I was featured in my local newspaper today.
What does our county mean to you? And can you take a picture of it? After a slow start – shots of two sheep in a nondescript field were the first entries – a competition to find the finest pictures of Leicestershire draws to a close on Thursday.
You can find all the entries on the web – see the address at the end of this article.
We’ve chosen some of our favourites and interviewed the people behind the lens, to find out who they are and why they took the pictures they did.
Kirby Muxloe Castle by Phil Hackett
They ran a huge campaign in California last year, says Phil Hackett: a high-profile tourism push with a poster of a man, a Kitchener-style finger pointing from the billboard, declaring: California needs you.
It was a polite reminder to the residents of America’s Golden State that they needed to spend more time at home.
Why go anywhere else, was the general thrust of their argument, when all you really need is right here? We should do something like that in Leicestershire, reckons Phil.
Really? Can we claim to have as much to offer as California?
“Well, OK, we’re not quite California,” says Phil. “But we just don’t realise what we have on our doorstep.”
Leicestershire, says Phil, is like a poor man’s Cotswolds. “I don’t mean that in a bad way,” he laughs. “People rave about the Cotswolds and it has an international reputation. I think the history and natural beauty we have matches that.”
Phil’s entry is a fairly straightforward picture of an often-ignored county gem.
There’s a common assumption that Kirby Muxloe Castle is an old ruin. It isn’t, says Phil, it was just never finished.
The site was bought in 1474 for William, Lord Hastings, the second cousin of King Edward IV. After fighting for the king in the War of the Roses, Hastings found himself charged with treason and was beheaded after Edward’s death in 1483.
“The castle remained with the Hastings family, but building was never completed,” says Phil. “I think it’s a great site with an interesting history. I was brought up in Braunstone, I went to college in Desford and I used to pass this castle every day. We’re so lucky to have something so unique, so brilliant on our doorstep.”
See all the entries on a Facebook site run by Leicester Shire Promotions, called GoLeicestershire.
Read the entire article to see the other photographers featured.