THE Mary Anning Rocks campaign has reached its overall target of £100,000 for a statue of the palaeontologist to be installed in her hometown of Lyme Regis.
A statue of Lyme’s famous fossil hunter has been years in the waiting, with discussions first starting in 2018 after young enthusiast Evie Swire questioned why there was no lasting memorial to Mary in the town.
She and her mum Anya Pearson eventually launched the Mary Anning Rocks campaign, gaining much support from the international earth science community and famous personalities such as Sir David Attenborough.
The campaign’s £100,000 crowdfunding appeal for the statue was launched in November 2020 and, in just four months, has reach its final total – meaning all costs to create and the install the statue, as well as legal, planning and professional fees will be covered.
The statue will be created by artist Denise Dutton, who has already released sketches of how it will look (see image below). A definite site has not yet been agreed for the statue.
Anya commented: “Evie and I are so thrilled that we have smashed the target. We were holding our breath as we watch the total tick closer and closer to the final amount and then when I refreshed my laptop and we had hit the £100,ooo mark we just leapt from our seats and screamed, then burst into happy tears!”
Having reached its initial target with six days left on the fundraising campaign, Mary Anning Rocks has now triggered a ‘stretch target’, meaning it is now aiming to raise an additional £50,000 which would allow it to create the Mary Anning Rocks Learning Legacy.
Anya explained: “We would like to be able to develop a free downloadable app called ‘Mary’s Map’. This will allow everyone to follow in Mary’s footsteps, wander around Lyme Regis finding out where she lived and worked, checking out the buildings and the landmarks in Lyme that were important to Mary’s story.
“We would also like to develop Bluetooth-activated nearfield technology or scannable QR codes that will allow visitors to interact directly with the statue so they can learn more about Mary’s life and work.
“This could also include the development of augmented reality so people can really see how Mary’s world would have been.
“We would have free, fun ‘Mary’s Fact Packs’ to download from our website and a big part of what the extra donations would do is to fund schools engagement, especially children from underserved backgrounds.
“Enabling our next generation of earth scientists to get out on the beaches to find fossils just like Mary did when she was a child over 200 years ago.
“It’s hugely important that any contemporary memorialisation be contextualised for a modern audience. Not doing so is precisely why some statues are now being toppled.
“Having the chance to launch Mary’s Anning Rocks Learning Legacy we hope will come a long way in helping us to do exactly that.”
You can help the Mary Anning Rocks campaign reach its ‘stretch target’ for the Learning Legacy by donation at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/maryanningrocks