Lyme Regis Mary Anning statue 'on track' for May unveiling

image source, Denise Dutton
image captionThe statue of Mary Anning will depict her with her dog, Tray

A statue of Dorset palaeontologist Mary Anning is to be unveiled on what would have been her 222nd birthday.

The Mary Anning Rocks campaign is aiming to have the sculpture in place in Lyme Regis on 21 May 2022.

The charity said the process of obtaining the necessary consents had been affected by a council backlog but the unveiling date was "back on track".

Dorset Council said its staff were under "considerable pressure" but it would work to meet the May target date.

Charity trustee Anya Pearson said she and daughter Evie Swire - who launched the campaign - feared delays in the council's assets and planning departments could scupper their plans.

The proposed site, next to the Marine Theatre, is leased by the council to South West Water and the authority needs to ensure the statue will not cause an obstruction before a planning application is submitted and the statue is cast.

A council spokeswoman said: "Customers are seeing delays when using some of our services due to an increase in demand, which is being seen nationwide.

"We will work directly with the charity to try and achieve their desired outcome."

image source, Denise Sutton / Mary Anning Rocks
image captionA maquette of the statue has already been made by sculptor Denise Sutton

Mary Anning Rocks has raised £100,000 for the bronze statue, which is being created by sculptor Denise Dutton.

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.

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