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Follow in the steps of a pioneering woman of science

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 22, 2012

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Fossil fish and sharks will be among the attractions at Lyme Regis Museum this weekend during a series of events celebrating the significance of the town as the birthplace of palaeontology.

Mary Anning Weekend offers two days of activities looking at the history of the town's contribution to science and the intriguing life of the world's most famous fossil collector.

Born in 1799, Mary Anning became known around the world for a number of important finds she made in the Jurassic marine fossil beds along the shores of the Devon-Dorset border. Her work contributed to fundamental changes that occurred during her lifetime in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.

Searching in the area's Blue Lias cliffs, it was dangerous work and Mary nearly lost her life in 1833 during a landslide that killed her dog. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton to be correctly identified, the first two plesiosaur skeletons ever found, the UK's first pterosaur skeleton, and a number of important fish fossils.

As a woman she was not fully recognised by the scientific establishment during her lifetime, but in 2010 – 163 years after her death – the Royal Society included her in a list of the ten British women to have most influenced the history of science. During this weekend's homage to her, Lyme Regis Museum is offering a number of opportunities to examine and learn more about fossils. Stefanie Klug of the University of Bristol will uncover the secrets of Jurassic sharks, while Oxford University's Matt Friedman will tell the story of the coelacanth fish, a living fossil long thought to have become extinct 65 million years ago but rediscovered in 1938 still swimming the earth's oceans.

Mary Anning Weekend at Lyme Regis Museum runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30. To book talks or walks, call 01297 443370 or email walks@lyme regismuseum.co.uk

OTHER EVENTS THIS WEEK

BARNSTAPLE

Queens Theatre: Julian Clary on Wednesday 7.45pm; Spiers & Boden, Thursday 7.45pm; Bugsy Malone, Saturday 7pm.

Roundswell Community Centre: Barnstaple Keyboard and Light Music Club presents Joanne Naulls from Lincolnshire. Visitors welcome. Refreshments and raffle. Tuesday 7.45pm.

BLACK TORRINGTON

Village Hall: Craft and table-top sale, Saturday 10am-noon.

BOVEY TRACEY

Riverside Mill: Rivers and Streams Exhibition. Photography by Jem Southam. Until Nov 4.

CALSTOCK

The Old Chapel: Calstock Arts present an evening of music with Sarah Gillespie and Gilad Atzmon. Tickets £15 on door. Saturday 7pm for 8pm. Details 01822 833183.

DARTMOUTH

Flavel: Chick Lit Night with Adele Parks (bestselling author of 12 novels). Treats Wednesday from 6pm, talk from 7.30pm. All welcome.

EXETER

Westpoint: Creative Stitches. Thurs-Friday 9.30am-5pm, Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun 9.30am-5pm.

Exeter Cathedral: Levellers – folk/rock veterans, part of their UK Acoustic Tour. Wednesday 7pm for 7.30pm.

The Palace Gate Centre Baptist Church: Exeter Folk Dance Club meet Friday 7.30pm.

FALMOUTH

Princess Pavilion: An Audience With Mr Nice: Howard Marks, Friday 8pm.

FRADDON

Kingsley Village, Penhale: Talk by Andrew Langdon on Cornish Crosses followed by 27th AGM of Cornwall Heritage Trust. Sunday 3pm.

HAYLE

Day Care Centre: Hayle Flower Club meet Wednesday 7.30pm. No competition. Bring container and secateurs. New members and visitors welcome. Wheelchair-friendly.

HALWILL

Parish Hall: Dance with A Bit 'O Luck and John Luxton. Sat 8pm. £4.50 admission bring and share supper. Proceeds for Halwill Primary School.

KINGSKERSWELL

St Mary's church Hall: Bring and buy, coffee morning for South Devon Support Group National Osteoporosis Society. Saturday 10am-noon.

LAUNCESTON

Eagle House Hotel: Launceston Electronic Organ Club presents Jean Martyn from Staffordshire. Admission £7 members, non-members welcome. Tuesday 7.30pm. Wheelchair access available.

LIFTON

Fairground Heritage Centre: Fairground weekend with live steam, plus a collection of model fairground/circus transport and rides. Sat-Sun.

