A TALENTED photographer who grew up in Whitefield has been crowned the UK’s first Illinois Route 66 Ambassador Following nine exhilarating weeks of campaigning to win the competition, Matthew Comer was chosen as the official winner by the Chicago and Illinois Tourist Office out of more than 100 nominees.

Matthew, aged 28, works as a freelance photographer, having taken up the pursuit at the age of 19.

He said: “Being awarded this role is unreal and of huge importance to me. I am so excited that I will have this platform to show the UK what Route 66 and Chicago has to offer through my photography. This is one of my biggest achievements in my career by far and I just can’t wait to hit the road.”

Following the nationwide search, Matthew has won the ultimate trip of a lifetime to Illinois where he will travel the iconic Route 66, discovering all of the famous landmarks that have inspired movies, songs and popular literature over the last few decades.

Matthew will fly to Chicago this month and will capture memories and experiences from his monumental trip to present to the British public via an online blog, consisting of photos and video snippets housed on www.gochicago.com.

The competition is to give the British public a chance to see first hand and from a UK perspective what Route 66 has to offer in a fun and engaging way.

Visit gochicago.com to see how Matthew is getting on