RESIDENTS have been treated to a glimpse of the much-anticipated statue of a groundbreaking Lyme Regis fossil hunter.

A maquette of the Mary Anning statue has been unveiled to Lyme Regis residents, giving them an idea of what the finished statue will look like.

The event was held at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis on Saturday, May 22, just days after what would have been the famed palaeontologist's 222nd birthday.

The statue is being designed by artist Denise Dutton following a successful £100,000 fundraising appeal by Mary Anning Rocks.

The maquette, a scale model of around 12 inches in size, depicts Anning with her trusty dog, Tray, striding out towards the beach.

More than 150 people came to the theatre to see the maquette on the day and organisers said they received very positive feedback on the event.

The project began when local schoolgirl, Evie Swire, was shocked that there was not already a statue of Anning to acknowledge her achievements.

Just 11-years-old at the time, Evie asked her mother why there was no statue of Anning in her hometown of Lyme Regis. Evie, along with her mother, Anya Pearson, started the 'Mary Anning Rocks' campaign shorty after.

The fundraising campaign, launched by the mother-daughter duo, was able to raise £108,000 to give Anning 'the recognition she deserved'. The campaign was launched late last year, but really caught the eye of the public in January when it was able to raise more than half of its target in a month - with donations coming in from all over the world.

It is hoped that the statue will be unveiled in spring 2022. The group has pencilled in 21 May 2022, which would be Annings' 223rd birthday, as a potential unveiling date.

Denise is now set to begin working on the full size statue, which is planned to be be erected on the square on Gun Cliff Walk, below the Marine Theatre.

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