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Winner of design for Emily Williamson statue to be announced this weekend

On Saturday 13 November the winning design of a statue for conservationist and founder of the RSPB Emily Williamson (1855-1936) will be announced at Manchester Art Gallery, where the four shortlisted designs have been exhibited.

12,000 people have voted from across the four nations of the UK and around the world for their favourite design, with many having seen the maquettes during their tour of RSPB reserves around the UK.

The campaign to recognise Emily’s legacy began two years ago; firstly with the shock that the history books had not acknowledged her role in founding the RSPB and then the realisation that her powerful legacy could inspire action and activism today.

Emily’s campaigning began with a quest to right a wrong. Victorian fashions were feather obsessed, fuelling the importation of thousands of birds from across the world to the UK, who were killed for their plumage. Nature lover Emily sought to bring this to an end and held a meeting in 1889 at her home The Croft in Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury, Manchester that would change the course of history leading ultimately to legislation to end murderous millinery and the founding of the RSPB.

It is hoped that Emily’s statue will act as a catalyst for change: a symbol of what can be achieved, and a reminder that we can all play our part in bringing about change. The project is being led by the Emily Williamson Statue Campaign in partnership with the RSPB.

What’s taking place on 13 November?
From 4.00 p.m. the result of the statue shortlisting competition will be announced by Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The winning sculptor will then give a short speech. There will be the opportunity for photographs, filming and interviews.

What will be the next steps?
Fundraising for the Emily Williamson statue will continue alongside activities with the local community and schools. Emily’s statue will be unveiled on 17 April 2023 (her birthday) and will stand in Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury, in the grounds of her former home.