Sheffield ‘hearts of gold’ for Women of Steel

Heaven 17
Heaven 17

Sheffield’s Women Of Steel today praised companies for their hearts of gold - in supporting a star-studded charity concert to help fund a £150,000 statue in their honour, writes Graham Walker.

The show, at Sheffield City Hall on Saturday, features a galaxy of South Yorkshire stars appearing for free, including Tony Christie, Heaven 17, ABC’s Martin Fry, John Parr, John Shuttleworth, Baby Bird and Eliot Kennedy.

Sheffield's Women of Steel with the Women of Steel Statue. Left to right. Kathleen Roberts,Kitty Sollitt,Ruby Gascoigne,Dorothy Slingsby

Sheffield's Women of Steel with the Women of Steel Statue. Left to right. Kathleen Roberts,Kitty Sollitt,Ruby Gascoigne,Dorothy Slingsby

Thousands of pounds of materials, services and time have been donated free to provide virtually everything needed for the show – which means that more of the money raised by the ticket sales will go straight to the appeal.

Kathleen Roberts, one of the women who worked the steel mills during WWII, said: “The support has been great. Sheffield folk have hearts of gold.”

Headline sponsors are The Star, Sheffield Hallam University, Pyronix and The High Sheriff of South Yorkshire.

Sheffield City Hall, the venue, has been donated without a fee and all of the city’s radio stations Hallam FM, Real Radio, Capital and BBC Radio Sheffield, have presenters introducing artistes on the night.

The show itself will have fantastic sound and lights from Leeds-based 3D Productions, who have worked with Tony Christie and Kate Rusby, while helping to manage the technicalities are Very Creative.

The official website - at www.womenofsteeltheconcert.co.uk - has been designed and maintained by Human Studios and the original artwork was provided by The Star’s Simon Waller.

Among other companies showing their true mettle are East Midlands Trains, who made special arrangements to get Heaven 17 from Sheffield to London and back in double quick time to fulfil another booking.

The band was among the first passengers to benefit from the company’s newly introduced faster service.

The Holiday Inn Victoria is hosting many of the stars coming to the city for the show, with free bed and breakfast, and Mercury Taxis are on hand to transport them.

Even Henderson’s and Yorkshire Tea Bags have provided relish and sustenance for the supper for the bands, crew and hospitality guests.

All the artistes, and Eliot Kennedy’s Steelworks Studios who are producing the show, are all doing it for free too.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response,” said John Palmer, who is co-organiser of the concert with The Star’s Graham Walker. “We’re also surprised to hear that so many of those helping us have grannies or great aunties who were Women of Steel.

“People often talk about the spirit of Sheffield, and the response to this event shows that it is very much alive.”

Also taking part are X Factor’s Janet Devlin, Paul Pashley, Philippa Hanna, Nat Johnson, Ray Hearne and many more.

The Purple Cats Choir, Cornerstone Brass, Classic Calypso, The Yorkshire Tea Bags skiffle group and soul/funk band The Tempertons will add extra variety to the evening. There will be special guest appearances by Reverend and the Makers’ front man Jon McClure, Dean Andrews, from hit TV show Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, BBC Ancient Egypt presenter Joann Fletcher and, in her first major public appearance since leaving BBC Look North, Christa Ackroyd will be on stage. Line-up subject to change.

Richard Hawley, Lesley Garrett, Paul Carrack and Kate Rusby, who cannot be there, are among stars who have also donated songs for a fund-raising Women Of Steel album. The Everly Pregnant Brothers and The Yorkshire Tea Bags have even written special tribute songs.

It is available for £10.99 from the Women of Steel Concert website www.womenofsteeltheconcert.co.uk or through iTuness.

A Women Of Steel song has been written and produced for separate release by Eliot Kennedy, John Parr and John Reilly. It will gets its world premiere with a live performance on Saturday night.

Proceeds from the show, album and forthcoming song, will go to the Women of Steel Appeal for a statue in Barker’s Pool, honouring the Sheffield women who kept the steelworks running while their men went off to fight in both World Wars.

* Tickets for the show are £20 and £22, subject to a booking fee. For an extra £10, show ticket holders can get a pass to the special after show party, to mix with some of the stars and featuring entertainment from Paul Pashley and soul/funk band The Tempertons.

Buy in person, call the Box Office on 0114 2789789 or visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.

More at Women of Steel the Concert and on twitter at @WomenSteelShow. Support the appeal with a donation to Just Giving Women of Steel at www.justgiving.com/womenofsteel.

VIDEO: Watch Eliot Kennedy and two of the Women Of Steel talking about the concert on BBC Breakfast TV - CLICK HERE.