MAIL photographer Tom Collins was celebrating after landing two top awards at a prestigious ceremony at the weekend.
Long-serving snapper Tom, the Mail’s chief photographer, scooped his double success at the annual Cordner North East Press Awards.
The ceremony celebrates the cream of journalistic talent from across the region, and took place for the 30th year running having been set up in memory of the Mail’s former news editor Tom Cordner, who died aged just 38.
Tom picked up the North East Photographer of the Year honour, with the judges’ citation saying: “For spontaneity, good effects and professional polish, Tom’s pictures showed that extra level of skill in grabbing key moments.
“His shots captured a range of situations and human moods. A very accomplished set of pictures.”
Tom’s winning portfolio included a photograph of a four-year-old youngster kitted out in army gear carrying out an “inspection” of some senior military cadets, an unusual shot of some bird-watchers desperately trying to gain a decent vantage point when a rare bird came to the Headland last year, and a picture showing the joy created among young footballers after they scored a goal.
He was back on the stage at the National Glass centre, located in the University of Sunderland, when he was also crowned as the winner of the Picture of the Year category after submitting a photograph of a teenager being dramatically rescued by lifeboat crews having become stuck in quicksand on Seaton Carew beach.
The Mail was also shortlisted in a total of six categories, covering its digital, print and production teams.
Tom said: “I’m delighted with the awards, both personally and for the Hartlepool Mail team.
“For any photographer, the challenge is being in the right place at the right time and capturing the moment.
“As well as all of my colleagues, I’d like to thank my wife Cindy for her support.”
Hartlepool Mail editor Joy Yates added: “We are extremely proud of Tom’s achievement which typifies the dedication and talent of the entire Hartlepool Mail team.
“He has done exceptionally well in the face of such strong competition and thoroughly deserves the awards.
“The portfolio of photographs which won him two coveted awards graphically captured a wide range of emotions ranging from desperation to pure determination.”