Winners Of National Photo Competition ‘Embracing Progress’ Revealed

Judges Praise Inspirational Images Of Progress

07.12.2015

The winners of a national photography competition, which invited members of the public to enter inspirational photos that displayed stories of personal achievement and them overcoming disabilities to reach goals, have been revealed today (7 December).

The Embracing Progress competition was developed by law firm Irwin Mitchell and armed forces charity Walking With The Wounded and asked for images in several different categories including ambition, independence, people and work/education.

A panel of experts judged the entries including Stuart Henderson, Managing Partner of the personal injury team at Irwin Mitchell, David Oldfield, Picture Editor at Evening Standard, Paralympians Hannah Cockcroft MBE and Giles Long MBE, Andrew Cook, Head of Fundraising at Walking With The Wounded, Arabella Dorman a leading portrait painter and war artist and Kevin Peake, Director of Group Sales and Marketing at Irwin Mitchell.

The judges have chosen the following winners from over 100 entries from across the country:

•           Ambition 18 and over – Peter Carr, from Stapleford, Cambridgeshire for his photo ‘Get Through The Waves In Life’

•           Ambition 17 and under – Sarah-Jayne Windridge-France, from Horsforth, Leeds for her photo ‘Never Give Up, Never Give In’

•           Independence 18 and over – Emma Rix, from Wolverton, Milton Keynes for her photo ‘My Daughter Doing What Other Children Do’

•           People 18 and over (joint winners) – Peter Carr from Stapleford, Cambridgeshire for his photo ‘Still Singing?’ and Natalie Davy, from Kettering, for her photo ‘Meningitis Took His Hand, But Not His Smile’

•           Work/Education 18 and over – Paul Horton from Chelmsley Wood, Solihull for his photo ‘Play Scheme’

The judges also picked Emma Rix’s entry as the overall winner of the Embracing Progress competition.

The judges said Emma’s image portrayed beautifully the notions of inclusion, family support, adventure, overcoming adversity and a strong willingness to explore and enjoy life.

Each of the category winners will receive iPads while Emma has also been awarded £300 of Amazon vouchers as the overall winner of the competition.

Stuart Henderson, Managing Partner of the personal injury team at Irwin Mitchell, who served on the judging panel, said:

Expert Opinion
“All of the entries we had were truly fantastic and embodied the strength and determination people show every single day to reach their goals.

“The competition had an important message – that every disabled person has the right to live their life and work towards their goals regardless of how big or small they may be – and the images we received really summed this message up perfectly.

“We had an incredibly difficult time narrowing down the entries and choosing a winner, but I feel Emma’s picture was a deserving winner of the overall award.

“We work with many disabled people who through specialist help, support and rehabilitation, along with a good helping of will and determination, have achieved remarkable milestones.”
Stuart Henderson, Partner

Andrew Cook, Director of Fundraising, Walking with the Wounded, said: “It was an absolute privilege to have been asked to sit on the judging panel for this years ‘Embracing Progress’ photographic competition. The quality and breadth of entries was testament to those who overcome adversity on a daily basis and refuse to let their circumstances be a barrier to leading a fulfilling life.

“We often highlight, that despite injury our wounded soldiers remain capable of achieving the extraordinary, these awards have provided a brilliant platform to focus on those individuals ‘abilities’ rather than their perceived ‘disabilities’ – well done to all involved.”

Emma Rix, 47, from Wolverton, Milton Keynes entered the image of her daughter Maisie, 11, using a walking frame to navigate muddy puddles in the woods and was named the overall winner, as well as winning the 18 and over prize in the Independence category.

Maisie suffers with Cystic Fibrosis, a form of bone dysplasia and a currently undiagnosed neurological impairment that impacts her mobility, but she doesn’t let that stop her.

The image, titled ‘My Daughter Doing What Other Children Do’ was picked by the judges as they felt it perfectly summed up overcoming disability. Paralympian Hannah Cockroft, who served on the judging panel, said Maisie reminded her of herself as a youngster as she would never let anything hold her back.

Emma said: “Maisie is a very happy and positive girl and sees no reason why she can’t do the same things as her brother and sister, Isaac and Lilli. We were delighted to win the overall prize and Maisie was absolutely amazed by the comments from Hannah Cockcroft who is a real inspiration to her.

“On the day we went to the woods and took the photo Maisie’s wheelchair was getting stuck in the mud and she was determined to join in the fun so decided to use her frame.

“It was the first time she’d ever been through a muddy puddle and it was absolutely wonderful to see all the children enjoying themselves and getting covered in mud.

To view all the winning photos and other entries in the Embracing Progress competition click here.