'Have fun and celebrate life' plea for Sheffield's Woman of Steel funeral

L to R:- Kathleen Roberts, Kitty Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby.
L to R:- Kathleen Roberts, Kitty Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby.

The son of Woman of Steel campaigner Ruby Gascoigne is urging her home city of Sheffield to come together and fulfill one of her last wishes - to have fun at her funeral.

The 95-year-old was one of the leading forces in the city’s bid to get official recognition for the women who kept the Sheffield steelworks producing munitions that helped win two world wars.

Women Of Steel survivors with their statue in Barker's Pool outside Sheffield City Hall.

Women Of Steel survivors with their statue in Barker's Pool outside Sheffield City Hall.

The great-great grandmother has battled cancer in the last few years and died after a short illness on Sunday, October 1.

Her son Kevin told how one of the last wishes of his 'inspirational mum' was for people to celebrate her life at her funeral.

The 60-year-old said: "She always said the first three letters in funeral are FUN.

"She talked about it before she died and we are honouring that wish by having a celebration of her life, rather than a morbid funeral."

The service will take place at the crematorium at City Road Cemetery on Friday, October 20, at 1.45pm.

Mr Gascoigne said hundreds of people are expected to attend and the service will be broadcast through speakers outside for those unable to get inside the building.

City dignitaries are expected to attend, along with surviving Women of Steel.

After the service, flowers will be laid at the Women of Steel statue in Barker's Pool that Ruby spent years campaigning for.

Those attending are also welcome to visit Farm Road Sports and Social Club after the service where there will be a display of pictures and newspaper cuttings of the campaign.

Ruby was one of the four campaign figureheads - which also included Kathleen Roberts, Kit Sollitt and Dorothy Slingsby - who led a public fundraising appeal for a lasting tribute honouring women's efforts to produce munitions for the war effort while the men were off fighting abroad.

But the women were never publicly acknowledged when the men returned from war, and the Women of Steel with support from the Star launched their campaign several years ago.

The fundraising appeal raised a whopping £170, 000 and the statue was unveiled last summer.

Ruby worked on creating portable harbours that were used in the Normandy landings at Flathers munitions factory in Tinsley.

She had five sons, 11 grandchildren and numerous great and great-great-grandchildren.

Fellow Woman of Steel Dorothy Slingsby died aged 95 on Christmas Eve last year.

Donations can be made in lieu of flowers with proceeds going to Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.