MARY Anning Rocks, a local campaign to raise a statue and learning legacy to palaeontologist Mary Anning in Lyme Regis, is now launching its long-awaited schools engagement programme, despite disruption to schools caused by COVID-19.
Local artist Darrell Wakelam has been chosen to head up this project, described by organisers as an “incredibly important part of creating a lasting monument for Mary”.
Local schoolchildren are being invited to create artwork on how they thing Mary’s statue should look, and the finalists’ work will help to shape the final design.
Darrell said: “I am delighted to have been asked to help with this project by Mary Anning Rocks, not only is it something I am passionately supportive of but as a resident of Lyme Regis.
“I think it’s really important that the local children get a chance to have their say and take some ownership of the idea too. I’m really looking forward to see the fantastic ideas they come up with.”
Evie Swire, a local schoolgirl who kickstarted the Mary Anning Rocks campaign in April 2018, added: “I want all the local children to be involved in how Mary should look because we will be the ones who will be looking after her, so it’s important they all know they had a part in making her.”
It was originally intended for Darrell to host a workshop with all the key schools in the area, but the engagement programme will be now be delivered virtually.
Darrell will select a finalist from each school and will work closely with the sculptor Denise Dutton on selecting the winners.
Denise, who was chosen from a short list of nationally renowned sculptors, will then use the children’s designs to help her produce sketches and a maquette of how Mary will look.
“I think it’s a great idea involving the children, I can’t wait to see what they come up with,” said Denise.
Anywa Pearson, a trustee of the Mary Anning Rocks campaign, commented: “We are also so excited to announce the prize for the two winners from each school will be to help our patron, TV and science presenter Professor Alice Roberts, unveil the statue when it’s ready!”
If you want to help raise funds or find out more about the campaign, visit the website www.maryanningrocks.co.uk