Meet the Team

Evie Swire

Hello my name is Evie and I was 10 years old when I started this project, i'm now 13. I was born in a village just outside Dorchester and this September I go to High school. I love my dog called Jacob who's getting quite old now but we dont know how old he is because we rescued him. 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 mum said I can do both because one day, even in space we will need nice 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’m not a scientist; I just thought I’d better make that clear from the start! In fact, I think I’m probably the furthest away you could possibly get from a scientist. My work involves dealing with the vagaries of whim and the unpredictable notions of trend-driven consumers. As a fashion professional for the High Street, with over thirty years experience under my belt I can safely say I know very little about anything that ends in an ‘ology’. 

However, as well as a businesswoman and lecturer, I'm a mum too. Over the years I’ve learned a lot from my children, like patience, to be more candid and honing my negations skills to the point where I would smash a job at the UN. Both my children are kind and clever, but it’s my daughter’s indignation and anger that sparked this campaign.

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?’ Her anger and frustration was clear! That was our light bulb moment and I started to ask myself the same question - Why isnt there a statue to this incredable woman? 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.

Esther Yarnold

I was brought up near the Jurassic 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 moved into teaching in Higher Education in 2012, and am currently based at Arts University Bournemouth as Course Leader for the Fashion Branding and Communication degree. 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, as well as consulting on the learning legacy that the project wishes to establish after the statue is in situ. A huge thank you to Evie Swire for inspiring and instigating such a wonderful project. 

As well as working as a lecturer and academic I also undertake freelance design work, and currently live in a small village in North Dorset with my rescue dog and two rescue rabbits.


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? 

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.

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 Trustees 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

Michael Jeffries

bio to come

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