Green space, history and hidden corners – Michelle Rawlins on her favourite aspects of Sheffield

Michelle Rawlins first moved to Sheffield in1995 to complete her journalism exams at what was then Stradbroke College, where she also met her husband, Iain, and apart from a nine-month spell in Birmingham, she’s never left.

By Sally Burton
Thursday, 18 April, 2019, 11:08
Michelle Rawlins, pictured by the Women of Steel statue. Picture: NSST-03-04-19-Rawlins-1

She’s not sure how long it takes to be classed as a true Yorkshire lass, but hopes she’s getting close as there is nowhere else she classes as home.

Michelle has worked as freelance journalist for more than 20 years, writing for the national newspapers and women’s magazines, specialising in real life stories.

Michelle Rawlins, pictured outside the Crucible. Picture: NSST-03-04-19-Rawlins-3

Last year she ghost wrote ‘A Friend for Christmas’, documenting the extraordinary life of Sheffield’s Mrs Christmas, Gloria Stewart.

She is currently writing a non-fiction book, ‘Women of Steel’ based on the formidable women, who kept the foundry fires burning during World War Two, when their men fold were fighting for ‘King and Country’. Anecdotes from the book can be found on her Facebook page - Michelle Rawlins Author.

In her free time she runs her own kids day out Facebook page, Where Can I Take The Kids Today, to her two children’s delight, who love nothing more than going on a new adventure.

Kelham Island

She love this little hidden corner of Sheffield for so many reasons.

Not only does her son, Archie, rock up here every Saturday morning to attend the Discovery STEM club, it’s also home to the most fascinating of museums.

She says we should never forget our city’s magnificent history and the interactive galleries are perfect for discovering how Sheffield’s steel industry started, progressed and survives today, let alone highlighting the incredible work our Yorkshire women did throughout both wars to ensure our soldiers had the munitions they needed.

A visit to Kelham Island is never complete until you’ve had a coffee and bite to eat at Craft and Dough - who incidentally make the best Nutella doughballs!

Women of Steel Statue

This holds a very special pace in Michelle’s heart as it is the focus of the book she’s currently writing. These women waited 70 years for their invaluable contribution to be recognised and she hopes this permanent statue, along with the campaign spearheaded by The Star, will ensure they will not be remembered for generations to come.

The Trans Pennine Trail

Michelle lives in Millhouse Green on the northern outskirts of Sheffield due to the abundance of green space on offer. As much as she loves the city, she’s always felt the need to be surrounded by countryside.

The trail, which is kept in immaculate condition by a team of dedicated volunteers, is full of hand-carved wooden animals, a wild flower meadow, and picture perfect view. It is a part of her everyday life. She runs on it, her son cycles on it and her little girl, Tilly, spends countless hours collecting sticks and leaves there. She feels lucky to have this fabulous pathway on her doorstep.

The Theatres.

Michelle has always felt the North doesn’t get enough credit in the arts world. The Crucible, Lyceum and the City Hall, have always been favourite haunts.

She attended countless musicals with her late mother-in-law, Coleen, who would ring her to book shows as soon as the programme dropped through her letter box.

Now, as well as watching the plethora of grown up and more serious shows on offer, her children are mini-theatre critics in the making.

Archie still raves about ‘59 Minutes To Save Christmas’ that he watched at the Crucible when he was six, while Tilly, 3, was in her element as she most recently watched The Singing Mermaid.

Fox Valley

Although Michelle used to love a day in Meadowhall, browsing the shops - that’s long since become a distant memory - the novelty wore off at break neck speed when her son constantly complained he was bored and her daughter would run hell for leather into a toy shop, grabbing every doll within reach.

But Fox Valley is winning back Michelle’s inner love of retail therapy.

Sandersons - the bespoke boutique store, stocks Michelle’s favourite designers and cosmetics, and the adjacent coffee bar, Zorro, has a kids corner where her daughter can play while she relaxes with a much-needed coffee.