Donaghadee woman Julie Maxwell has won the Commissioner for Older People’s popular annual Christmas photography competition.

Julie’s festive photograph of her 91-year-old father, Graham, enjoying time spent in his garden and greenhouse turned-Santa’s-Grotto, encapsulated this year's theme of ‘advantAGE’ perfectly demonstrating the advantages of getting older.

The Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch said:

“This year we received an extremely high number and standard of entries, and it was a very difficult decision to choose just one entry, but among the impressive photos, one really stood out for me.”

“Graham’s positive attitude towards ageing really came across to me in the picture. Despite hardships he continues to spend time doing the things he enjoys and clearly has a zest for life – this was perfectly captured by Julie in the photograph.”

Julie who has won a £200 gift card of her choice, along with her winning photo featuring on the Commissioner’s Christmas card, shared her interpretation of this year’s theme which she captured in the snapshot:

“Dad loves his garden, but in later years, due to poor mobility, he gardens in his greenhouse, potting up little plants and growing tomatoes.”

“Once winter sets in and ‘greenhouse days’ are over, Dad reads his gardening magazines and plans for the next year. He loves Christmas, so we decided to turn his winter greenhouse into a ‘Santa’s Grotto Winter Wonderland’, to brighten winter days, keep his greenhouse alive and celebrate his love of Christmas.”

“We hung seed packets on pegs reminding Dad of the days when Christmas cards were strung up and to encourage his positivity of Spring time gardening again. Here he is enjoying a cup of tea in his Santa’s grotto. We included little memories of Mum there too. He loves it! And is inviting friends round to visit.”

As the standard of entries were so impressive, the Commissioner selected two 'runners up' and each were awarded a £50 voucher of their choice.

Elenaor Lamberton's picture captioned "Benefits of growing older…celebrating birthday with grandchildren, making homemade ice cream with grandfather" was selected for beautifully capturing how time spent with grandchildren is one of the many advantages of ageing.

Christine Davidson's picture captioned "Cest La Vie!" In Christine's own words "This couple in France oozed with Joie de vivre, I simply couldn't resist taking their picture!"

Congratulations to the winner and runners up!