Ex-steelworkers needed to bring Magna to life

16 May 2012

Staff at Magna Science Adventure Centre are appealing for ex-steelworkers to volunteer to help bring the visitor attraction to life.

The centre, based in massive former steelworks at Templeborough, Rotherham, aims to inspire interest in science and preserve the history of the area’s steel industry.

Because the centre is a charity, it relies heavily on support, and managers want to hear from anyone interested in getting involved in demonstrations and workshops, including former steelworkers happy to share their stories.

John Heaps – a steelworker for 40 years - has passed on his knowledge and passion with hundreds of visitors.

He first became involved at Magna in 2002 following his retirement due to an accident while melting steel, when a blow-back from the furnace engulfed him in flames. Despite wearing full safety gear, he suffered 22 per cent burns and spent three weeks in hospital.

John, 68, of Bramley, Rotherham, said:  “I feel that people like me should be passing on our memories and knowledge, so it isn’t lost in the future.

“The response I get from visitors, especially children, is brilliant. They know I’m speaking from the heart and it really brings alive the history and significance of steel to the area.”

Magna is keen to hear from performers interested in re-enacting stories about the steel works or anyone with a knowledge of science, such as retired teachers, who could help run children’s workshops.

The centre is also seeking volunteers for general roles such as gardening or decorating. 

Magna’s marketing manager Karen Staniforth said:  “Magna is a place with a unique atmosphere and is something everyone in South Yorkshire can be proud of. We’d love for local people who have a little time to spare time to talk to us about how they could get involved and help improve the experience of our visitors.”

Magna’s four pavilions are on a theme of earth, air, fire and water, and visitors can see the works’ original arc furnace roar to life through dramatic special effects.

The attraction’s outdoor Sci-Tek adventure play area is one of the biggest in Europe and its adjacent water play area Aqua-Tek is open throughout the summer.

Full day tickets include entry to the indoor attraction as well as both the Sci-Tek and Aqua-Tek outdoor play areas, or families can pay to just visit the outdoor play areas. All full tickets include a further 12 months’ free entry.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Karen on 01709 723146 or email kstaniforth@magnatrust.co.uk

For more information about Magna, visit www.visitmagna.co.uk or call 01709 720002.


Magna is housed in the former Templeborough steelworks which were once the biggest in the world and employed 10,000 people.  The works were built during World War One and shut in 1993. They remained derelict until being transformed into an award-winning visitor attraction in 2001. 

Magna has four pavilions on a theme of air, earth,fire and water, which house over 100 interactive exhibits, and it also boasts outdoor and water play areas. The centrepiece Big Melt uses stunning pyrotechnic and audio techniques to recreate steel making using a huge original electric arc furnace. Magna is open daily, from 10am to 5pm, with last entry at 4pm. 

Magna also plays host to all kinds of events and exhibitions and offers a range of corporate and party facilities.

For more media information contact marketing manager Karen Staniforth on 01709 723146 or email kstaniforth@magnatrust.co.uk.  Alternatively, contact marketing assistant Anna Holdsworth on 01709 723139 or email aholdsworth@magnatrust.co.uk

John Heaps can be contacted on 07767 867738.
Additional media contacts: Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or at deborah@katebettsmedia.co.uk or Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07792 764891 or at



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