Published: 10:39, 18 November 2020
| Updated: 10:47, 18 November 2020
The winner of the 2020 Mercury photographic competition has been decided.
David Tilby's Sunset at Sandown Community Garden in Deal will take pride of place on the front page of our 2021 calendar, which is free in The Mercury on December 2.
The winning entry shows a boat filled with flowers planted by green-fingered volunteers at the ruins of one of Henry VIII's three Tudor Rose castles. In the distance is a majestic sun setting over Royal Cinque Port's Golf Club.
Taken this summer from Mr Tilby's Samsung S10+ it jumped out at judges Beth Robson and Claire Hall from scores of entries - not just for its colour and composition, but for the message it represented to them.
Beth said: "Our photo competition is all about showcasing the attractions in our area. And after such dark year that has been illuminated by groups and individuals doing great things for their communities, David's picture at the volunteer-led community garden reflected all that makes our district great. With the sunset making the promise of another beautiful day to come, it really took my breath away."
Mr Tilby, of Upper Street, Kingsdown, said: "Photography has always been an interest of mine. Both my parents are keen and have been members of a photographic club in Winchester, my mum still is. I generally take pictures quite a lot.
"As an architect, I take lots of buildings, but my true love is clouds, seascapes and landscapes."
He came about the scene during a socially distanced barbecue. He went along, stayed until the sun went down and it got chilly. They even gave one of the gardeners some of their food.
He said: "If we hadn't had lockdown we would not have gone down there."
As soon as we announced the return of the competition in October, entries flooded in. The standard of which was phenomenal.
Beth added: "It proved that the district has a great many eye-catching places, but our towns are filled with so many talented people who recognise its beauty."
The winning image was chosen from a short-list that included Paul Sampson's Harvest on Langdon Cliffs and David Stearn's Snow at Dover Castle - both are seasonal show-stoppers.
They represent the months of September and December respectively in the calendar.
The photos have been previewed in today's Mercury.
They include: Viking Bay, Sandwich by Susan Clifford, Buckland Paper Mill by Donald Beck, South Foreland Lighthouse by Lee Walker, Dover Castle by Paul Sampson, Flowers at the King's Head by Beverley Birchley, Walmer Castle by Elaine Bryan, Wild flowers at Walmer Beach by Brian Whorlow, Deal Pier Paddleboarder at Sunrise by Craig Brown and Autumn leaves by Peter Weber.
Readers can get their free 2021 calendar inside the Mercury on Wednesday, December 2. It includes dates of public holidays and a list of useful contacts from across the Dover, Deal and Sandwich district.