TWELVE local photographers are celebrating after being chosen as winners for a popular county calendar.

The annual photography competition run by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust aims to highlight the beauty of the county’s wildlife and wild places. Winning images this year range from snowy tree tops and shafts of sunlight in a woodland glade to starlings sitting on an old boot and a brown hare in a summer meadow.

Wendy Carter, organiser of the competition for the trust, explained: “Worcestershire is home to some very talented photographers and with more than 220 entries from 44 photographers, judging was tough.

“The twelve winning entries are great images and we’re really proud to have another great calendar that will help to raise funds for our conservation work right across the county.”

Winners receive a copy of the calendar with the overall winner also receiving a print of their image donated by London Camera Exchange in Worcester.

More than 200 people took part in a public vote promoted through the trust’s website and social media channels to choose the overall winner.

The winning image, which will feature on the front cover of the calendar, was of a brown hare taken by Gill Smith of Rochford, near Tenbury Wells.

She said:“I was amazed to receive a phone call saying that my photos had been selected for the 2019 calendar, stunned to be told that one image had been selected to go head to head for the front cover & then thrilled to find my hare picture had won.

“I am a keen photographer and spend many hours walking the countryside in all weathers with my camera. This has introduced me to the wildlife that shares these spaces, from skylarks above us, hares in the fields and dunnocks in the garden - it’s all there for the seeing.

“Thank you to everyone who voted. Please buy the calendar and each month you will be rewarded with an image of Worcestershire to remind you to go out and enjoy this beautiful county.”

The winning images appear as full A4 pages in the conservation charity’s 2019 calendar with a further 13 runner’s-up having their images appear as smaller insets.

Staff at the trust are helped in their judging by Jason Curtis of Wyre Wildlife and Pete Walkden of Pete Walkden Photography, both local wildlife photographers and previous winners of the competition.

The annual competition runs from November to April and is open to photographers taking images of wildlife and wildlife-friendly places across Worcestershire.

The calendar is available to buy from the trust’s offices or online shop at costing £7 each.

All proceeds benefit the trust’s work to protect Worcestershire’s wildlife and wild places.