A striking image of a long-tailed tit taken by an 11-year-old has been chosen as the overall winner of the prestigious RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2008 (YPA).
Molly Armiger’s photograph of the cheeky garden bird peering through her window wowed the judges who handed the Suffolk schoolgirl the top accolade at today’s exclusive awards ceremony at HM Tower of London.
New Countryfile host and former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker announced the winners of the renowned competition, which is sponsored by Olympus and Warners Midlands.
He said: "Without a doubt these are very prestigious awards. There are thousands of entries in this competition and everyone wants to win this one."
Molly, from Cavendish, Suffolk, saw her photograph chosen ahead of the thousands of other entries in this year’s awards.
She said she was thrilled to have won the top prize with a photograph of the long-tailed tit which had built a nest in her garden hedge.
"I thought I was lucky to get through to the final. I saw the winners from 2007 and thought they were amazing. I never expected to win. I was absolutely ecstatic when my name was read out," said Molly.
RSPCA chief photographer and YPA judge Andrew Forsyth said: “Molly’s spontaneous snapshot packs a powerful punch, beating off some serious competition to be the overall winner.”
“Here is a real relationship between photographer and subject, conveying a rare and intimate moment of connection with an animal that is, quite literally, very close to home. Molly’s photo was a real hit with the judges and a worthy winner.”
Molly was presented with the YPA trophy and some top Olympus camera equipment, which she will be able to put to the test on an exclusive photoshoot with the RSPCA.
Also celebrating at the awards was six-year-old Evan Shelton, of Melton Mowbray, who become one of the competition’s youngest ever prize winners. He was crowned the under 12 winner for his photo of a common blue butterfly roost.
Matthew Burrard-Lucas, 19, of Sevenoaks, Kent, took first place in the 12-18 category with a striking image of a fox. It was the second year in a row that Matthew has enjoyed success at YPA after he won the Portfolio Prize in 2007.
Taking this year’s Olympus Portfolio Prize was Curtis Fowler, of Barry, South Glamorgan, who dazzled the judges with his selection of images taken during a visit to Drusillas Park, in East Sussex. His portfolio of five photographs includes great shots of an otter, meerkat, lemur, monkey and flamingo. It is a remarkable achievement for former junior international badminton star, who took up photography after he was forced to give up the sport because of injury.
For more information please visit the RSPCA website.