Second statue of named Welsh woman unveiled honouring Bafta-winning writer Dr Elaine Morgan

A statue honouring the Bafta-winning writer and evolutionary theorist Dr Elaine Morgan has been unveiled in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

It's the second in the Monumental Welsh Women campaign, calling for the first ever statues honouring named, non-fictionalised women to be erected in an outdoor public space in Wales.

The first statue - commemorating Wales' first black headteacher Betty Campbell - was unveiled in Cardiff in September 2021.

There are plans to erect five statues honouring women in different locations around Wales within five years.

The others are Margaret Haig Thomas (Lady Rhondda), Elizabeth Andrews and Sarah Jane Rees (Cranogwen).

The bronze statue was designed and created by renowned sculptor Emma Rodgers.

On Friday, crowds gathered to witness the unveiling of the bronze statue in a ceremony outside Meddygfa Glan Cynon Surgery in Mountain Ash.

One school pupil who attended said it was "really cool" to see her honoured, "because you can be just like her".

Another added: "She's changed a bunch of people's lives, and told, especially women, to go do what they want to do".

"People grow up thinking, 'yeah I can do that too', because she's done it", another said.

Dr Morgan was an advocate of the aquatic ape evolution theory, which claims that mankind evolved from sea-based apes.

Her granddaughter, Tan Morgan, shared her memories of Dr Morgan: "She was just very normal, very loving, very kind.

"From a young age I had been told about the aquatic ape hypothesis, so I knew about that, and I knew about her TV stuff.

"Everywhere I went somebody knew who she was, so it did feel like I had a famous grandma that I was very proud of."

Dr Elaine Morgan was appointed OBE in 2009.

Dr Morgan has been described as "a woman who changed the world from her desk in Mountain Ash, never abandoning her valleys roots".

The sculptor, Emma Rodgers, used this to guide her design: "Obviously a lot of her inspiration came when she was at her desk, so that was a great grounding point for the sculpture.

"Then it was, how we could make it all flow around, and obviously her theories of the aquatic ape and evolution, why not it be a wave?"

Dr Morgan made ripples in both the arts and science and became a top TV writer, a feminist icon, and a ground-breaking evolutionary theorist.

In a career spanning 30 years, she won a host of awards and scripted some of the best-loved dramas in television history, including How Green Was My Valley and The Life and Times of Lloyd George.

Born into a mining family in Hopkinstown, she won a scholarship to Oxford University. Upon arrival and hearing her valleys accent, it was assumed she was applying for a job as a cleaner.

But she became a star student, chairing political societies and honing her literary skills.