Nearly a fifth of the city was left homeless after two devastating Luftwaffe raids in December 1940 that killed and injured more than 2,000 people.
The Sheffield Blitz Memorial Fund has now been launched by Neil Anderson, author of the book Sheffield’s Date With Hitler, and Mike Wild, founder of Sheffield Wildlife Trust and co-founder of the Five Weirs Walk.
The first aim of their campaign, which won cross-party support at the Town Hall earlier this year, is to create a Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail, with markers on key sites around the city centre.
Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories books, will unveil the first plaque in that trail on the side of the Atkinsons department store in The Moor on Sunday, December 11.
Atkinsons, Sheffield’s oldest independent store, was completely flattened in the Blitz, as was much of The Moor.
Mr Anderson said: “People power has brought about this fund and, even though we’re in the middle of recession, I believe the will is there to make things happen.
“Many people have already pledged donations and we’re now in a position to start to accept them.
“One of the first things we want to do is to raise the funds to put together a Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail which will see the installation of highly-visible plaques on key sites around the city centre.
“As well as marking war graves like the site of the Marples Hotel, it will help to educate people about the impact of the Blitz – what the city and its people went through and why the city centre looks as it does today, as so much of it had to be rebuilt.
“We’d like to build a permanent archive based around the Sheffield Blitz, a website and look towards future audio tours and more.
“We’d ultimately like to fund a high-profile memorial but realise this is likely to be more of a long-term aim.”
Donations can be made to the Sheffield Blitz Memorial Fund via Nat West account no 52118665 and sort code 54-41-47.
Cheques made out to the Sheffield Blitz Memorial Fund should be sent to ACM Retro, The Grange, Church Street, Dronfield, Sheffield S18 1QB.