Monster fun for fossil fans at Lyme

Visitors from around the world flock to celebrate Mary Anning Day

FOSSIL fans came from as far away as Melbourne, Australia, to celebrate Lyme’s world famous paleontologist.

Mary Anning Day, at the town’s museum, featured a packed programme of activities and talks.

Artist Darrell Wakelam helped youngsters make papier mach� dinosaurs and author Tracy Chevalier presented her talk ‘Finding the Big One’ – outlining Mary Anning’s great ichthyosaur find of 200 years ago, with readings from contemporary accounts of the event and from her own novel Remarkable Creatures.

Around 500 visitors viewed ‘The Big One’, on loan from the Natural History Museum, in London, and other impressive fossils in Lyme Regis Museum’s collection.

Some 300 people attended the talks, which were also given by Sir Ghillean Prance, former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Tom Sharpe of the National Museum of Wales, Richard Edmonds of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and museum experts Paddy Howe and Chris Andrew.

The guided walk, ‘Mary Anning’s Town’, led by Natalie Manifold, was in such demand that an extra one was organised for later in the day.

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Museum curator, Mary Godwin, said: “Mary Anning Day gives us the chance to celebrate our most famous woman scientist, whose life and work has captured the imagination of people word-wide.

“Since its publication in 2009 Tracy Chevalier’s book Remarkable Creatures has brought Mary Anning to a much wider international audience - many people arrive at the museum having been inspired by the book to make a kind of pilgrimage to Lyme.

“We’re now really looking forward to the film of the book which will bring Mary and Lyme to even greater prominence.”