VIDEO: Sheffield Women Of Steel statue craned into position under wraps
The statue honouring Sheffield's brave Women Of Steel, who manned the munitions factories to help win two world wars, has arrived in the city - under wraps.
It has been craned into position, under the watchful eye of sculptor Martin Jennings, in Barker's Pool, outside Sheffield City Hall.
The larger then life statue, which stands about 6ft 3ins and weighs a third of a ton, depicts two women in steel factory boiler suits linking arms and will be unveiled at a ceremony on Friday morning, June 17, starting at 11.30am.
Writing their names into the history books were Josh Hope, 24, Nathan Jaggard and Stephen Maul, both 43, who brought the statue from the foundry in Gloucestershire.and installed it late at night during a downpour.
It was put in place with steel rods in the feet which were set into resin and rest on a marble slate. The statue was briefly unwrapped for sculptor Martin to take a final look to make sure he was happy with the finished result.
His art work was quickly wrapped again and will remain boxed in behind heavy duty fencing before the big reveal on Friday morning.
Martin gave it the thumbs up and said he was delighted with the finished result. He said: "It's fantastic. It's a huge relief.
"Four years ago I had this image of the ladies, when they were young, walking across the square in 1945 and suddenly, as the feet of the statue met the ground, that image I had right at the beginning has come back again and it's just really pleasing.
"But my God, we nearly drowned . The rain has been coming down and it's dark, but the Women Of Steel are in place.,"
MORE VIDEO: Sheffield Women Of Steel watch as statue is cast - CLICK HERE
More thaan 2,000 people are expecting to attend including almost 100 of the surviving so-called Women Of Steel thermselves - a total of 141 have applied for special commemorative medals, which will also be given out on the day,
A further 350 families will also get medals, to honour women who worked the steel mills but have passed away. Those who have yet to apply can still do so, but will now get their medal at a later date. Apply online at www.sheffield.gov.uk/womenofsteel.
The surviving women have waited a lifetime to be publicly thanked for their effort in two world wars.
Women Of Steel Kathleen Roberts, Kit Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby, figureheads of the appeal which raised around Â£170,000,.will unveil the statue on behalf of all the ladies at around 12 noon.
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."
The ceremony will start at 11.30am, hosted by key fundraiser John Palmer and include interviews with some of the women, sculptor Martin Jennings, council leader Julie Dore, a welcome by the Lord Mayor and celebrities who helped to fund the statue and medals with rock, folk and classical concerts, including performances of three songs.
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 performance by John Reilly of a 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.uk
WATCH LIVE: The Star newspaper, which drove the fundraising campaign, 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/sheffieldstar