Memorial photo competition encapsulates the wonders of the 'real' countryside

The tragic killing of Sussex farmer Julian Gardner from Robertsbridge last October when he was protecting his property from thieves has resulted in the launch of an inspiring photographic competition that aims to encapsulate the wonders of the ‘real’ countryside in his memory.

Set up by the Hampshire based conservation research charity, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust through a generous donation from Julian’s family and friends, this annual competition will help to ensure that Julian’s name lives on by funding two magnificent trophies that will be awarded each year to the two winners.

Peter Thompson, from the GWCT and a keen amateur photographer said, “Julian was a lifelong supporter of our conservation research and was passionate about the countryside.  His family are delighted that we are using their donation to set up this annual award in his memory.”

The competition – the Julian Gardner Awards -  is open to all amateur photographers and is split into two categories; adult with the winning entry receiving a magnificent hare sculpture and a 16 and under winner receiving a wonderful sculpture of a leveret.  The two winners will be presented with their trophies at the CLA Game Fair, with the first trophies awarded in July 2012.  A selection of the best photographs will be displayed on the Trust’s stand at the Game Fair next year as well as being featured in the Trust’s membership magazine Gamewise.

A spokesman for Julian Gardner’s family said, “Julian was a countryman and farmer who was killed while defending his business.  He was a kind, sociable and extremely generous man, who was widely respected, much loved and is grievously missed by his family and friends.  We are really pleased that his memory will live on through GWCT’s photo- competition, which is themed around the countryside that he cherished so much.”

All images submitted will be judged by world-class professional photographer Laurie Campbell, who is renowned for his huge catalogue of stunning wildlife images as well as Louise Shervington, the editor of the Trust’s magazine and Peter Thompson, the Trust’s biodiversity officer.

Peter explains what will impress the judges: “We are looking for images that truly reflect our ‘real’ countryside and the people and wildlife that depend on it for survival.  This could mean catching the true character of a gamekeeper carrying a few pheasants home for supper or some fantastic wildlife crop that is attracting a veritable army of wild birds.  Big landscapes are important and so too are game and other wildlife species and of course the people who live, work and play in this ever-changing and inspiring environment. We would just urge everyone to get out into the countryside and capture that winning shot. “

To enter the competition (amateur photographers only); please submit one or two digital images of a least 1mb and maximum 6mb in colour or black and white to  by 31st May 2012. Please state age if 16 or under and supply all contact details.  The full competition rules are featured on the Trust’s website at