Broch youngster takes prize in national competition

Victor, Declan and David Sutherland.
Victor, Declan and David Sutherland.

Fraserburgh Academy second year pupil Declan Sutherland, 13, has won second prize in this year’s Focus Environment, Scotland’s National Environmental Photogrpahic Competition for secondary schools with a photograph of Fraserburgh Lifeboat.

It is the fifth year running that a Fraserburgh Academy pupil has won a prize in the Focus Environment competition, with six of the last 12 winning prints being taken within a square mile between the harbour, Lighthouse Museum and ship lift.

When he was told about the competition four days before the deadline, Declan immediately had an idea of what he would photograph to enter.

Declan’s father David is the deputy coxswain aboard the Fraserburgh Lifeboat and his uncle Victor is the full time coxswain.

Declan knew that the lifeboat, the ‘Willie and May Gall’, would be going out on exercise one evening in late September so he arrived at the harbour just as the volunteer crew were preparing to leave at dusk for some training out at sea.

He positioned himself on the breakwater opposite the lifeboat station and as the light was falling and the rain starting to come on photographed the lifeboat making its way away from its berth and through the channel with his father’s cousin acting coxswain Billy Duthie in charge.

He captured an atmospheric image of the lifeboat being dwarfed by the huge purser Chris Andra in the background in subdued lighting conditions with use of harbour lights and reflections.

Declan then entered the photograph online and was delighted a few weeks later when he received word that he had gained 2nd place in the 11-14 My Environment category.

Declan and his mum, Julie, travelled to the awards ceremony held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh to receive his prize, a cheque for £150 and a framed print of Fraserburgh Lifeboat.

You can see Declan’s photograph and other prize winners online at

An exhibition of prints will tour prestigious venues in Scotland over the next year including the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh in April.

Declan’s father David was in charge of Fraserburgh Lifeboat when the RNLI saved its 140,000 life with the rescue of a kite surfer last June.