Two hundred years after his birth, a statue will be unveiled to honour Arctic explorer John Rae in his native Orkney, where most people believe history treated him unfairly.

The donor of the full size bronze statue, made by the Orcadian sculptor Ian Scott of North Ronaldsay, has asked to remain anonymous until the ceremony.

But he or she is expected to make a speech at the unveiling on the Pier Head in Stromness.

A conference on John Rae's life is also being hosted by Stromness Museum.

A stone plinth of local granite donated by Orkney Islands Council is already in place ready to receive the sculpture.

Vice-Convener Jim Foubister will be speaking at the ceremony. He said: "We are pleased to be contributing in some small way during this important year to a permanent reminder of the achievements of John Rae. To many Orcadians, John Rae has not had the recognition he deserves for too long now.

"I hope the statue will capture the imagination of people both in Orkney and further afield and help to strengthen his place in history."

Rae, who lived from 1813 to 1893, was born in Orphir and spent much of his life exploring northern Canada. He discovered the final part of the Northwest Passage, an accomplishment which should arguably have seen him remembered as one of the most important explorers of his time.

However, his remarkable achievement was overshadowed by controversy when he reported on the fate of the lost expedition led by Sir John Franklin, an English naval officer, and the possibility that the crew members had resorted to cannibalism in a desperate bid to survive.

A campaign to discredit Rae was waged by Lady Franklin and Charles Dickens after he claimed to have discovered evidence of the cannibalism. He is buried in the grounds of St Magnus' Cathedral, Kirkwall.