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Women in Business spread Christmas cheer

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Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber’s Women in Business group is focussing its efforts on raising cash to commemorate the role of the steely women who worked in heavy industry throughout both world wars.

The Women in Business group is inviting the local business community to “Sparkle and Steel” – a festive lunch which will raise money for the Women of Steel campaign.

The event, which will be held on the 13 December at Carlton Park Hotel, Rotherham, will celebrate the achievements of working women across Barnsley and Rotherham in 2013 and also help raise money for a poignant statue that will be placed in the heart of Sheffield city centre.

The statue aims to celebrate the virtually unrecognised work, stamina and bravery of women workers who played a vital role in the steel industry and factories during both the First and Second World Wars.

The bronze statue will be of human scale and will be located in Barkers Pool –the infamous spot where the Blitz struck during World War Two.

It will be carefully made by internationally acclaimed artist Martin Jennings, whose work includes the John Betjeman statue in the St Pancras railway station -which is now widely considered an iconic London landmark.

The surviving Women of Steel, who are in their 80s and 90s, are hoping to see the statue standing tall next year on the anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Kit Sollitt, Kathleen Roberts, Dorothy Slingsby and Ruby Gascoigne are all former workers of Sheffield’s steel factories during the war, and are now the ambassadors of the project.

Some of the Women of Steel will be in attendance at the dinner and will be sharing their courageous experiences from their time in the factories and what the appeal means to them.

Adding the sparkle to the steel is Sue Wright, director at Diamond Dispersions. Sue heads up the specialist ink company, one of Sheffield’s fastest growing manufacturing and export businesses.

A Queen’s Award for Enterprise International Trade winner, Sue is a business mastermind who will be sharing her experiences at the lunch.

Jackie Freeborn, chair of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber Women in Business Group said:

“We are so glad to be able to support such a great project.

“The Women of Steel were brave and inspiring women.

“This statue will ensure Sheffield will remember them for their efforts during the war, for generations to come.

“We’re thrilled that Sue from Diamond Dispersions is able to join us and share her experience of running such a globally successful company.”

The event will be held on December 13, at 11:30am. All proceeds of entry and additional fundraising activities including a raffle, will be going to the appeal.

The event has been sponsored by Billington Structures Ltd.

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