LONGDOWN nr EXETER

St John the Baptist Parish Church: Exhibition and sale of local art and crafts. Fri 4pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm. Admission free. Refreshments available.

Holcombe Burnell Church: Arts and crafts exhibition. Proceeds for the church and ELF. Fri 4pm-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-4pm.

LOOE

Lancare Farm, Pelynt: Lanreath & District Plough Association Ploughing match and demonstrations. Adults £4. Saturday from 10am.

LYDFORD

Nicholls Hall: Talk by Dr Tom Greeves on Reddiford, Standon and Yellowmead, once thriving farms on Dartmoor. Tickets £5 on the door, including refreshments. Friday 7.30pm.

MARLDON

Village Hall: Plymouth G&S Fellowship present HMS Pinafore in Concert. Saturday 7.30pm. Tickets £10 from 01803 553846.

MELDON

Village Hall: Okehampton Sequence Dance Club meet Wednesday 8pm-10.30pm. Beginners welcome. £1.50pp.

NEWTON ABBOT

Courtenay Centre: Rebel Country present Chris James. Admission £6. Fri 8pm-11pm.

OKEHAMPTON

Charter Hall: Coffee morning in aid of Cancer Research UK. Saturday 9.30am-noon.

PLYMOUTH

Theatre Royal: Singer Marti Pellow stars as The Narrator in Willy Russell's smash hit musical Blood Brothers. Mon-Sat 7.30pm, matinee Thurs/Sat 2.30pm.

Drum Theatre: The Astronaut's Chair. Mon-Sat 7.45pm. Until Oct 6.

St John's Church and Hall, Hooe: Exhibition of paintings by the Quayside Artists of Oreston and crafts of the district. Friday-Sat 10am-4pm. Many pictures for sale.

St Edward's Church Hall, Home Park Avenue: Plymouth Railway Circle present Two Routes to Tavistock – Part One, the GWR Route by Bernard Mills. Monday 7.30pm. Visitors welcome.

PORTHLEVEN

Public hall: Porthleven Old Cornwall Society Memories Afternoon. Tues 2.30pm.

REDRUTH

Methodist Church Jubilee Hall: Bric a brac, crafts, books, clothes, etc. £5 per table. Refreshments. Saturday 10am-1pm. Contact 01209 821976.

STOKE CLIMSLAND

Venterdon: Songs of Praise with Mr Gordon Mortimore followed by supper and sale or Harvest produce for the Callington Foodbank. Tuesday 7.15pm.

ST MINVER

Church: An Evening with Jane Austen. Saturday 7pm for 7.30pm. Tickets £10, at the door or St Minver Post Office.

ST NEOT

Methodist Chapel: Harvest service and sale of produce. Monday 7pm.

ST STEPHEN-IN-BRANNEL

Brannel Room: Coffee morning to be held in aid of Macmillan Nurses. Friday 10am-12noon.

TEIGNMOUTH

Carlton Theatre: Return of Fourth Wall Theatre Group. Thrillers. Thursday. 8pm.

TORQUAY

Princess Theatre: TOPS musical productions presents Me & My Girl. Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm. Until Sept 29; Charlie Landsborough, folk, country and gospel. Sunday 7.30pm.

TREVEIGHAN

Chapel: Sunday Special: What is the Gospel? An evening with The Faith Mission and the Tintagel Worship Group. Sunday 6pm.

TRURO

Hall for Cornwall: Blofeld & Baxter, Test Match Special on Monday; King Pleasure & the Biscuit Boys on Tuesday; Richard Street in Concert (the music of the Temptations) on Wednesday; Julian Clary on Thursday; The Sensational 60s (the Union Gap, Herman's Hermits etc) on Friday; The Black Dyke Band on Saturday.

Point Road: Cats Protection Cornwall Adoption Centre 10th Anniversary celebrations. Craft, cake stalls raffle. Sunday 11am-4pm.

Royal Cornwall Museum: Kurt Jackson and St Just exhibition of paintings and objects. Until Nov 2.

Hall for Cornwall: Truro Country Market. Tuesday 9.15am-3pm.

WITHYCOMBE

Methodist Church hall: Exmouth Folk Dance Club with Wendy Hoare with Ivor Hyde and Holly. Thursday 8pm.

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