Mary Anning: Statue of fossil-hunter to be unveiled in Lyme Regis

Model of Mary Anning with dog in shop window
A miniature version of what the statue will look like

A statue of Mary Anning will be officially unveiled in her home town of Lyme Regis today (May 17).

The pioneering fossil hunter and palaeontologist became known around the world for her discoveries on the Jurassic Coast in the 1800s.

Her findings contributed to changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life.

She has since been the subject of the 2020 'Ammonite' film starring Kate Winslet but campaigners say until now she has never been properly celebrated.

A campaign to get the statue made was started four years ago by schoolgirl Evie Swire.

A portrait of Mary Anning by an unknown artist, painted before 1842

Evie and her mother, Anya Pearson, founded the charity 'Mary Anning Rocks' and raised more than a £100,000 to create a fitting tribute.

The statue will now be installed on the seafront, overlooking the cliffs and beaches where Anning hunted for fossils 200 years ago.

Evie said: "She was a working class woman in Victorian times who wasn't appreciated for her work in the moment. A statue will make people more aware of who she is and what she did for science."

Her mum Anya said: "Let's face it, if she'd have been an upper-class male, she'd have had a statue 100 years ago.

"Not having her visualised in the town has kind of made her voice lost from the conversation, and I think when we visualise her and put her back into the place where she was literally and metaphorically doing her groundbreaking work, I think it's going to really up her profile."

The Jurassic Coast still attracts fossil hunters today, many of them inspired by the work Mary Anning did in the 1800s.