then coming forward to match the money we make through sponsorship. Wouldn’t that be something?”
n Register for The Star Walk, on April 28, by calling 0114 2521299.