A FORMER electrician who gave up his job to follow his dream of becoming a photographer has scooped a top industry award.

Mick Duckworth's photo beat thousands to be selected as a winning image at the Association of Photographers Student Awards.

His work will now be exhibited in London and included in the Association of Photographers annual 2017.

The father-of-seven, from Shadsworth, is currently studying for a photography degree at Blackburn College's University Centre after completing a diploma.

The 30-year-old said: "I was working as an electrician but I wanted to do something I enjoyed so I enrolled at the college.

"It was a big step but I felt I had to do it. I was not enjoying what I was doing.

"I was a bit of an amateur photographer. I did a lot of hiking and fell walking so I would always take a camera."

Using a Nikon D810, the winning black and white image was taken while Mr Duckworth was photographing a pheasant shooting party at RAF base in Yorkshire.

"There was a fighter jet and chinock helicopter doing these flights and there was a chap on this shoot looking up. The helicopter was flying over and his gun is pointing in the air like he's about to shoot this chinock down," he said.

"The situation was an accident but I saw the shot was there and I managed to capture it."

Two of Mr Duckworth's photos made it into the final 20 of the 'things' category.

"My tutor told us about the awards and to put some images forward.

"After I got an email saying two of mine had made it to the final I was absolutely gobsmacked."

He travelled down to London for the awards evening with tutor Richard Peregrine and was even more shocked when his name was called out saying he had won.

"I thought there was no way I was going to win. To get to the final was a massive achievement as there were 3,000 entries from across the UK.

"When they read my name out I went into total shock. I could not believe it."

Mr Duckworth said when he finishes his degree he would like to become a documentary photographer - the dream being to work for National Geographic.

John Harrison, interim dean at the University Centre at Blackburn College and a photography tutor said: "It’s an incredible accomplishment for a student to win an Association of Photographers award. "We’re all really proud of Michael. Like many students studying at the University Centre at Blackburn College, Michael chose to turn his back on his former work and retrain in an industry he loves so it is great to see his efforts rewarded."

Along with The Royal Photographic Society, the Association of Photographers is one of the leading professional associations in the world.