Meet the Team

Evie Swire

Hello my name is Evie and I am 11 years old. I was born in a village just outside Dorchester and I go to middle school. I love my dog called Jacob who is eleven too! We think he is half Greyhound and half Labrador, but we are not sure. One day I will go into outer space or design interiors for houses. My mummy said I can do both because one day, even in space we will need places to live.

I am very excited about the statue for Mary and I am looking forward to seeing her very soon standing in Lyme Regis with her dog named Tray by her side.

Anya Pearson

I was born in Manchester and went on to study Fashion Design & Marketing at Northumbria University. I then spent most of my career in London working for High Street fashion brands like Warehouse and Marks & Spencer’s. Moving to Dorset fifteen years ago with my husband and son to run my own ethical fashion business. My daughter, Evie soon came along, the inspiration behind Mary Anning Rocks. Last year as we were making our way off the beach from one of our many fossil hunts at Lyme Regis, Evie suddenly stopped dead, looked about her confused and asked me ‘Why isn’t there a statue to Mary mummy?’ That was our light bulb moment and I started to ask myself the same question.

I want to build positive and empowering female role models for all our children to look up to. To visualise for them, that gender and class should never be a barrier to who or what you want to be.

I currently freelance and lecture part time at the Arts University Bournemouth and I live just outside Dorchester with my family and our rescue dog, Jacob. 

Esther Yarnold

I was brought up near the coast in Dorset and was torn between a career in geology or the arts; my love of drawing and photographing my local environment eventually led to me study art and design. 

After a long and varied freelance career in the creative industries I now teach art and design at Bournemouth & Poole College. Working with inspiring and talented young people every day, and to be able to do this at a place of inclusivity, is a privilege that I wish could be considered ‘the norm’. Gender equality and inclusivity are at the forefront of discussions globally right now, and if we can raise awareness and inspire further discussion surrounding these issues, whilst providing an important work of art for Lyme Regis and for Mary Anning’s legacy, then we will have achieved something truly amazing.

As a fan of Mary’s work, I am excited to be able to donate some of my time to work on this project. I will be helping out with design and marketing work, and getting my students involved wherever possible. A huge thank you to Evie Swire for inspiring and instigating such a wonderful project. 

As well as working as a lecturer I also undertake freelance design work, and currently live in Wimborne Minster with my fiancée, rescue dog and two rescue rabbits

@studiofold

Brandon Lennon

My name is Brandon Lennon and I’m a professional Fossil Collector from Lyme Regis. I started preparing and selling fossils in the early 1980s. This was from our family owned shop called Lennon`s that was originally set up by my parents. I now sell to Museums and other shops around the UK from our lapidary workshop. I have taught in schools in Cambridge, London and the Dorset area as a STEM ambassador and I provide schools with practical lessons and talks on the science of geology. As well as selling fossils I have for the past 30 years been doing fossil walks out along the Jurassic coast. 

I admire Mary Anning greatly, she is, without doubt, one of the greatest British fossil collectors who has ever lived.  Mary was witness to the birth of the science of Palaeontology and, although she had virtually no schooling, she read all the scientific papers of the day and created perfect drawings of many of her finds. In many ways, Mary Anning was responsible for educating the best brains of the country at that time.

I am really happy to be part of Mary Anning Rocks campaign, it gives me a chance to work on a local project to raise a statue to Mary in her home town. I believe the statue has been a long time coming and I look forward to the day when I go out on my fossil walks and can point to her statue and talk to visitors and tourist about her amazing story and contributions she made to my life. Without this remarkable woman’s achievements and insights, we wouldn’t know as much as we do today about what she called ‘deep time’ and how life evolved on our planet.

I am 100% behind Evie and the campaign and will do my utmost to help them raise the funds needed to raise this statue for Mary Anning

I feel very fortunate to live in this beautiful part of the world and I always say, what more could a modern-day fossil collector working in a World Heritage Site want than to live and work in the place where the Earth`s history is being revealed every day? 

