Lyme Regis Mary Anning statue designs released

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image copyrightDenise Dutton
image captionThe statue of Mary Anning depicts her with her dog, Tray

Early designs for a statue of Dorset palaeontologist Mary Anning have been released as campaigners make a final push to reach their funding target.

The Mary Anning Rocks campaign has been working to create a permanent memorial in Anning's hometown of Lyme Regis.

Her discoveries in the early 19th Century helped shape scientific understanding of prehistoric life, but her work was never properly recognised.

The design sketch by sculptor Denise Dutton shows Anning with her dog, Tray.

The campaign for the statue, led by 13-year-old Evie Swire, is supported by Prof Alice Roberts who appeared in a video to launch a crowdfunding bid to raise £100,000.

The campaigners, who have raised more than half of their target, have said they still need £20,000 before they can commission the work.

Ms Dutton, who created the Land Girls monument at the National Arboretum, has been chosen to create the sculpture which will stand on the town's seafront, close to Anning's birthplace.

image captionEvie Swire has been campaigning for a statue of Mary Anning in Lyme Regis

Anning, whose life inspired feature film Ammonite, was never fully credited for her discoveries due to her gender and social status.

She was born in 1799 to a poor, working-class family, but made numerous groundbreaking discoveries, including a 5.2m (17ft) skeleton, now known to be an ichthyosaur, when she was just 12 years old.

Twelve years later, she found the first complete skeleton of a plesiosaur, a marine reptile so bizarre that scientists initially thought it was a fake.

Dorchester schoolgirl Evie launched her campaign, with the help of her mother Anya Pearson, two years ago after learning about Anning during a fossil-hunting trip.

"She's done all these amazing things and sadly has been lost in history," Evie said.

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