A YOUNG snapper's striking photograph will be auctioned to raise money for the charity that has kept him smiling ten years after losing his dad.

Harley Grout, 11, from St Osyth, has been chosen as the winner of a photography competition, hosted by national bereaved Forces children’s charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Harley, who lost his dad, Signalman David Grout in May 2010, decided to take part in the competition which was organised by the charity as a way of helping to keep its members engaged during lockdown.

Harley’s photo of a lightning strike caught the eye of the competition judge, award winning photographer Paul Tibbs.

His photo was chosen out of 44 entries to win first prize.

It will now be auctioned online via eBay, with the auction closing on Sunday, June 28.

Harley said: “I was so surprised when I heard that I’d won - I was over the moon!

"Being a photographer would be my dream job, I love taking photos of anything really - cars, animals.

"I’d seen a similar lightening picture before, so when I saw the storm, I thought I would try and recreate it.

"I took quite a few photos before choosing the one I submitted. I hope it will raise lots of money for Scotty’s.”

Harley was just a toddler when his dad died.

David served in the Royal Signals regiment and died following an unprovoked attack ten years ago last month.

Harley’s mum, Kerry, learnt of Scotty’s support a few years ago when she attended the Party at the Palace event at Buckingham Palace in 2017.

Commenting on the charity’s support she said: “Harley and I had raised money for Scotty’s in the past, I knew of them but didn’t at first know that Harley was eligible for the support.

"It was only when a friend said that I should get in touch that I did. And since then, they have been brilliant, it’s just nice knowing that Harley has that support there when he needs it and can meet and talk to other children who are in a similar situation.”

Since joining Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Harley has benefited from the charity’s support programmes, including the opportunity to meet other children in similar situations.

Harley added: “Scotty’s has been great. They help bring people together who have all experienced the same things which has really helped me.

"I’ve also made a few friends through the charity who I find easy to talk to because they know what I have been through.”

Usually, at this time of year, Scotty’s would be arranging respite breaks for the families, but it has not been possible this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The photography competition was launched to help the charity engaging with its members during lockdown.

Charity founder Nikki Scott said: “Harley’s photo really did stand out.

"The last few months have been incredibly difficult for everyone, particularly our members, who have already, at such a young age, gone through so much.

"All the money raised from the auction will help us continue to deliver integral support to these children when they need it the most.”

To take part in the auction, go to ebay.co.uk/itm/153975572465.