A LYME Regis resident has requested to run children’s games on the beach to promote the theory of evolution and counteract a religious group which already runs similar activities teaching Christianity.
Cobb Road resident Carl Salter put his request to Lyme Regis Town Council this week, saying he would like the “opportunity to counter the voice that tells of a planet under 8,000 years old that is preaching on our public beach”.
Mr Salter’s comments refer to United Beach Missions (UBM), which has been running children’s activities on Lyme Regis beach for 50 years.
Commenting in the public forum at this week’s council meeting, Mr Salter said: “I am a member of the Secular Society and am here to ask you to grant me equal space on the sand beach this summer at the same time as the United Beach Missions.
“My intention is to teach children the theory of evolution dressed as Charles Darwin with the help from someone dressed as Mary Anning and, using fossils, we will explain the age of the planet.
“The United Beach Missions is young earth creationists who believe the world is 6,000 years old and deny the science of evolution. They have been coming here for 50 years and I think it’s time there was a change.”
UBM’s’ website says it aims to “share the good news of Jesus” on beaches around the UK, Ireland and Europe but does not comment specifically on the organisation’s beliefs on creationism.
Mr Salter was informed that UBM currently had a three-year agreement with the council to run activities on the beach up to and including 2022.
Councillors felt there was not enough space for both concessions to operate on the beach at the same time and asked Mr Salter if he would be interested in an alternative location.
Mr Salter said he would happily withdraw his request and reapply when the current agreement with UBM came to an end after summer 2022.
This is not the first time UBM’s concession on Lyme Regis beach has been questioned. In 2013, some town councillors questioned whether it was suitable or not to allow UBM on the beach due to its religious nature.
In the past UBM has paid to run the beach concession, but the council agreed in 2017 that there should be no charge.