It has been a year since Sheffield City Council launched the ‘Women of Steel’ fundraising appeal, calling on people to come forward to help raise £150,000 for a permanent memorial to Sheffield’s inspiring women.

Already just over two thirds of the funding target has been raised. The Council is renewing its plea for Sheffield residents and businesses to get involved to help raise the last £40,000 needed to produce a figurative statue made of bronze which will be in Barkers Pool.

Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council Said:

“Over the last 12 months we have been overwhelmed by the response of people to the appeal, both locally and nationally. We have seen people from across the city and beyond doing their bit to help make the statue a reality. The Sheffield Star brought back their famous Star Walk, John Palmer and his team put on a charity concert at the City Hall, people have been doing all sorts of sponsored activities in aid of the appeal, Mike Lawton and others putting on fundraising events in local communities, individual donations have been flooding in via Just Giving, the list is endless. I want to thank each and every individual from the bottom of my heart for supporting the Women of Steel.”

This week (19 February) the Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the release of funds so that acclaimed artist Martin Jennings can start work on the full size model for the statue, but the additional £40,000 is needed before the statue can actually be produced.

Councillor Dore continued:

“We all owe it to these amazing women to make the statue a reality and that is why I’m calling on everyone out there to give it one last push, help us raise the remaining £40,000. It doesn’t matter what you do, we just want you to get behind these wonderful women.

As we begin to mark the centenary of the First World War it is important to remember that Sheffield women rallied to help the country during both World Wars contributing significantly to the war effort and helping to change the workplace and the world we live in today.”

The life sized statue, of two women arm in arm, is by artist Martin Jennings who worked closely with the Women of Steel to come up with the design. Martin, who is a world recognised artist, most famous for his Bentjeman statue in St Pancras station, wanted the statue to capture the camaraderie, and pride of these remarkable women.

Woman of Steel Ruby Gascoigne said:

“I’m thrilled Martin was commissioned to work on this project. We are very pleased with his work, it’s a beautiful statue. It’s just lovely and I am chuffed to bits.”

Woman of Steel Kathleen Roberts said:

“I know people haven’t got a lot of money at the moment but we just want people to give what they can.

I worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. I only had Saturdays off and I was 20 years old. I gave up my youth to work in the factories.

Times were tough in 1941, as a country we had our backs against the wall. We worked flat out for the work effort and we were just young girls. It breaks my heart that we haven’t been recognised and everyone else has been, I just want people to please give what they can so we can have a lasting memory of what we did.”

For more information about the project go to Women of Steel.

If you would like to donate to the Women of Steel Appeal go to Just Giving.