WHILE railway enthusiasts gathered at Steam to celebrate Swindon’s past last weekend, over at the Brunel centre they were applauding the stars of the future.

Twelve talented photographers gathered to discover who would clinch the top spot in a photography contest organised to celebrate Swindon’s 175th anniversary.

The top prize of a Nikon camera went to 17-year-old Bethany Fry for her picture of tulips in Town Gardens.

Bethany said: “As a bustling town, beautiful gardens often go unnoticed in Swindon.”

Second place winner Vicky Taylor, 13, took home a £50 Brunel Centre gift card for her picture of the lake at Stanton Woods.

Vicky said: “To me this means family and reminds me that Swindon is where my family is.”

Stephen Arnold, 18, who finished third, picked up a £25 Waterstones gift card.

Talking about his striking black and white shot across the domed tops of the Tented Market, Stephen said: “When I see this shot, and when I took it, it just makes me think of Swindon.”

Presenting the prizes, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “All twelve of you are winners because your photographs aren’t just going to be seen here and in other buildings in Swindon but they’re going to be on the buses that go round our town.

“I want to thank Swindon175 for not just reminding us of the history of our town but for thinking about the future as well – all of you who’ve taken part are our future.

“What has shone out from the photographs I saw was a sense of optimism and of positivity. There was a sense of positivity, a wide range of images and thoughts on what makes our town tick.

“At the end of it all there is a real sense that we’re going to be in very good hands when it’s time for oldies like me to hand over to the next generation.”

While posters will adorn the back of Thamesdown buses in the coming weeks, the framed exhibition will go on tour around the town to locations including the library and Great Western Hospital.