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Sculpture

Marti Caine: Sheffield’s only tribute to that gawky and glamorous entertainer

Marti Caine. (Image: David Poole)

It’s remarkable that Sheffield has never officially paid tribute to Marti Caine. However, there is a sculpture at the top of Howard Street, near Sheffield Hallam University, that is named after her.

Marti Caine grew up in Shiregreen and her vocal talents, wit and engaging personality made her a mainstay of the northern club circuit before she leapt to national prominence by winning the TV talent show New Faces in 1975 – a programme she went on to present with great success.

In her later years, she campaigned tirelessly on behalf of cancer charities before succumbing to lymphatic cancer on November 4, 1995, aged 50, after a long illness.

Marti was awarded an honorary doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University in recognition of her contribution to the world of entertainment, and the film Funny Cow, starring Maxine Peake, was loosely based on her compelling life story.

The gritstone and stainless steel sculpture dedicated to her, originally called Sheen, is often referred to simply as ‘Marti’, one of the pieces made for the Stone City Symposium of 1995. It was commissioned by Sheffield Hallam University and was to have been revealed by Marti Caine, who died two weeks before the opening; it was decided to dedicate the sculpture to her instead.

The stainless steel was intended to reflect the changing weather and reflect passing traffic which flicker across the inset steel squares on the Arundel Gate side of the sculpture.

Describing his work at the time, Mick Farrell, its creator said: “Using stainless steel and stone I hope to set up a contradiction within the nature of both materials. This architectural piece would act both as a landmark and a point to view from.”

Marti Caine (1945-1995). Comedian, actress, singer and dancer. (Image: BBC)

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