Local amateur photographer Simon Lea has snapped-up a top BBC Countryfile's 'Autumn colours' photo contest with his stunning photograph of Warley Woods. Simon Lea's photograph of the autumnal hues of the Wood captured the prize, seeing off competition from all over the country by winning a public vote on Countryfile's website. The eye-catching photograph is part of Simon's wide-ranging portfolio of pictures which concentrates on areas around his home town of Bearwood.
Simon Lea was thrilled to win the competition. He said: "I love to photograph the local area and I'm made up I've won this contest. This shot was up against some amazing photos and I want to give a massive thank you to everyone who took the time and trouble to vote! “I announced I had entered the photo into the competition on several local Facebook pages and the response was instant and absolutely unbelievable! In a matter of hours I suddenly had hundreds of votes. 
“It really shows how proud the community is of where they live! And rightly so - I hope my photos show just how beautiful a place Bearwood and Smethwick can be." Simon manages to fit his photography around being a father to his two small children and being an  Academic Development Officer at Stoke Hospital. Simon says that his job entails him helping consultants and clinician to write applications for research grants to get more money to help to new drugs and treatments. 
Local councillor and cabinet member for leisure Councillor Richard Marshall said:  “We have some really talented amateur photographers in the area and Simon is one of the best, we have in fact used some of his photos to promote previous events at Lightwoods Park.
“Simon always takes stunning photos so I'm really glad this has been recognised by the Countryfile Magazine. His photos always show the area at its best and I want to congratulate him on winning this competition.
“Simon’s photo of Warley Woods really does go to show what a beautiful place it is and well worthy of its award winning status. It showcases one of the many beauty spots we have in Sandwell.”