LYME Regis Town Council has confirmed a donation of £15,000 has been made by the makers of Mary Anning biopic ‘Ammonite’.
Several areas of the town were taken over by Fossil Films and transformed for the making of the movie, based on Lyme’s pioneering fossil hunter Mary Anning and starring Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet in the lead role, alongside Golden Globe Award winner Saoirse Ronan.
Filming took place at various locations in Lyme Regis over several weeks in March, including at Bell Cliff, Coombe Street, the Cobb and Monmouth Beach in Lyme Regis, as well as at Charmouth Beach.
Fossil Films has donated £15,000 to the town council as a thank you for allowing use of the Bell Cliff area, which was transformed with elaborate props and sets to resemble life in the 1800s.
The figure had previously been leaked but the town council has now made an official announcement, saying the donation “represents the co-operation between the council and film company and a commitment to create a beneficial legacy for the town”.
Town councillors will now be asked to decide how the money will be spent, with suggestions including a donation to the proposed Mary Anning statue, and supporting the youth of Lyme Regis.
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Brian Larcombe MBE, said: “The council would like to see this donation spent on something tangible for the town. It is really important the money doesn’t get absorbed into council funds, but is used to support a worthy project or cause to create a lasting legacy for Lyme Regis.
“Thank you to Fossil Films for the donation and their co-operation during the filming. It was entirely possible for the film company to shoot Ammonite in another town or on set, so the decision to film in Lyme Regis was welcomed.
“Although there was some disturbance to the town, it will hopefully provide a boost to the local economy when Lyme Regis is showcased on the big screen.”
Town councillors will be asked to think about how the money should be spent at a meeting of Strategy and Finance Committee on July 10.
A release date for the film has not yet been announced but it is hoped it will create a tourism boom for Lyme Regis, similar to that seen after the release of ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ in the 1980s. At that time, the town received a donation of £8,000 – the equivalent of £34,400 today.