Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The GWCT Julian Gardner photo competition winners recieve their trophies at the Game Fair

The GWCT stand at a hot Game Fair
 Last weekend was of course the annual Game Fair, held this year on the Blenheim estate in Oxfordshire. It was certainly a hot affair on the Friday in particular, which was the first day of three, with temperatures reaching into the 30s. The bucket we have by our GWCT stand filled with water, had to be filled regularly as an unbelievably wide range of dogs drank their fill.

One of the highlights of the show for me anyway, was awarding the trophies to the winners of this year’s Julian Gardner photographic competition. Julian was a farmer and lifelong supporter of the GWCT, who was tragically murdered on his farm, attempting to protect his property. His family made a donation to the trust in his memory and this wonderful annual competition is the result.

This is the third year it has been run and the number of entries has rocketed and the standard is, well to put it bluntly, bloody amazing!! Laurie Campbell, the brilliant wildlife photographer is the head judge, with Louise Shervington, GWCT head of publications being the other expert eye cast over the entries. The third judge is me – very much the amateur of the trio!

This year the trophies were given to the winners by Julian’s sister Anna Murphy, which made this ceremony very special indeed. Julian was so obviously surrounded by the most wonderful group of family and friends who all continue to take a massive interest in this competition and are thrilled by the way it has taken off. The next day, another friend of the family, Caroline Boyde, popped onto the stand to give me a cheque for the GWCT, raised by a local group – the Robertsbridge Bonfire Society – amazing!

Young Mairi Eyres from North Wales, the winner of the 16 and under competition completely charmed us all! She was chuffed to have been allowed by her school to take the last day of term off to come to the Game Fair and she chatted away to us all (and the press!) as though she did this sort of thing every day! Her mum told me that she is passionate about her hobby and spends most of her time with camera in hand. Mairi told me though, that one day she would like to read Zoology at university. I think that there is absolutely no doubt that this is not the last we will be seeing of this remarkable young talent. Zoology degree coupled with such photographic skills – all I can say is “watch out Laurie”!!

Shaun Barrow hails from Devon and his photograph of a Cuckoo got the vote of all three judges because of its fabulous movement, yet with that fixed still eye, taking up centre stage.  This was the first competition that Shaun has ever entered and he seemed genuinely surprised that his photo had won. I told him that his modesty should from now on be put to one side, so that we can all get to see the rest of his portfolio of photographs, because if they are anything like this winner, we are in for a treat.

Along with modesty, the other obvious quality that Shaun possesses in abundance is “patience”. He told me that he had spotted Cuckoos landing on this particular tree and so he waited for hour after hour, until eventually he caught the shot he was after!

So, Game Fair is over for another year, but fear not – the photographic competition is open for you to send your entries in -  http://www.gwct.org.uk/wildlife/the-julian-gardner-awards/  - so go on, why not give it a go?

Teresa Dent, (CEO GWCT) Mairi and Anna

Teresa, Shaun and Anna

The adult winner - what a stunning photo of a Cuckoo

The under 16 winner - a little beetle in a green world

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