Thousands of people are set to join fellow fundraisers and become part of history, by engraving their names on to a 2.4 metre-high steel heart which has been unveiled at Meadowhall in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
Created by artist Steve Mehdi, the Heart of Steel is part of the wider Steel Man project – a much-anticipated future landmark which will overlook Sheffield and act as a gateway to the region. The 1138kg super alloy heart has been built with the generous support of a group of Yorkshire businesses and will eventually hold 150,000 names, before being included inside the 32 metre, eagerly awaited Steel Man.
As a leading supporter of the Yorkshire community, Meadowhall has placed the Heart of Steel in prime position at the centre of the mall outside H. Samuel – overlooked by a replica statue of The Steel Man. From here, customers can marvel at the carefully-crafted sculpture and recognise a special person in their life by permanently etching their name onto the heart. In doing so, they will also join the thousands of people who have already donated to the project and will now be able to see their touching tributes on the finished sculpture at the centre.
Donations will help the British Heart Foundation fund life-saving research into heart and circulatory diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and vascular dementia, which currently kills one in four people in the UK.
Steve Mehdi, a former steelworker turned sculptor, is the man behind the project. He said: “The Heart of Steel possesses an emotional strand that reaches across many generations. I have been deeply touched by the people who have donated so far and the stories they have shared. My thanks must go to the companies that have supported the project, the BHF for their tremendous vision, and the tireless effort of countless people who have made the Heart of Steel what it is. I would also like to add a special thanks to Darren Pearce and his Meadowhall team for their unflagging enthusiasm to see the Heart of Steel and The Steel Man installed in Yorkshire’s premier shopping centre. It has been a long-held ambition to see these two sculptures in this amazing space and we look forward to sharing our vision with its visitors and raising important funds for the British Heart Foundation.”
Darren Pearce, Centre Director for Meadowhall, said: “The Heart of Steel is an incredibly moving monument and its emotional value will only increase as the names of those we cherish, admire and remember make their mark. Forged in Sheffield steel by the Yorkshire community, the sculpture utilises the region’s rich heritage to create something incredibly special for its future – not only in terms of The Steel Man sculpture it will support, but for the millions of lives it will change through the funds generated for British Heart Foundation too. As a company that’s operated at the heart of Sheffield for almost 30 years, it’s truly an honour to host it here in our mall.”
The project has seen businesses from across the region come together to support and celebrate the Yorkshire community. With unique super alloys provided by Maher Ltd, cutting-edge portable laser units created by Pryor and scanning technologies offered by Performance Engineered Solutions, the project benefited from a wealth of local knowledge and expertise. Doncasters Bramah has also been heavily involved in the fabrication of the Heart of Steel, as well as many other areas of its development.
Nicola Jones, Fundraising Manager at the BHF added: “Heart and circulatory disease devastates the lives of millions of families in Yorkshire and all over the UK. That’s why we’re proud that the Heart of Steel project has galvanised people throughout the community to work together to help us beat heartbreak forever. We think it’s fantastic that people can be a part of history by engraving their name, or the name of a loved one, on the Heart of Steel, whilst also helping to fund our vital research into conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and diabetes.”