A striking image of a tractor mechanic has been crowned one of the champions in the CLA Photo Competition.
Over the last 12 months the CLA has received hundreds of stunning photos from members and the public showcasing the iconic landscapes and creatures of England and Wales and telling the stories of the people who live and work in the countryside.
After a difficult judging process, the CLA’s panel chose a series of champions from regions across England and Wales, as well as an under 18s winner.
One of the main awards was for the best photo of people working in the countryside, and it was won by Matthew Thomas from Wiston in West Sussex for his entry, John the Tractor Mechanic. Matthew wins an overnight stay at Combermere Abbey’s luxurious award-winning North Wing.
CLA director general and competition judge Sarah Hendry said: “I love the real connection this photo achieves between John and the viewer – capturing that humorous, self-deprecating glint in his eye.
“The ancient clutter is wonderful and you can explore it for ages, there’s always something new to spot – it appeals to the ‘shed’ instinct in all of us.
“And last but most important, it celebrates the essential but largely hidden army of modest individuals who really make the countryside work.”
Fellow judge and professional photographer Matthew Seed said it contains “so much old school British story and heritage in one image”.
The winner in the South East category is Two Common Blues at Sundown by Alison Finch from Canterbury in Kent.
Alison, who wins a mixed case of Great Minds Drink Alike wines from Chapel Down, said: “I have a passion for macro nature photography and have a collection of about 30,000 images. We’re lucky enough to have so much on our doorstep and I’m thrilled to win.”
The judges paid tribute the high standard of entries and the number of “real gems” that have come to light.
CLA President and competition judge Tim Breitmeyer said: “The entries we received have shown the most wonderful display of rural life and the countryside.
“There is an immense wealth of talent here, and in particular some of our younger entrants are just as accomplished as their elder counterparts.”
Mrs Hendry added: “Judging the entries was like opening a vast sack of sweets. Each one was a pleasure to discover.
“The range and diversity of the photos submitted celebrates the endless variety, beauty and interest that we find in our countryside and rural communities.”
The CLA would like to thank Tanners Wines for supporting the CLA Photo Competition throughout the last 12 months.