A LOCAL student is celebrating after being branded as the best gamekeeping student in England.

Matthew Harrison, 18, of Slingsby who works at Castle Howard as an under keeper was awarded the Frank Jenkins memorial trophy for best gamekeeping student in the country from the National Gamekeeping Organisation.

Matthew, who has just finished a two year level three diploma in gamekeeping at Bishop Burton College, said that he was thrilled to have won the award which he will collect on July 19th at the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.

He said: "For me this isn't a job, it's a way of life. I love being outside and being able to roam free.

"I was really pleased when I found out I had won the award and I'm excited to receive it in July because it's such a huge game fair."

Matthew was offered a full time position at Castle Howard whilst working towards his diploma and the college allowed him to do distance learning so he could continue to work.

He was chosen by the college to represent them at the awards and was subsequently chosen as the winner of the Frank Jenkins award which goes to the best full or part-time gamekeeping student or apprentice of the last academic year.

He said: "I was pleased to represent the college and it was great that they let me do distance learning so I could carry on working. My job now involves everything from countryside management and maintaining and caring for wild bird habitats."