Arbroath sailor named top snapper

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A Royal Navy sailor from Arbroath who took a spectacular image of a naval skier during a Inter Services Competition has won a photographic award.

Leading Photographer Paul Halliwell (32) entered the photograph into the Royal Navy’s annual Peregrine Trophy photographic competition – and won the Life Without Limits category. The judges praised his clear, crisp image and said it represented another side to the naval Service, one of adventure and sporting opportunities.

Paul said: “I was really pleased when I was told I had won the category – for me it is really important to capture all aspects of Navy life and it’s great that the judges agreed with me.”

Paul joined the Royal Navy in 1997 as a junior steward and has worked in wardroom at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth and HMS Edinburgh before going to sea with HMS Illustrious. From there he worked with 801 Naval Air Squadron in Yeovilton, travelling with them to America, Poland and Portugal. From there he worked on board minehunters HMS Cattistock, HMS Brocklesby and HMS Chiddingfold where he met a fellow sailor who had decided to transfer to the photographic branch, spurring Paul on to follow his interest. In 2011 Paul became a photographer and now works with 45 Commando Royal Marines at HMS Clyde. He lives in Arbroath with wife Suzie and daughters Lilly, 5 and Aila 1.

The annual Peregrine Trophy awards are designed to recognise excellence among the professional Royal Navy photographers, Sea Cadets and amateurs. This year the awards were held at HMS Bulwark which was moored in London – with the winners congratulated by the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas.

With 15 professional categories and three amateur classes – the competition is fierce and is whittled down by an expert panel of judges. This year they were Matthew Fearn, Picture Editor at the Daily Telegraph, Roger Payne of Bright Publishing, Bette Lynch of Getty Images, Anthony Massey of BBC World Service, Eleanor Montague BBC’s Foreign Deputy Editor, Tristan Pride of digital agency e3 and Ali Kefford, a freelance national journalist..

Head of the Royal Navy Photographic Branch Captain Ian Stidston said: “It has been a fantastic evening in a fitting setting onboard HMS Bulwark and one that confirms how much exceptional talent and professionalism we have in the Navy’s photographic branch – and also the amateur photographers who have taken some brilliant photographs.

“The very high standard of the images displayed onboard HMS Bulwark today are testament to the flexibility and can-do approach of our people and highlight the dedication to both their art and their Service.

“I could not be more proud of the Navy’s photographers who have managed to capture compelling still and moving images that vividly tell the story of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines on operations.”

Open to the 42 photographers in the branch, there were 350 professional entries and 65 amateur images from 11 hopefuls presented this year.