An inspirational, disabled man from Hucknall has won a national photography competition aimed at shining a light on the lives of people with serious health needs.
Myles Sketchley, 20, who has numerous medical conditions and is wheelchair dependent, impressed the judges with his photo of him peering through railings to see a lion at a zoo.
He said: “As a young person with disabilities, I feel my life is a constant battle with barriers.
“There are the obvious physical barriers like the one you can see in my photograph, where I am having to peep through the railings to see the animals because I can’t get out of my wheelchair and stand up to see inside. But there are emotional and social barriers too.”
Myles’s photo, entitled ‘Through My Barriers’, was among the winners of the ‘My Life Through A Lens’ competition, run by the WellChild charity that helps seriously ill young people, and their families.
It will now go on display at Christie’s auction house in London on Monday, alongside work by more than 40 of the world’s top contemporary artists, including Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and renonwed photographer Rankin, who was among the judges.
All the winning photos were also on display at this year’s WellChild Awards, which was attended by the charity’s patron, Prince Harry, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Myles says he is extremely passionate about accessibility for disabled people, and writes blogs and produces vlogs for wheelchair users. In 2016, he was a WellChild Award winner himself for inspiring others with his positivity.
He is now hoping his winning photo will help people understand how social isolation is a huge problem for young people with health needs.
As he points out, they can be excluded from so many things, such as activities, parties and even witnessing everyday experiences, all because of barriers such as the lack of a dropped kerb or accessible changing facilities.
The competition, sponsored by Venture Photography, was open to young people between the ages of five and 24. It was an opportunity to tell their story, or that of their carers, and to demonstrate the reality of their lives.
Other judges included TV presenter Gaby Roslin, and also Chris Westbrook, who is the curator of the WellChild Helping Hands art auction, which takes place at Christie’s in London on Monday.
The auction is a unique collection of contemporary work that was auctioned to raise money for the charity’s work.
With less than two per cent of its income coming from statutory sources, WellChild is wholly reliant on the support of individuals and organisations.
Myles won rich praise from bosses at the WellChild charity for his winning entry. Chief executive Colin Dyer said: “Well done to Myles on his fantastic photo, which will take pride of place at Christie’s.
“This remarkable collection of photographs is an illuminating window into the reality of life for a growing population of young people who are living longer lives with serious and complex health conditions.
“In a world where support is often sorely lacking for them and their families, the work of WellChild, in giving them the chance to flourish, is more important than ever.
“Through its network of nurses, services and projects, WellChild gives the youngsters the best chance to thrive, properly supported by their families at home.”