84116_Lily Edwards (1)A stunning close-up photograph of piglets snoozing is among the winning shots in the RSPCA’s Young Photographer Awards.

Youngsters aged between nine and 18 were invited to capture the animal kingdom on camera for this year’s competition.

Sixteen-year-old Lily Edwards, from Bangor, caught the heartwarming moment a piglet snoozed in amongst its siblings – earning her a runner-up place in this year’s Farm Animals category.

Naming the image ‘Nap Time’ she said:  “I took this photo at a local farm. As I was taking a photo of the piglets sleeping, one opened its eyes. It looks so peaceful and happy.”

Attracting entries from youngsters aged up to 18 from across England and Wales, this year’s RSPCA Young Photographer Awards were judged by a panel of experts in wildlife photography – led by Springwatch presenter Chris Packham.

Head judge Chris said: “The competition was very strong this year and all the finalists should be very proud of their work. The pictures that were chosen were fantastic and we had tough decisions to make.”

The winners and runners up in the six categories were announced during an awards ceremony hosted at the Tower of London today (Friday 16 December).

Among many other entries, some other highly commended and category winners included a bearded tit doing the splits perching in long reeds at RSPB Minsmere and a bumble bee hovering above a flower.

Chris added: “There are a whole range of images this year from pictures showing the relationship with their pets, or creatures they’ve found in their back garden, or animals they’ve seen while they were on holiday – and that is great. There is real character coming through in this year’s set of winning images. These young people are going out and experiencing the environment around them and in their local area. It is just fantastic.

“It is the strongest year we have had for a while – especially in the under 12’s category. There are some beautiful pictures in this year’s winners gallery and some real talent shining through. This year’s entrants have been really creative and that is what we want to see.”

A full gallery of the winning images can be found here.