A KEEN Greenock photographer has snapped up a top award in a UK-wide competition for his wildlife study of a colourful kingfisher.

Gary Bradley was in the top three for his picture in the Carers' UK creative writing and photography contest.

The 56-year-old cares for his partner Ann Marie, who has multiple sclerosis.

He said: "It was a nice surprise to win third place.

“It is always a good feeling to be told that you have done well - and I told Ann Marie the good news straight away.

"She was really pleased for me.

Gary takes match photos for Morton and Greenock Wanderers Ladies Rugby Club on a voluntary basis and is also a member of Greenock Camera Club.

In his spare time, he and Ann Marie enjoy trips to the cinema and theatre.

Gary said: "Caring full time can be quite tough, but also very rewarding and it’s nice to go places together if we can.”

The Carers UK creative writing and photography competition is now in its fifth year, and saw the general public and the country’s 6.5 million unpaid carers invited to submit entries depicting what it’s like to support a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill.

There are 759,000 people in Scotland who care for and elderly relative, a sick partner or a disabled family member.

Through the competition, Carers UK hopes to raise awareness of the realities of looking after someone, as well as provide an escape and creative outlet for those currently caring.

The competition was once again supported by Specsavers, which provides free NHS-funded eye tests for those in care through its home visits service.

Michael Shann, Head of Membership and Volunteering at Carers UK said: “We have been delighted by the quality of the entries and the heart-warming accounts of caring which have emerged from these wonderful poems, stories and photos.

“These eloquent and poignant entries tell us about the joys that can be experienced, the learning that comes with caring, and the way it changes us.

"I hope that these poems, stories and photos will shine a light on the enormous contribution carers make and ensure more people are aware of the support that Carers UK provides.”