A LONG-WAITED crowdfunding campaign, with the aim of raising money for a statue of palaeontologist Mary Anning in Lyme Regis, was launched on Friday.
Mary Anning Rocks has long been campaigning for a statue of Lyme’s famous fossil hunter, gaining international interest with the likes of Sir David Attenborough and author Tracey Chevalier among its supporters.
Its crowdfunding campaign with a target of £100,000 finally went live on Friday and has already raised more than £20,000.
The appeal was launched alongside a campaign film fronted by TV presenter and anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts.
Professor Roberts is a patron of the campaign and shares the life-story of Mary Anning, whose discoveries included the first ichthyosaur, filmed partially at the Natural History Museum in London.
The film also features 11-year-old Evie Swire, who launched the campaign along with the help of her mum Anya.
Professor Roberts commented: “I think it’s so important that we recognise people like Mary Anning and celebrate them, it’s about restoring her to her rightful place in the history of science. It’s about making sure that anyone who visits Lyme Regis knows that this really important woman was there doing that work in the early days of palaeontology.”
Mary Anning, who lived on the site of Lyme Regis Museum and is buried in St Michael’s churchyard, has recently been gaining more international interest thanks to the upcoming release of the movie ‘Ammonite’, based on her life and starring Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet.
The film’s production company donated £15,000 to Lyme Regis after filming scenes in the town last March, and the town council split the money between three Mary Anning-related projects, with Mary Anning Rocks awarded £5,000.
The other two projects were the Mary Anning beach hut for use of those affected by cancer, and a bursary scheme to encourage more women into the sciences.
You can donate to the Mary Anning Rocks campaign at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/maryanningrocks