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11 year old wins 2003 RSPCA Young Photographer Award

11 year old wins 2003 RSPCA Young Photographer Award - Gareth Newton from Manchester shoots amazing underwater close-up of hippopotamus.

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11 year old wins 2003 RSPCA Young Photographer AwardEleven-year-old Gareth Newton from Manchester has won the 2003 RSPCA Young Photographer Award with his amazing underwater close-up of an intrigued hippopotamus. The award, sponsored by Olympus and Truprint, is now in its thirteenth year and encourages budding young photographers to take pictures of animals, ranging from family pets and local wildlife, to exotic animals whilst on the other side of the world.

This year, a massive 8,000 entries were received from youngsters all over the UK, making it the most hotly contested competition yet. Television presenter and wildlife photographer, Chris Packham, comments: “The winning entries this year are very strong and make a powerful exhibition. This competition gives the children a lot of scope and they respond very well to this, photographing a wide range of farm animals, wild animals and pets. The winning photo is a fantastic portrait. The picture makes the most of the hippo's big, bulbous head and really shows its character. I love the movement, the colours and streaks of light in the photo, and the fact the hippo is under water.”

Gareth won an Olympus Mju 300 Digital camera and a £250 cash prize from Truprint, which were presented to his grandparents earlier today by Chris Packham during an awards ceremony at the prestigious Spencer Gallery, at the Natural History Museum in London.

Although he could not be there in person, Gareth commented: “Visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida and seeing the hippo was cool but winning this competition with my picture is really fantastic, this is the biggest and best thing I've ever won. I wish I could be there at the award ceremony but my Grandma and Grandad will be there for me."

Entries were split into two age groups, under 12’s and 12-18s. The under 12 category was clinched by eleven-year-old Emma Sture, from Ulverston in Cumbria, with a striking close-up shot of her pet guinea pig, Sandy. Fifteen-year-old Anja Jones from County Antrim soared above the competition to success in the 12-18s category with her winning photo of a seagull in the sky.

Both Emma and Anja were awarded an Olympus Mju V compact camera and £100 from Truprint. In addition, eight runners-up will each get an Olympus Mju III 100 compact camera and £50 from Truprint.

Sara Cubitt, head of marketing communications at Olympus, added: “Olympus is glad to be able to encourage children to get creative with their cameras. Judging by the quality of the entries this year, it’s plain to see that they all took it very seriously indeed. They should all feel very proud of their efforts - we certainly are.”

The 34 winning photos will be displayed at American diner ‘Tootsies’, Old Brompton Road, London until the end of January 2004.

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