Lyme Regis Museum was honoured today to welcome its most famous patron, Sir David Attenborough, to lead a special inauguration ceremony for the Mary Anning Wing, the new extension which opened in July.
In a speech to over 200 museum supporters and funders, Sir David emphasised the importance of Lyme Regis to the development of the science of geology, and paid special reference to Lyme’s Mary Anning, the world’s first and greatest fossil hunter.
Sir David then unveiled the new sponsors’ plaque in the entrance to the museum, before enjoying a tour of the new fossil gallery led by noted geologist and museum trustee Tom Sharpe. Whilst at the museum, Sir David met with children from Lyme’s schools, and together they investigated local fossils in the museum’s new Fine Foundation Learning Centre.
David Tucker, Director of Lyme Regis Museum said, “It has been wonderful to have Sir David visit us. We take our educational role very seriously, and I hope the children who met Sir David will go away inspired. Who knows, there might be another great budding scientist in their midst.”
He added, “It was splendid that Sir David was able to help us thank the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership and other institutions who have funded the Mary Anning Wing. We are immensely grateful for their support and will continue to do all we can to protect Lyme’s heritage and contribute to the local economy.”
Present at the event was Stephen Boyce, Chair HLF South West Committee. Mr Boyce commented, “Home of geological and charitable ‘firsts’, the inspiration of literary greats and the place to go for generations of people fascinated by fossils, Lyme Regis has an extraordinarily rich heritage. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the new Mary Anning Wing provides an incredible gateway into that heritage and into the inspiring story of its namesake and the museum’s fascinating collections. Congratulations to all who have made this grand opening possible and we look forward to celebrating Lyme Regis Museum’s bright future.”
Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Gordon Page, said: “Dorset LEP is pleased to have secured local growth funding from the Government to support this worthy project to benefit the local area and economy. Tourism is a key sector for Dorset and this impressive addition to one of Dorset’s much-loved museums will help to contribute to the wider economic well-being of the region through the creation of jobs, and increased visitor numbers and local spend.”
BBC Radio Solent Interview with Sir David:
Sir David Attenborough, Local World, Abbey104 Radio
Notes to Editors
About Lyme Regis Museum Trust
The promotion of object-centred learning in its widest sense is the foundation on which the Trust is anchored. The Trust’s mission is to educate, inspire and entertain its visitors and users, encouraging aspiration in current and future audiences. Our Trust recognizes that our museum has the potential to change lives through its activities, and this will be the guiding principle shaping our actions.
Lyme Regis Museum, a charity, is open all year and its small professional staff is supported by a talented team of trustees and volunteers who provide governance, expert advice on business and academic matters and research into Lyme’s history. Volunteers also actively fundraise on behalf of the museum, and operate the museum’s admission point and shop. Its auspicious patrons include author Tracy Chevalier, Professor Richard Lane, Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, Sir Crispin Tickell, Sir David Attenborough and previous Honorary Curator Max Hebditch. It is the most used museum by schools in Dorset.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and use #HLFsupported.
About Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership
Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to promote local economic growth and prosperity. Acting as a strategic gateway to funding, Dorset LEP supports and delivers projects of long term economic benefit for all in Dorset through cross sector partnership. For more information visit Dorset LEP http://www.dorsetlep.co.uk/
£56,250 investment was secured by Dorset LEP via the Government’s Local Growth Fund.