MARAUDING Vikings vied with battle weary British Tommies and Greek Hoplites for the attention of the crowds at a spectacular living history show.

Around 1,000 re-enactors descended on Spetchley Park near Worcester for the M5 Living History Show on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the past back to life with a bang.

Full of pomp and pageantry, the show has continued to grow in popularity over the last decade, bringing people face-to-face with re-enactors who represent a vast cross-section of historical periods from Ancient Greek through to Medieval and from the English Civil War through to Napoleonic, Crimean and the First and Second World Wars.

Among those to attend was Richard Delingpole, one of the original founders of the show who has watched it expand beyond expectation.

He explained that the show had quite humble beginnings as an 'armoured picnic' with around 24 people but had grown significantly since then.

Mr Delingpole was dressed as a French machine gunner or 'mitrailleur' from the First World War, his costume a combination of original and reproduction items.

He said: "The re-enactors love it more than any other show because it's so relaxed. It's run by re-enactors for re-enactors. We don't push them around but let them do what they're good at."

The show has displays and skirmishes but Mr Delingpole said the battles were kept 'short and sweet'. He added: "There's no excuse for anyone to get bored. Re-enactors are doing this gratis. They're doing this because they love it. This means we don't have to charge the public a fortune to come in. It's a very good deal."

Michelle Shankster was serving at Michael Smith's Second World War style pub called 'The Wheatsheaf' which helps raise money every year for charity, the period props and memorabilia helping transport people back in time.

Among those to enjoy a pint at the pub was Kevin Corcoran, playing a merchant seaman from 1944. However, Mr Corcoran was expected to undergo something of a metamorphosis the following day when he would play Hugh Peters, Cromwell's Puritan chaplain and preacher.

One of the more colourful figures who cut a dash was Nadeem Ahmad, elegantly dressed as an eighth century AD Sogdian noble from Central Asia.

But no less spectacular was the costume of Alan Rowell, playing an Athenian Hoplite with a colourful shield decorated with the head of Medusa, the terrifying snake-headed monster of Greek mythology.

Among those to enjoy the show were Charlotte Turner, husband Noah and and their children Arlo, eight, and Efa, three. The family from Abberley love the show so much they come every year.

Arlo likes the Vikings but also likes the World Wars, testing his aim on the Vickers machine gun courtesy of the 245 Provost Company, a Second World War military and living history re-enactment group.

Worcester Vigornia Rotary Club helped with parking at the show. The event is also supported by Worcestershire Ambassadors.