RSPB The Lodge

Statue campaign for RSPB founder and eco pioneer Emily Williamson visits The Lodge in Sandy as part of national tour

Four miniature statues will be on display - and you can vote for your favourite

Monday, 16th August 2021, 1:42 pm

The campaign to create a statue of RSPB founder and eco pioneer Emily Williamson will be visiting the charity's headquarters at The Lodge in Sandy tomorrow (August 17).

Four sculptors have each created a beautiful design of a statue for Emily and the maquettes (miniature statues) will be on display at The Lodge.

Visitors will be able to find out more about the project and vote for their favourite.

Emily’s (1855-1936) campaigning began with her horror at the fashion for using feathers in the creation of hats; a cruel practice that reached a peak in Victorian times and often saw whole birds used within ostentatious designs.

It was a huge industry that saw the importation of millions of birds for their feathers and threatened the extinction of whole species.

Emily’s campaign began with a meeting over tea and cakes in 1889 and would ultimately lead to a change in legislation in 1921 with the Plumage Act, and the founding of the Society for the Protection of Birds - which in 1904 would receive royal ascent to become the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

And yet, Emily’s story has received little recognition and her inspiring legacy has been largely unexplored.

Now, it is hoped that a statue of Emily, which will stand in the grounds of her Manchester home, will help change that

Visitors to RSPB The Lodge Nature Reserve and Gardens will be able to find out more about Emily’s story, see the four maquettes that have been created by the final shortlisted sculptors, vote for their favourite and meet Chair of the Emily Williamson Statue Committee, Andrew Simcock.

Andrew said: “The public have already helped us to shortlist to the final four sculptors and I want to encourage as many people as possible to now vote for their favourite design.

"We want Emily’s statue to be representative of the people that it seeks to inspire and our tour of RSPB reserves will be a wonderful way of reaching and engaging with people to share her incredible story.

"It’s also a poignant reminder of the legacy that Emily helped to create, with over 200 reserves now just a part of the work of the RSPB, and it is only fitting that the RSPB’s headquarters should be part of the tour. I’m really looking forward to our afternoon at The Lodge Nature Reserve and Gardens, a very special place offering a wonderful mix of wildlife and heritage.”

Andrew will be at The Lodge from 2pm until 4pm. The Lodge’s facilities include a Wild Play Trail for children, four nature trails, a shop serving refreshments and a play area.

Those that cannot make it to The Lodge can also vote online. Voting will be open until the end of October, with the final selected design to be announced in early November.

The Emily Williamson Statue Campaign’s tour of RSPB reserves will take in the length and breadth of the country, visiting nine reserves. These include Loch Leven in Scotland, South Stack on Anglesey in Wales and Belfast’s Window on Wildlife in Northern Ireland.

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