24 July 2013

Environment minister presents photo-awards in memory of murdered Sussex Farmer

9 year old Eloise Rux-Burton from Chipping Norton, Oxford with environment minister Mr Richard Benyon MP was a runner-up in the under-16 category for her delightful image of a Christmas in WalesFamily and friends of Julian Gardner, the Sussex farmer who was tragically killed while defending his property, were visibly moved when environment minister, Richard Benyon paid a touching tribute to Julian when he presented the trophies to the winners of an annual photographic competition, set up in his memory.

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), a leading wildlife research charity, launched this inspiring photographic competition in 2011 in conjunction with family and friends of Julian Gardner from Robertsbridge, East Sussex.

Julian was a life-long member of the trust and a keen supporter of its wildlife research and the donation from his family and friends funded the commissioning of two magnificent bronze hare trophies to present to the winners each year in memory of Mr Gardner.

Presenting the awards to three winners from Northumberland, Surrey and Oxfordshire, Mr Benyon expressed his huge pleasure in awarding the trophies to the worthy winners of this inspiring competition, which was judged by world-class professional wildlife photographer, Laurie Campbell.

Graham Dixon with his family from Hexham, Northumberland was a runner-up in the adult category for his racing hare image. Graham (second left) is pictured with Richard Benyon (centre) and his brown hare imageThe winning trophy in the adult category went to Martin Munn of Smallfield, Surrey, while Eloise Rux-Burton, aged just nine, from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire was a runner-up and the youngest placed entrant in the under 16 category. Also in attendance at the ceremony was Graham Dixon, from Hexham in Northumberland, who came second in the adult category.

The judges were clearly impressed with nine-year old Eloise Rux-Burton’s atmospheric landscape, depicting a Christmas in Wales. Eloise attended the ceremony with her father and sister and was visibly nervous as she received her prize from the Minister for her wonderfully evocative landscape picture. In the judge’s opinion Eloise showed huge skill at capturing a moment in time and could have a promising career ahead of her.

Martin Munn from Smallfield, Surrey was the winner in the adult category and is pictured with his winning bronze hare trophy, which was presented by environment minister, Richard Benyon MPIn the adult category, Mr Benyon was particularly impressed by the image created by runner-up Graham Dixon from Hexham in Northumberland. The image of a racing hare, was a subject close to Mr Benyon’s heart as he has a healthy population of brown hares on his own estate in Berkshire and is particularly passionate about creating the right habitats and environment for these noble creatures. Mr Dixon a keen amateur wildlife photographer, said, “I have a life-long love of wildlife photography and I am very lucky to live in such a rural location in Hexham which offers huge opportunities to take natural images of wildlife in my own back garden. Over the years I have collected a vast catalogue of nature photographs and being a runner-up in this hugely inspiring competition is the icing on the cake.”

But the judges were unanimous about the winning entry by Martin Munn from Smallfield, near Crawley in Surrey. The stunningly detailed image of a ladybird cleverly captured resting in a yellow tulip is spectacular. Mr Munn who received the magnificent trophy of a bronze sculpture of a brown hare was thrilled at winning this prestigious award. He said, “It is a real honour to receive this award from Mr Benyon and I am delighted that my photograph won the competition. I love taking pictures of wildlife and winning a competition of this calibre and to be judged by one of our top wildlife photographers is a huge accolade.”

Christopher Page of Orpington, Kent won the 16-and-under category for his picture of a glorious autumnal woodland scene, but was unable to attend the prize-giving ceremony and his trophy will be presented at a later date.

The GWCT is inviting entries for next year’s competition and amateur photographs should submit images that reflect the ‘real countryside’ that Julian loved so much. The GWCT/Julian Gardner Award is open to all amateur photographers and is split into two categories; adult and a 16 and under category. The closing date is 31st May 2014 and the two winners will be presented with their trophies at the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace in 2014. For more information visit: www.gwct.org.uk/photocompetition

END

Photocredits: Jon Farmer at Over & Under Sporting Photography.

Photocaptions:

The winners:

  • 9 year old Eloise Rux-Burton from Chipping Norton, Oxford with environment minister Mr Richard Benyon MP was a runner-up in the under-16 category for her delightful image of a Christmas in Wales.
  • Graham Dixon with his family from Hexham, Northumberland was a runner-up in the adult category for his racing hare image. Graham (second left) is pictured with Richard Benyon (centre) and his brown hare image.
  • Martin Munn from Smallfield, Surrey was the winner in the adult category and is pictured with his winning bronze hare trophy, which was presented by environment minister, Richard Benyon MP.

For copies of the winning or runner-up photographs, please contact Daniel O'Mahony on 01425 651060 or domahony@gwct.org.uk.


Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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