A DAD-OF-TWO has been given a boost as he gets ready to represent the North West at the Royal Television Society student national final.

Ashley Collier, 31, has been recognised as one of the best student animators in the country after he was handed the prize for best 'Short Feature' in the award's North West heat for his animated film 'Felix'.

As he prepares to find out if he will be crowned the national winner at a glitzy ceremony at London’s BFI Southbank on Friday, Mr Collier has discovered he has been nominated for a Lancashire Arts Festival Award for his film 'Unwelcome'.

The University of Central Lancashire student from Crawshawbooth said: "Winning the Royal Television Society was very unexpected but it feels good to receive recognition and it is nice to make my family proud.

“I’m pleased about my Lancashire Arts Festival nomination too, especially because the film covers such an important subject.

"I wanted to cover something that was going to hit home.

"Unwelcome tells the story of someone experiencing racism by putting the viewer in their shoes and giving them a real sense of what it feels like to be unwelcome.

"Racism has always been relevant but with things like Brexit, the recent terror attacks and the unrest we’re experiencing, it needs addressing more than ever."

His work has also been selected by the university to be showcased as part of the Lancashire Arts Festival Degree Show.

Mr Collier, who is in the final year of his animation degree, said he has not had the typical university experience.

The mature student has been juggling studies with being a father to his children aged seven and two and a part time job.

He said: "It isn’t the same for everyone, but I don’t think I was ready for University at 18.

"Now I have a set plan and goals and I know exactly what I want from my future.”

Sarah Ann Kennedy, lecturer in animation at UCLan, said: "I'm really pleased, Ashley has done fantastically well.

"He has got a great way of telling a story, he comes up with great ideas and that is what makes him a winner."

Mr Collier will be graduating this summer with a degree in Animation, and hopes to go on to make cartoons for a living, something Ms Kennedy is confident he will achieve.

She said: "Ashley has a bright future, I think he will do very well, he's got all the right attributes."

Mr Collier's film "Unwelcome" will be showcased at the University of Central Lancashire campus until Friday.