THE county’s beleaguered high streets have been brought into focus by keen photographers with striking images of life during lockdown.

The West Cumbrian High Street Photo Competition, sponsored by Armstrong Watson, was aimed at focusing attention on the area’s high streets which are facing challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

Armstrong Watson are well established in Cumbria and wanted to do something to support the area’s small business community which has been hard hit by Covid-19.

They teamed up with Whitehaven business owner Gerard Richardson to devise the concept for a competition.

Judges included celebrity cheese maker and former Coronation Street star, Sean Wilson, Copeland mayor Mike Starkie, Richard Askew from Armstrong Watsons and head judge Stuart Walker, of Stuart Walker Photography.

First prize has gone to Dave McManus for his panoramic photo of Workington’s shopping area and second prize went to Ben Clarke for his gorgeous photo of Ulverston’s high street with umbrellas hanging over the street.

Mr Askew said: “We wanted to show support for the local business community, and the photo competition has been a fun way to do that.

“There’s a lot of local photography talent and we have been delighted to support this competition.”

Gerard Richardson said: “The aim was to give both photographers and high streets in the area a boost during difficult times.”

And he is pleased with the outcome. “The competition has produced some really dramatic photographs of Cumbrian high streets which have a lot to offer.

“Business owners in Copeland and across Cumbria are facing a difficult time at the minute but I am confident that we will come back stronger after the pandemic.”

Richardson’s of Whitehaven has been at the centre of efforts to bring shoppers back on to the high street for years.

But after Covid-19 struck, wine and coffee retailer Gerard has looked for new ways to encourage Cumbrian people to “Shop Local” ,whether it be ordering takeaways from one of the town’s many independent food outlets or using Cumbrian business’ online stores.

The photography competition gave the area’s enthusiasts a chance to flex their creative muscles.