A SEVENTEEN-year-old from Horwich has won a national competition for his photography skills.

Charlie Sweeney, who attends Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form College, entered the SnapYourTown competition with a stunning image of his town, with one of the judges describing it as an “emotional response” to the town.

Innit for Young People Charity (I4YPC) launched the nationwide competition in partnership with Salford-based educational ICT infrastructure firm, Dataspire, which encompassed an online photography workshop, along with a competition to win a big prize.

Charlie, who took the picture on his Samsung S10 phone, said: "I found out at the bus stop after passing my driving test, so it wasn't a bad day. The competition could put me on the path for my future career, which is exciting to me.

“I saw a tweet from I4YPC that was retweeted by my school’s art department, and I thought why not, what have I got to lose? I have entered small competitions in the past. It feels really good to get recognised by photographers who know their stuff.

“I was just looking out of my house and saw some nice colours in the sky and clouds and thought the combination would make a really nice picture.

“I can picture what David Stewart sees and other people’s perspectives. I am just really happy that I have got this far. I couldn’t believe it at first.”

David Stewart added: “This has an emotional response to it being the idea of ‘my town’. I actually think there is more to it also.

“You could read it as the virus is lurking over the town and everybody is indoors and the red sky is the danger warning, but as with all photographs, individuals can put their own stories into the meanings.”

I4YPC, which was founded by playwright and artist Micky Dacks, say they are delighted to announce Charlie as the winner of the competition.

Charlie’s piece was picked consistently by 12 judges, through five separate rounds, and as a result of winning, Charlie will receive a Nikon D3500 camera kit, mentoring by David Stewart and signed photo books from him, and an opportunity to photograph I4YPC’s professionally staged production of Innit: Musical, at the Lowry in 2023.