The first commemorative coins cast from some of the last iron to be made on Teesside are now being delivered, with almost £17,500 raised so far to help two local charities.
The keepsakes, which come with a booklet highlighting the history of the former Redcar steelworks from 1850 to now, were launched by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen a couple of months ago.
More than 1,700 coins have been sold to date and bear the Dorman Long logo to mark the region’s rich iron and steelmaking heritage. They give local people the chance to take home a part of the site, now Teesworks, where work is ramping up to bring in new investment.
Thanks to the kind donations so far more than £17,465 has been raised for Redcar’s Walk N Talk male mental health charity and the town’s voluntary community group Ladies of Steel.
The coins, which have been cast at the Willian Lane Foundry in Middlesbrough, have been selling fast, but it’s not too late and the limited-edition coins are still available at www.teesworks.co.uk/buyacoin
Mayor Houchen said: “Our proud history of producing iron and steel that helped build the world – from the Shard in London to the Sydney Harbour Bridge – is close to the hearts of people right across our region. I always knew that these coins would be popular.
“Now that they’re hitting doormats, hopefully people will be able to see the care that has gone into them, from us and also William Lane Foundry, Middlesbrough’s oldest Foundry, and they’ll be something to treasure.
“I want to thank the generosity of those who have donated to help two causes which are doing incredible things for individuals and communities, especially over the past 12 months, which has been very difficult for everyone.
“If anyone would like to get their hands on a piece of our history, they should order soon because there’s no guarantee the chance will be around for long!”
Walk N Talk founder Gareth Howell said: “I’m blown away by the amount of money raised for Walk N Talk from the sale of these coins. We’re currently planning how to best use the money, but we’ve got lots of ideas, from buying walking and camping equipment so everyone can participate in our events to raising awareness of the group and putting it toward litter picks.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to all that have donated and to the Mayor and the Teesworks team for picking us and Ladies of Steel as beneficiaries of this fantastic project. In fact, we’re now working together, doing a combined sponsored walk on Saturday to help raise money for a baby recently diagnosed with leukaemia.”
Debbie and Chris Powlay from Ladies of Steel said: “Thank you so much to everyone that has donated and bought a coin, they’ve brought much needed funds to our community. The wonderful donations will allow us to continue and grow our events for the elderly who have suffered significantly with social isolation during the pandemic. With their lack of internet access, to be able to put on safe events for them to maintain or start new friendships is crucial.
“We hope to also renew our youth club equipment. Offering a safe space for local youngsters, providing activities for them to learn and gain confidence and exercise outside of school is vitally important. These facilities go a long way in tackling anti-social behaviour and building community spirit. Thank you.”
Jacob Young and Kate Willard, co-chairs of the Teesworks Heritage Taskforce, said: “It’s great news that people are now getting their hands on these coins, a brilliant celebration of the history of the site that’s also giving back to the communities that were inseparably linked with our rich iron and steelmaking history.
“These will serve as a reminder of all we accomplished in the past as we look to what’s possible for the future of the Teesworks site and we’ll continue to work with the Mayor on other opportunities to highlight the heritage of this massively important site.”