Winner announced for British Heart Foundation landscape photo competition

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Back in February we gave you the opportunity to become the British Heart Foundation’s official photographer on one of their stunning overseas treks. Well, today we can announce that a winner has been chosen!

Entrants were set the task of photographing the spectacular beauty of some of the UK’s most picturesque locations in order to encourage others to visit them. To be considered, contestants had the choice of Hadrian’s Wall, the South Downs National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Peak District or central Scotland, all locations where the BHF runs fund-raising treks and hikes.

The competition closed on 30 March 2014, with the winners being chosen shortly after. And the judging panel of Geoff Harris (editor of Digital Camera magazine), Nancy Prior (head of events at the BHF) and top landscape photographer David Clapp were clear in their choice of Sarah Willingham as overall winner for her superb shot of the South Downs National Park in West Sussex.

Sarah, 38, captured this beautiful shot in Wilmington, an area that she loves to visit with her family. The property consultant from Eastbourne described how she was “totally blown away” to hear that she had won the competition.

“I have been a keen amateur photographer for the last three to four years and this is the first competition I have entered after being encouraged by a friend, so I am absolutely thrilled,” she explained.

She will now spend up to 10 days as the BHF’s official photographer on a trek to one of the world’s most impressive landscapes. Her choice of locations includes the BHF’s Kilimanjaro Trek, the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal, the Dalai Lama Trek in India and the Kenya Rift Valley Bike Ride.

“I am extremely excited about the prize – all of the destinations sound so appealing,” added Sarah. “I now have the difficult job of deciding which destination to choose from.”

Sarah’s winning image will now be featured in the May issue of Digital Camera magazine, so be sure to get your copy to see the photo in all its glory!

Runners up

The judges also chose three runners up for their fantastic shots, each of whom has won a place on one of the BHF’s hikes or treks around the British Isles.

The youngest runner up was 19-year-old student Louis Tierney. He was chosen for his striking shot taken at the Kinder Reservoir in the Peak District and described how winning was a dream come true.

“I have always felt that photography will take me to exciting places and enable me to meet interesting people,” he said. “Only now winning the runner-up prize do I feel that my dreams are becoming a reality.

Stephen Hollin, a 53-year-old postman from Sheffield, was selected for his photo of Win Hill in the Peak District. He was thrilled to be recognised for the effort he has put into his photography, explaining that achieving the shot meant getting up at 4am and climbing 636m to reach the summit of Win Hill, all with only a small torch to light the way.

NHS procurement officer Mark Lister, 30, had his image selected as a runner up. His winning shot was taken during a family holiday near the village of Grinton in the Yorkshire Dales. He described how the alternating showers and sun produced an array of rainbows, affording him the perfect opportunity to shoot a single tree dramatically silhouetted against the sky.

A Durham science technician was also selected as a runner up for his shot of Hadrian’s Wall. Mark Colledge, who works at Belmont Community School, took an evocative shot of the famous ‘Sycamore Gap’ along the wall. He shot the photo during a charity walk and stated that he wanted to “relive the moment of speed marching along the wall but at a much slower pace, taking in the beautiful scenery and the history of the wall.”

“Dramatic landscapes at their best”

The BHF’s Nancy Prior lauded the winners, saying that they “reflect[ed] the task we set photographers, to capture the natural and dramatic landscapes at their best where we hold BHF hikes and treks, and inspire people to visit them.

“Our hikes and treks take place in some of the most beautiful parts of the British countryside,” she added. “They are no stroll in the park, but with the right training, crossing the finishing line is an amazing feeling. Whatever BHF hike or trek you do – nine or 60 miles – you’re getting yourself fit and healthy as well as helping to save the lives of others.”

The treks are a vital way for the BHF to raise funds in its fight against coronary heart disease. They help raise awareness of the work the BHF does and encourage more people to give to the charity.

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