A Braintree actor who won a prestigious award in an international ceremony has dedicated the honour to a lost friend.
Ritchi Edwards, 26, of Hay Lane North, picked up the award for best male actor at the International Achievers Award last Wednesday.
The independent awards, launched in 2013, aim to celebrate the achievements of the hard working community involved in the entertainment industry.
Mr Edwards, who has faced bullying after being born with one hand, was given the award for his performance as Clyde Parker in the short film Absent Without Love (AWOL). He said he had wanted to be an actor since he was six.
Ritchi said: “I watched James Bond when I was little with Pierce Brosnan. When I was younger I knew I had something there and I thought I would do well at acting. I feel very lucky.
“I was actually hoping the award would go to my friend and fellow actor in the film Aaron Eaton, who I dedicated the award to.
“He passed away before the ceremony which was very hard, he was a close friend of mine. I wanted Al to win so it was a mixture of feelings.
“I was happy I could go up and say something from the heart.”
Mr Edwards, who has trained with Theatre Train and Braintree Dramatic Society, spent time performing in the West End at just 13 before moving to the big screen.
He already has his own profile on the International Movie Database (IMDB) and three more films to be released: Homeless Ashes, Witch and short film Blame.
Mr Edwards, a former Alec Hunter pupil, said: “I owe a massive thanks to Fredi Nwaka, the writer, director and producer.
“He saw something in me and gave me that opportunity, I class him as my big brother.
“In a sense there’s a lot of competition in the industry, so I just know I’ve got to go onto that set and do my best.
“When I’m there on set I’m so happy.”