A series of “striking” images of red foxes have lead one local teenager to taking home a runner up prize in a prestigious photography competition.
The pictures – titled ‘Red Fox Amongst the Buttercups’ – were taken by 16 year old Ben Harrott from Oldham, whose entry was picked from a record 11,000 others this year to see him secure the runner up prize in the ‘Portfolio’ category of the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2020.
The annual competition – which is now in its 30th year – invites young photography enthusiasts aged up to 18 years old to capture the animal kingdom as best they can on camera or on a mobile device.
This year’s entries were blind-judged online by a panel of experts in wildlife photography, including photographer and TV presenter and RSPCA Vice President Chris Packham and a number of other influential names in the field.
“When I first found the Red Fox family in early May I decided to sit and observe the movements of the vixen and the dog fox and keep a good distance,” explained Ben.
“This is when tracking them I found they would go through a huge buttercup field every night without fail. For a few nights, I waited there but failed as they would choose another path through the field at a distance from me.
“Finally, by total surprise, one night I saw the vixen running through the buttercup field straight towards me [and] when she was about 10 metres away, she stopped and stared at me”.
The winning images across nine categories – including three different age groups and an Instagram category – were announced during an online awards ceremony hosted by Chris Packham last week.
Reflecting on the competition this year, Chris Packham said: “The quality of entries this year as the competition celebrates its 30th anniversary has been astounding [and] we felt that the lockdown ironically worked in all the young photographers favour [as] they really did enter fantastic pictures.
“I’ve been judging the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards since they started.
“It’s exciting to have seen it move with the times, with new options regularly being introduced… [and] we’re also pleased that the Mobile Phone and Devices category continues, because as no separate camera is required, this has really opened up the competition to almost anyone.
“The RSPCA Young Photographer Awards is a true celebration of the animal kingdom and one I feel honoured to be involved with.
“Every person shortlisted should be proud of their contribution to a world that’s kinder to all animals.”
He continued: “I’m really pleased to see everyday, overlooked animals given some leverage here.
“It’s a new take on something very familiar that normally gets a bad press. From a wonderfully commanding image of a woodlouse that looks like an alien to the dynamic composition of two pigeons, one with a scabby foot, it’s nice to see so many creative photos of a range of wildlife and people’s pets in such a strong competition.
“Top work to all the finalists and thank you for sharing and inspiring us with your passion for nature and photography.”
You can view all the winners and runners-up in the Young Photographer Awards 2020 via the RSPCA website here, and you can also find more of Ben Harrott’s work via his website, and social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Molly-Mae Hague has welcomed her first baby… according to boxer Jake Paul
Jake Paul appears to have spilled the beans on Molly-Mae Hague, announcing that she has given birth to her first baby with his rival Tommy Fury.
Super influencer Molly-Mae, 23, has maintained radio silence on Instagram for the last week, leading to many fans speculating that she has welcomed her baby girl and is taking some privacy out of the public eye.
Many assumed that she would bide her time for a huge announcement video, as she did with her pregnancy announcement back in September.
But it appears that Jake Paul has jumped the gone and made the announcement for the young couple, who met on the fifth series of Love Island.
YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake posted on Twitter today, alongside a poster promoting his upcoming fight with Tommy: “Tommy has no excuses now…Baby’s born. Money’s massive. Immigration no issue.
“Tyson promises he & Papa will make Tommy retire from boxing & change his last name if he can’t beat the YouTuber.
“Tmw I’m coming to London to look at all 3 Fury’s in the eye & shake on that promise.”
Of course, the internet has completely lost its mind that Molly-Mae’s undoubtedly tasteful baby announcement has been usurped in this way.
One person posted on Twitter: “Jake Paul announcing Molly Mae’s birth before Molly Mae or Tommy is the biggest sh*thousery I’ve seen this year.”
Another wrote: “ermmm did Jake Paul just let slip that Molly Mae’s given birth before she announced it or??”
Someone else commented: “Not Jake Paul announcing molly mae having her baby before molly mae what a prick.”
Molly-Mae and Tommy Fury have not yet addressed the message from Jake Paul.
Featured image: Instagram, @mollymae
Tim Healy surprises fans with performance at The 1975’s Newcastle gig
The 1975’s tour has seen some seriously memorable moments so far, including several special guest appearances, but seeing Tim Healy give a surprise performance has to be the jewel in the crown.
While the band might have formed in the Wilmslow and plied their trade in Manchester on their way to success, several members of the current lineup — including frontman Matty Healy himself — were born in Newcastle, so the gig at the Utilita Arena on Wednesday was very much a homecoming show.
With that in mind, when British TV royalty, Geordie icon and Matty’s old man, Tim Healy popped up on stage, the crowd understandably went wild.
There were no doubt plenty of confused faces when a trademark Matty monologue and sudden cut to black was followed by the bloke from Benidorm appearing up on stage, but there was also a scream bigger than any response Taylor Swift got.
Whipping out some significantly more dramatic thespian ability than the kind you’d associate with his Auf Wiedersehen, Pet days, albeit still fully aware of bizarre the entire spectacle was, he brought one of his son’s trademark digressions about method acting to a close.
But better than that, the 70-year-old ended up staying on stage to perform his own low-key ‘All I Need to Hear‘ cover as the band played in the background. Surreal.
To be honest, it might just be the wholesomeness of it all, but we think we might prefer the older Healy’s version.
Sing it, Tim!
Imagine bringing your dad onto the stage only for him to absolutely steal the show. Brilliant stuff.
Both he and Matty’s celebrity mum Denise Welch have been spotted at various shows as the band continue to perform their ‘At Their Very Best’ tour around the country, with various fans interacting with them in the crowd, but very few would have been expecting an impromptu song from one of them.
Both are obviously more closely associated with TV, with Welch known for appearing on the likes of Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Loose Women and many more, but if we don’t up end up getting both of them on stage before this tour is over we’ll be genuinely fuming.
It also looks like the reaction meant a lot to him:
Elsewhere in the show, The 1975’s Newcastle fans were treated to an equally ridiculous surprise appearance from Harry Styles. Well, not really…
In case you haven’t seen it already, the band conspired to prank the crowd by putting the former One Direction star’s name up on the screen, only to bring out Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi instead.
He obviously got just as lovely a reaction and fully leaned into bantering with the crowd — joking, “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Harry Styles‘ looks a bit different.'” — before performing a cover of ‘Antichrist’.