Park life’s a winner for snap happy Ben

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treeA picture of a cold, misty morning in Acton Park, Wrexham, was worth £100 of high street vouchers to Ben Wilkinson after his snap won a nationwide photography competition.

The competition was run by Forestry Commission Wales who wanted to capture the timeless beauty of our woodlands to celebrate the International Year of the Forest.

Children and young people from all over Wales snapped to it and inundated Forestry Commission Wales with 490 new images of one of our most beautiful habitats, as seen through the eyes of the next generation.

Rhosnesni High School, Wrexham, pupil Ben, aged 14, won the 12 to18-year-old category with a photograph which the judges said, "really captured the moment of a cold, misty morning".

He was presented with his gift voucher and framed copy of his picture at the school by Forestry Commission Wales North Wales Education Manager Ffion Hughes and the Woodlands for Learning team mascot, Sara the Squirrel.

Ben - who is studying photography for his GCSEs - said, "I'm delighted! I thought it was a nice picture, but I never thought I'd actually win the competition."

In addition to his personal prize, Ben also wins on behalf of his school, a free bus for his class to come out to a woodland of his teacher's choice to take part in a session led by a member of the Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning team.

Shauna Coleman, aged 14, of St. Joesph's Catholic and Anglican High School, Wrexham, was runner-up in this category, receiving £75 of high street vouchers and a framed copy of her photo.

Third place went to Tom McGlynn, 16, King Henry VIII Comprehensive school, Abergavenny, who received £50 of vouchers and a framed copy of his photo.

The winner of the under 11s category was Kendra Perry, aged 9, from St Michaels Roman Catholic Primary School, Newport, whose image of autumn leaves at Belle View Park, Newport, caught the judges' eye.

A picture of "a beautiful Welsh woodland scene" near Cyffylliog, Ruthin, won second place for Chloe Hunt, of Ysgol Llanbedr, near Ruthin, Denbighshire, and third place went to James Parkin of Shirenewton Primary School, Monmouthshire, who took his photo during a Forest School session in local woods.

The competition was judged by Isobel Cameron, Forestry Commission GB photographer, Natalie Moyce, Forestry Commission Wales's web manager and Nicky Maysmor, photography graduate and member of the Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning team.

Nicky said, "This competition really captured the imagination of the children and young people of Wales.

"We were astounded by the number and quality of entries and feel the winners have really captured the timeless beauty of our woodlands."

The winning entries can be viewed on the Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning webpage - and follow the links to the Woodlands for Learning page.

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