Stars line up for glittering Women Of Steel concert

Announcing the 2011 season at the Open Air Theatre, which will include Martin Fry with ABC.    picture submitted  19/04/11
Announcing the 2011 season at the Open Air Theatre, which will include Martin Fry with ABC. picture submitted 19/04/11

Tony Christie, ABC’s Martin Fry and Heaven 17 will this Saturday headline a star-studded concert in a bid to honour the region’s Women Of Steel.

They were the women who kept the steel mills going while their men went off to fight for freedom in two world wars.

Now there is a £150,000 appeal to build and erect a statue, as an ever lasting tribute to them, outside Sheffield City Hall.

And on Saturday night some of the area’s biggest names will perform inside the venue for free in a bid to double the almost £40,000 raised so far, from donations and community fund raising.

In the audience will be some of the surviving Women Of Steel themselves, now in their 80s and 90s, who are hoping to see the statue erected in their life time.

Kathleen Roberts, aged 91, is one of them. She said: “We were girls at the time and had our youth taken away from us. It was all work. To repay them with something like this would be wonderful.”

Grammy award winning Eliot Kennedy, who will lead the house band, said: “I’m very proud to be from Sheffield. It’s a great music city and everyone we asked wanted to support the concert.”

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

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 DJs and presenters from local radio stations, including Real Radio’s Dixie and Gayle, Capital’s Hirsty, BBC Radio Sheffield’s Toby Foster and Hallam FM’s Steve White.

The Purple Cats Choir, Cornerstone Brass, Classic Calypso and The Yorkshire Tea Bags skiffle group will also add extra variety to the evening. Line-up subject to change.

Richard Hawley, Lesley Garrett, Paul Carrack and Kate Rusby, who cannot be there, are among local stars also backing the appeal by donating songs for a fund-raising Women Of Steel album, available on the offciial web site at www.womenofsteeltheconcert.co.uk

* Tickets are £20 and £22, subject to a booking fee. Buy in person, call the Box Office on 0114 2789789 or visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

If you can’t get to the concert you can still support the appeal with a donation to Just Giving Women of Steel at www.justgiving.com/womenofsteel.