Author: Lucy Culkin

The Jurassic Coast Trust and Lyme Regis Museum have been overwhelmed with the support from fossil fans the world over for our 24-hour crowdfunding campaign to purchase Mary Anning’s letter to William Buckland.

We raised just over £40,000 via our JustGiving platform and from generous pledges from other organisations, with contributions coming from more than 600 different people.

Unfortunately, we were outbid for the letter which sold for over £100,000, more than eight times the guide price given earlier in the week.

Nevertheless, the experience made for a terrific demonstration of the groundswell of support for the Jurassic Coast and its unique heritage, both amongst local communities and palaeontology fans from further afield.

This campaign formed one of the early elements of the Trust’s Jurassic Coast Collection project, which aims to collate and display significant fossil specimens and other objects that demonstrate the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.

Lucy Culkin, CEO, says, “ It has been a phenomenal 24 hours where true partnership working and collaboration came into action. We are of course disappointed that the letter will not be in Mary’s home town and that perhaps it will not be as accessible to visitors as we would have liked, but hope the buyer may get in touch to talk to us about how we might work together for the benefit of future aspiring geologists and palaeontologists who visit the Jurassic Coast each year”.

David Tucker, Director of Lyme Regis Museum added, “We’re very grateful to all the people who have contributed to the crowdfunding campaign. Their generosity has been overwhelming and we thank them very much for their kindness.

The museum would also specifically like to thank the Jurassic Coast Trust for leading this initiative, especially geologist Chris Reedman who organised the crowdfunding campaign. Irrespective of this setback, our museum is committed to doing all we can to tell the story of Mary Anning and Lyme’s other great geologists both on the site of her home and on the beaches where she helped change our view of the world.

For those of you who so generously donated to the campaign, we will of course give you the opportunity to have your donation refunded, however should you wish to continue to support the Jurassic Coast Trust and Lyme Regis Museum, we have projects to which these funds could make a significant and timely difference.

For example, The Jurassic Coast Collection has an acquisition plan to identify and acquire some of the most unique and scientifically important specimens of fossils which demonstrate the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.

We could use these funds to purchase fossils from collectors and then display them in museums and visitor centres along the coast to tell the story of the ‘Walk Through Time’, which demonstrates the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous era which make up our coastline, and why it is globally recognised as an iconic example of geoheritage and designated as a World Heritage Site.

An enormous thank you again to all of those who supported the campaign and helped us to publicise it. If you have donated, we will be in touch with you again directly in the coming days.

Mary Anning with her dog, Tray. Circa 1840 with Golden Cap in the background.

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