WATCH LIVE: Thousands expected forÂ Sheffield WomenÂ OfÂ SteelÂ statue unveiling
Sheffield's braveÂ WomenÂ OfÂ SteelÂ - who kept the munitions factories going to help win two world wars - will be finally honoured after a lifetime wait with the the unveilingÂ ofÂ a city centre statue on Friday.
WATCH LIVE: The Star will be Facebook Live video streaming the event and on social media using the hashtag #womenofsteel on Friday, June 17, from 11.30am at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstarAn amazing 141 of the ladies themselves, most of them now in their 90s and a few aged over 100, are planning to celebrate the big day.
That's how many have applied for special medals, made by Sheffield's Assay Office, which will also be given out to every one of them and another 350 families of those who have passed away, following a Star backed appeal which raised around £170,000.
Ninety six of the Women Of Steel say they will definitely be there in person on Friday. That's around 1,000-years of courageous women who will be seated in front rows to see the statue unveiled in Barkers Pool, outside Sheffield City Hall, from 11.30am.
Organisers believe it could mean over 2,000 people in Barkers Pool, with families and friends being bused in to see history in the making.
Women Of Steel Kathleen Roberts, Kit Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby, figureheads of The Star driven campaign,. will unveil the statue on behalf of all the ladies at around 12 noon. See full schedule below.
Kathleen, aged 94, said: "We can't believe the day is here. It's been a long time coming,. In fact we've waited a lifetime for this.We flogged ourselves to death during the war. Now they won't forget us."
For those who cannot attend, or to get a better view at the back of the crowds, it will be video streamed live on The Star's Facebook page, with links from our web site to the actual page at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstarThose attending are being urged to get photographs linking arms with the statue and also tweet and Facebook other photographs,videos and comments on the day with the hashtag #womenofsteel - in a bid to get the women and Sheffield trending.
A Star backed public appeal helped to fund the statue - depicting two of the women in boiler suits, linking arm, one from each of the world wars in which they served
It's going up outside the still blitz marked Sheffield City Hall, which was a favourite venue of the ladies, where they had tea dances during WWII,
After smashing an initial fundraising target of £150,000 and adding an extra £20,000, special silver plated copper medals have also been made to hand out to the women and their families, who have applied.
One side has an image of the two women, based on the top half of the statue designed by Martin Jennings. The other side is engraved, simply: “With thanks to our wartime Women of Steel from the people of Sheffield”.
It is envisaged around 500 will be given out on Friday but those who have not yet applied can still do so, in a bid to get one at a future date. There is a criteria to request a medal, with application forms available online at www.sheffield.gov.uk/womenofsteel.A number of commemorative medals will be produced in 925 Sterling Silver with a blank face value of £100 per coin.
STATUE UNVEILING CEREMONY SCHEDULE
There will be music from 11am, including war time songs and hits by local music legends who took part in fundraising concerts, the likes of Heaven 17, ABC's Martin, Tony Christine, Jon McClure, John Parr, Martin Simpson, Fay Hield and John Tams.
Some of the stars will be there in person, with special performances of three songs written to also honour the women.
The ceremony itself will start at 11.30am with a welcome by the Lord Mayor
John Palmer, a key fundraiser with The Star's own Graham Walker, will host the ceremony, with contributions by Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore, interviews with some of gthe Women Of Steel and sculptor Martin Jennings.
Folk star Ray Hearn will sing Hearts Of Steel.
BBC Radio Two folk Award winners Chris While and Julie Matthews will perform Drop Hammer and the event will close with a rousing performance by John Reilly of the song called Women Of Steel which he co-wrote with Eliot Kennedy and John Parr, who all performed it at a local legends City Hall fundraiser. It goes on sale Friday and can be pre-ordered now at itunes.apple.com and www.amazon.co.ukJohn Palmer said: "Everyone is invited to follow the event on their mobile devices through the live streaming by The Star. We are hoping the event will trend on Twitter using #womenofsteel and to flood facebook and Instagram and Snapchat.
"At various times during the ceremony the names of the surviving women who are in attendance will be read out.
"We say we're still raising money for additional projects that will ensure that the names and the achievements of the Women of Steel will never be forgotten."
* See The Star on Friday - June 17 - for a special keepsake pull out, with a roll of honour featuring the names of our Women Of Steel and more coverage of the actual unveiling ceremony on our web sites here and in The Star on Saturday, June 18.
Remember to promote the event on social media using the hashtag #womenofsteel and watch the statue unveiling ceremony live on The Star's Facebook page on Friday, June 17, from 11.30am at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstarREAD MORE:
VIDEO: Medals and statue date for our brave Sheffield Women Of Steel - CLICK HEREVIDEO: Sheffield Women Of Steel return to foundry to see statue cast in bronze - CLICK HERE360 VIDEO: Sheffield Women Of Steel statue is cast at the foundry - CLICK HERE