Judges were bowled over by the scores of high-quality entries for the first competition to find the best photograph of Cromer’s annual New Year’s Day firework display.

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The contest attracted 169 amateur and professional entrants from all over Norfolk, plus Suffolk, Surrey, Lancashire, and Buckinghamshire.

First prize was awarded to Mark Bunning, 41, from Brandon Road, Watton, who won a Panasonic Lumix TZ30 camera worth £280, donated by electrical store Bennetts, which has a branch on Cromer’s Holt Road.

Mr Bunning’s stunning shot will also be used on posters and other material publicising next year’s display.

Commenting, one of the five judges, EDP/North Norfolk News photographer Antony Kelly, said: “It has everything right about it. The composition is perfect, it shows the crowds on the beach, and all of the fireworks are clearly shown. Technically it is faultless”.

But Mr Bunning, who regularly takes photos at the fireworks, said it was a fluke that he ended up where he did.

“Normally I’m up on the cliff but I got there very late this year and I knew it would be really crowded so I went on the beach instead. It was obviously meant to happen!” He has been taking photos since boyhood and recently opened his own photography shop in Watton.

The other judges were fireworks committee chairman Jim Bond, committee member Tony Shipp, manager of Bennetts Simon Morton, and photographer David Morris.

Mr Morton said it was particularly rewarding to see entries from far afield. “It’s exactly what you would hope for the fireworks event to do - draw people from near and far to our lovely town,” he added.

Second prize went to Sheffield University student Katherine Hodgson, 20 from Upton, Norfolk, and third prize to Patrick Hudgell, from Amersham, Bucks.

● View entries on the events Facebook page “New Year’s Day Fireworks, Cromer”.

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