Anastasia Jeune

My love of fossils, the coast and all things Mary started at my placement at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre as part of my degree. From there I went on to work there as a seasonal warden before getting a job at the local Museum as a Museum Assistant. In my short few years working on our wonderful Jurassic Coast I have spoken to hundreds of people both through public talks, school visits and fossil walks all about Mary and the wonderful fossils she found.  I am now a fossil collector in my spare time and do everything I can to share my knowledge with as many people as possible! 

I have been inspired by the work carried out by Mary Anning Rocks and when the chance came along to help out I couldn't say no!

Mary is long overdue a memorial to her life, a monument to celebrate her achievements and struggles. Her story is one that inspires all and one that should go on to inspire future generations. The statue of Mary will not only be a symbol of her but also of equality and most of all, it will be a symbol of hope proving that anyone can achieve anything and everything, even if the world is against them they can still prevail. Being a female fossil hunter comes with both highs and lows.

A famous part of Mary's story is that she was never allowed in the Royal Geological Society because she was a Woman Unfortunately still to this day I get told to, 'Leave the hammering to the men, Love' and 'You shouldn't be out there doing that, that's a hobby for men!' But I'm hoping this statue and the message behind it will open peoples eyes to the truth. It doesn't matter what your social status, education or gender is, as long as you have a passion - you can make it happen and you can do and be whatever you want.

This statue will commemorate the people of Lyme, Dorset and its supporters. Being a part of this group is being on the right side of history. And that is something I want to be a part of.

Darrell Wakelam 

Hi, my name is Darrell and I’m a professional artist based in Lyme Regis. As part of my work as an artist I travel far and wide delivering art workshops for children and young people usually comprising of 3D models, masks, and sculptures. 

I’m originally from the West Midlands but moved to Dorset fifteen years ago to set up my own business. The reason I headed for Lyme Regis was based partly on a childhood love of ‘Natural History’ and a desire to explore my passion through the skills and techniques I had acquired as an artist. 

Like so many other people Mary Anning was a very important inspiration for me as a child. From a very early age I was fascinated by Myths, Legends and Monsters only to be told by my parents, “They aren’t real, they don’t really exist” . . . then at the age of five, I bought myself a ‘Fossil Book’ and this young girl jumped off the pages, dug a monster out of the cliffs with her bare hands, held it aloft and shouted to me “oh yes they are real . . . come and see”. I’ve been following her ever since.”

A statue in honor of Mary is long overdue. A clever, determined, working-class woman who managed to become an expert in her field against the odds in an elitist and male-dominated era.

I hope to help in many ways with the campaign but in particular, I am happy that I will be involved in the community engagement project for the design and look of the statue. A project that will be commissioned by the Mary Anning Rocks Committee to help bind and connect this work of art into the landscape where she worked and even more importantly to the people of Lyme Regis to whom she belongs. 

I am proud to support 11-year-old Evie Swire in her mission to raise a statue for Mary! Well done Evie, we are all behind you. Darrell is helping us in an advisory capacity as our Community Arts Advisor

Mike Harrison

I am an avid fossil hunter with over 25 years worth of experience specialising in fossilised marine animals from Charmouth and Lyme Regis. I pretty much spend most of my time on the beaches looking for treasures that wash out from the cliffs, exactly like marry did over 200 hundred years ago. One of my most amazing finds was after spending nearly two years searching for the parts of a skull that belonged to a large Ichthyosaur, dubbed the ‘King of The Jurassic Sea’. 

I have been captivated by fossils and fossil hunting from a very young age and that is why I was so impressed with this young woman’s determination to build a statue for Mary. Like me Evie has will to get the job done.

I have grandchildren who also love fossil hunting and Marys story, so I hope that this statue will inspire generations to come and encourage them to follow in Mary’s footsteps.

Loading... Updating page...