Patrons

Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier is the author of nine novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, as well as Remarkable Creatures, a novel about Mary Anning. She grew up in Washington DC and in 1984 moved to London, where she lives with her husband and son. Tracy is a Trustee of the British Library and President of the Royal Literary Fund, and a Patron of the Lyme Regis Museum.

‘Mary Anning is an inspiring example of how an ordinary person can do extraordinary things. She found fossils others didn’t know existed, and she persisted when it was unheard of for someone of her gender and class to take part in scientific discovery. I would love to see a statue of her in Lyme Regis. She is a heroine to us all.’

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is a broadcaster and naturalist. After studying natural sciences at Cambridge, he began his career as a producer at the BBC. David was made controller of BBC Two in 1965 and later its director of programming. During his tenure the station crossed over to colour television, and he was instrumental in expanding its natural history content.

Attenborough left the BBC to begin writing and producing various series, including the smash hit Life on Earth, which set the standards for the modern nature documentary. Since then Attenborough has written, produced, hosted and narrated countless award winning, nature-focused programs and has devoted his life to celebrating and preserving wildlife.

“Mary Anning was a very remarkable woman. The fact she achieved such distinction as a woman at that time is in itself remarkable. She was entirely without formal education in scientific subjects. She not only collected these things in order to support her widowed mother, but sold them to scholars, professors, clergymen and collectors and ended up knowing more about them than they did.” 

Professor Alice Roberts

Professor Alice Roberts

Professor Alice Roberts is an academic, writer and broadcaster, interested in the structure of humans, how we function, and our place in the wider environment. Alice makes programmes and writes books about human anatomy, physiology, evolution, archaeology and history. She passionately believes that universities are about generating and spreading knowledge to the widest possible audience.

Alice is a medical doctor, and went on to become a university lecturer. Alice has also been Professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham since 2012.

"Mary Anning, an outsider in the male-dominated sphere of nineteenth century science, is one of the most important pioneers in British palaeontology. From ichthyosaurs to plesiosaurs, pterosaurs to prehistoric sharks, Mary Anning unearthed a huge wealth of fossils, casting light on the wonderful range of ancient life entombed in the rocks of her home town, Lyme Regis. A statue of Mary Anning would help to redress the balance, recognising her contribution to science.” 

Professor Jack Horner

Professor Jack Horner is one of the world's foremost palaeontologists and is Emeritus Regent's Professor, Montana State University and the retired Curator of Palaeontology, Museum of the Rockies. Best known for his ground breaking discoveries of the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, the first evidence of dinosaur colonial nesting, the first evidence of parental care among dinosaurs, and the first dinosaur embryos.

Jack is also well known for his work on the production staff for the Jurassic Park Series as a palaeontology consultant and was the inspiration for Dr. Alan Grant, the fictional palaeontologist portrayed by actor Sam Neill in the first movies.

‘I have a huge amount of respect for Mary Anning and her work. She discovered fossils at a time before anyone knew what these ancient animal remains were. Her discoveries sparked decades of debate on how old life on our planet really was, how fossilized organisms originated and eventually disappeared. Raising a statue to commemorate this incredible woman's achievements is long overdue and I support the Mary Anning Rocks campaign fully’

Trowel Blazers

TrowelBlazers is an organisation dedicated to outreach activities aimed at encouraging participation of women and underrepresented groups in archaeological, geological, and palaeontological science. Created by the founding four Brenna Hasset a bioarchaeologist who is especially interested in studying child health in the past - Victoria Herridge a palaeobiologist who’s specialist topic is the evolution of ice age dwarf elephants - Suzanne Pilaar Birch who combines archaeology with biochemisty to investigate how humans adapted to climate change in prehistory and Rebecca Wragg Sykes is a Palaeolithic archaeologist who especially finds Neanderthals fascinating.  

Professor Alice Roberts

Dr Dean Lomax

Dean Lomax is an internationally recognised multi-award-winning palaeontologist, presenter and author. He has travelled the globe and worked on many fascinating projects from excavating dinosaurs in the American West, to describing new species of extinct marine reptiles, and winning a gold medal for excellence in science. Dean is passionate about communicating palaeontology with the public and regularly appears on TV & radio. He is the author of several books, numerous scientific papers, and many popular articles. In 2015, he named a new species of ichthyosaur after Mary Anning – Ichthyosaurus anningae – the first ichthyosaur named in her honour and it only took 200 years! 

‘Mary Anning has been a hero of mine for as long as I can remember. From the books I read or museums I visited as a child, I was captivated by the story of a young, brilliant and ‘uneducated’ woman who had made remarkable fossil discoveries – discoveries that would change the world. Mary’s story further inspired me to follow my dreams of becoming a palaeontologist.

Today, I’ve been working as a palaeontologist for over a decade and much of my research has been retracing Mary’s footsteps by examining the many hundreds of ichthyosaurs (extinct sea-going reptiles) that she discovered. Mary’s story means so much to me that I named a new species in her honour – Ichthyosaurus anningae. This was the first (and only) ichthyosaur species named after Mary despite her being the first person to bring ichthyosaurs to the attention of the scientific world. I like to think that a statue, dedicated to the mother of palaeontology, will inspire generations of scientists and give this brilliant woman the recognition she so duly deserves.’

Professor Alice Roberts

Dr Anjana Khatwa Ford

Dr Anjana Khatwa Ford Dr Khatwa Ford is responsible for developing and leading on learning content for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Her role includes providing learning expertise and guidance on project work for the JCT and associated partners, developing content for engaging and innovative science communication and managing relationships with scientific research institutions.  Much of her work focuses on communicating the Earth Science and World Heritage values of the Jurassic Coast to a wide range of audiences, including those that are new to science.  Anjana has a degree in Earth Science from Kingston University and a PhD. from Southampton University based on research of deformation mechanics in sediments beneath glaciers. She spent four years working in the USA as a scientific researcher and educator for a variety of organisations including the US National Park Service, University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Utah. 

‘The Jurassic Coast Trust, as the organisation responsible for protecting and conserving the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, is delighted to play an advisory role in support of the Mary Anning Rocks project. We are excited to see an energetic and driven campaign to erect a statue in Lyme Regis to commemorate the significant contributions that Mary Anning made to Palaeontology and the Earth Sciences, and the pivotal role she plays in our World Heritage story. Using our experience of interpreting the scientific and heritage stories of the Jurassic Coast, and linking people to the heritage on their doorstep, we aim to contribute to the project so that the story of Mary Anning is told in the most impactful and meaningful way possible.’  

Professor Hugh S. Torrens

Professor Hugh S. Torrens is a British historian of geology and palaeontology, and Emeritus Professor of Palaeontology at Keele University. Torrens received a bachelor's degree from the University of Oxford and a PhD from the University of Leicester. He was president of the Society for the History of Natural History from 2012 to 2015. Widely acknowledge as the expert on the life and works of Mary Anning and a book about Anning’s life by Torrens is widely anticipated. 

‘Mary Anning 1799 to 1847 of Lyme; ‘the greatest fossilist the world ever knew’ 

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