A BRONZE sculpture of one of Cumbria's leading historic women is due to installed in Kirkby Stephen as a permanent reminder of her significance to the area.

Local sculptor Diane Lawrenson has been working on the Lady Anne's Way statue which depicts the formidable figure of Lady Anne Clifford, who lived from 1590 to 1676.

The 6ft 8in bronze was last week, Wednesday, February 12, given permission by Eden District Council for it to be sited on the pavement outside the Tourist Information Centre on the town's Central Market Square.

It is due to be unveiled sometime in the spring when it is complete.

Diane, on her website, said: "The sculpture captures the spirit of the indomitable Lady Anne Clifford with her steely determination, walking the Lady Anne's Way long distance foot path through old Westmorland."

The sculptor has been one of the chief proponents of the statue in her bid to cement the area's Westmorland identity.

In outlining the reasons to The Cumberland News she said: "The people are concerned about their loss of identity.

"Many of Kirkby Stephen's, inhabitants, are descendant from ancient Westmorland families who have been established, for generations in the area.

"There were also fears, the Kirkby Stephen visitor centre would have to close, from lack of funds to support it, though it is run by volunteers.

"Kirkby Stephen is sandwiched between the two national parks, and may only become a thorough fare for travellers, hurrying to their destinations.

"For the curious visitor, there would be no centre for information, no encouragement to stop and stay.

"A community lost, swallowed up in the name of progress?

"How to bring to the notice of the public that Kirkby Stephen is a town worth visiting, an attractive town with it's own rich heritage.

"A town that needs to retain it's identity, so the generations to come are encouraged to be proud of their area and learn about their history, acknowledged and celebrate."

"Today women from the past are recognised and celebrated in Bronze.

"A sculpture to raise the profile of Lady A may become the catalyst to creating a focus on this area."

Lady Anne Clifford was born the only surviving child of George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland.

She became known for the dogged determination in the 40 year fight to inherit her father's estates after he died when she was 15, which initially went to her uncle.

The project was made possible through four private donations, to Kirkby Stephen Town Council, totalling £16,700.

Christian Barnes, clerk of the council said she was a "very significant figure for the area".