After weeks of voting and hordes of entries, the lucky winners of two Mercury competitions have picked up their prizes from a local pet shop.
Nose 2 Tail, based in Bakewell Road, Matlock, once again leant its support to the paper’s annual Pets on Parade and Watch the Birdie competitions, with owner John Purdon offering to donate prizes to the winners of each contest.
This year, Leigh Pugh won top prize in the Watch the Birdie competition, while Sam Barnes and Samii Ball came out on top in the Pets on Parade contest.
Leigh, of Matlock, snapped his winning picture of a swallow perched on a tree stump while working at a farm in Hartington.
He said: “I kept seeing this bird flying to the same spot, so I sat in the van with my camera while I was having my lunch and waited for it to return.”
Leigh, who works in property maintenance, is a keen bird watcher and is even planning on getting a bird-themed tattoo on his arm.
“It will have finches, kingfishers and dippers on it – all sorts of things, “ he said.
“Me and my father used to breed birds and show birds when I was a child and its followed me in to adulthood.
“I dabble in photography, it’s something I have always been interested in.
“I was over the moon when I found out I had won the competition.
“It’s good to actually win something for something I have done.
“Photographs are very personal”
The judges, Mercury editor Amanda Hatfield and John Purdon, agreed his picture was the best and he won a £20 voucher to be spent in store at Nose 2 Tail.
The picture of the doe-eyed nine-month old Siberian husky, Shadow, won the hearts of readers, winning the top prize of £60 worth of vouchers.
The dogs owners, Sam Barnes and Samii Ball, who live in Cromford, were delighted to win.
Samii, who works at the Sainsbury’s petrol station, in Matlock, said: “I was quite shocked.
“We entered the competition as a spur of the moment thing - we didn’t really think we would win.”
She said that while shadow is a lovely dog, he has that cheeky attitude that defines the breed.
“He’s a big naughty sometimes,” Samii admitted.