A law firm is honouring workers who have died from industrial disease on a giant sculpture marking Yorkshire’s manufacturing heritage.
Sheffield-based Slater and Gordon will pay for their names to be engraved on a 2.5 tonne sculpture which is set to form part of the planned Yorkshire Man of Steel project.
The sculpture, known as the Heart of Steel, will be inscribed with the names of 150,000 donors from around the region and will eventually be placed inside a 30-metre high stainless steel Man of Steel figure – 10 metres taller than the iconic Angel of the North.
The colossal statue, created by Sheffield sculptor Steve Mehdi, is set for a site close to the M1 near Meadowhall.
Slater and Gordon - an international law firm – arrived in Sheffield three years ago after acquiring law firms Russell Jones & Walker and John Pickering and Partners.
The firm has already paid for all 73 employees at its Fountain Precinct office in Sheffield to have a name of their choice included.
It is now appealing for former clients of Russell Jones & Walker and John Pickering and Partners in Sheffield and Rotherham, who have lost a family member to a work-related illness, to get in touch with information so their loved one can be commemorated on the artwork.
Pat Wheeler, a legal secretary at Slater and Gordon, will include the name of her late father, Albert Beecher.
Pat said: “Apart from time in the Army, my father worked all of his life at Steel, Peach and Tozer, later British Steel, and was sent to Germany to learn new advances in steelmaking.
“He died in 1981, aged 61, just two months after retiring, so you could say he gave his life to the steel industry. When I heard about what the firm was doing with the Heart of Steel appeal, it just seemed very appropriate. If anyone deserved to have their name included, it was my father.”
A replica of the Heart of Steel will be unveiled in the Minster Gardens in Rotherham town centre on July 4. The event will include the dedication of time capsules created by local schoolchildren and will feature a speech by the CEO of the British Heart Foundation.
Jane Cooper, head of Slater and Gordon’s Sheffield office and formerly with Russell Jones & Walker, handed over an initial £1,500 to cover the staff donations. She said: “We represented the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, which later became the Community union, as well as many individual members affected by industrial disease or personal injury whom we continue to represent to this day.
“This is a fantastic project that recognises the huge contribution of people working in the steel and other industries, so we are delighted to be able to support it in this way.’’
Sculptor Steve Mehdi said: “I am thrilled that Slater and Gordon have made this generous donation to include all their Sheffield staff. The Heart of Steel connects at a purely emotional level that recognises and honours the memory of loved ones, past and present. Ultimately, the Yorkshire Man of Steel is about people and Slater and Gordon is a firm that puts people first. I am proud, therefore, that they will become an important part of the Team of Steel, helping to deliver a future icon for the region.’’
Anyone wishing to include a name should contact Principal Lawyer David Cass at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Yorkshire Man of Steel and Heart of Steel projects, visit www.yorkshiremanofsteel.com.