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Alex and Tony Parsons


Live in: Pleasley, Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire

Re-enacting WWII since: 2007

Tony re-enacts as: Wavy Navy (Lieutenant Commander), Royal Tank Regiment (Sergeant) & Civilian

Alex re-enacts as: Civilian mum displaying vintage prams and pushchairs

Professions: Tony is a coal miner; Alex is a mobile hairdresser


Alex and Tony say: "We attended a very cold and snowy Crich Tramway Museum at Easter with one of Alex's vintage 1940 prams which she restores as best she can. We haven't got a baby so borrowed one for the weekend (Libbie). The attention we got was brilliant to say the least. We couldn't believe how interested people were in them.

"We met Wayne & Maggie and got talking.  They asked if we would like to join the Northern Forties group. As they said it was fun with a capital F, we decided this was the group for us. Wayne kept in touch and gave us some brilliant advice on how not to waste money when buying period clothes and other items.

"Our next event was Whitby where it was almost as cold as Crich - but very much more windy! This did not put us off so we carried on attending more events."

Tony continues: "I decided that I would actually like to wear a uniform so looked into our family history . Both my grandfathers were in the services during the war, and I decided I would like to try to portray them both.

"One of them was in the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR), and I have managed to get an RTR uniform - although it still needs some work to complete the outfit.

"My other Grandfather was was a coalminer like myself.  But in the evenings he was also a sergeant in the Home Guard, as well as an East Midlands heavy weight Boxing champion at that time.  I have acquired a small collection of pit equipment that I will eventually display so that the Bevin Boys get some recognition too. When reading up on this I found out that if your National Identity number ended in certain digits, you had to go down the pit regardless of whether you had received military training or not. A lot of these men and boys were ostracised by traditional coalmining communities whose own lads were sent out of the pits to go to war. Many of the so-called Bevin Boys actually lost their lives down the mines - and my grandfather was one of them.  This year I will be attempting to assemble a Home Guard outfit.

"My father also served in the Royal Navy - although this was after the war.  I have acquired an original Wavy Navy uniform and decided to re-enact as one of these men who volunteered to serve on mine sweepers, submarines, trawlers and other seaworthy boats during WW2. They worked alongside the regular Royal Navy, facing the same dangers.  I found this very interesting to read up on as I had never realised they existed."

Alex says: "I now have seven prams from 1930 - 1960, and a number of pushchairs. I really enjoyed Crich - enough so that Tony said he thought he could see my head swelling.  He said my face had a permanent smile on it. I was in my element I must say. I felt so proud pushing those prams round explaining the details and the hard work they entail.

"The one thing I'm not keen on, however, is having my photo taken as I don't think I'm very photogenic. I always seem to look like the Honey Monster smiling. I'm a very cheeky person and have a quip for most of the cheeky remarks made about the legitimacy of my babies (reborn dolls). I like the fact that Northern Forties is about Fun and have met some lovely people at these events.

"I would like to wear a uniform, but at the moment my prams are my speciality and I enjoy showing them off. I also have a WW2 Army hospital wheelchair that we occasionally use with a patient sat in it. I do have a nurses outfit but unfortunately not from that era."

You can find out more about Alex's collection of Vintage Prams and Pushchairs elsewhere on this website.