Hundreds of die-hard toy fans attended Britain’s biggest My Little Pony convention – including dozens of grown men.
Madcap supporters of the popular girl’s toy descended on a hotel in Nottingham where tens of thousands of the ponies were on display.
One 21-year-old woman travelled from Sweden to attend the two-day UK PonyCon 2012 event.
More than 80 fans began the conference with a series of specialist talks and screenings of the cartoon series.
Dressed in My Little Pony T-shirts or fancy dress outfits, many with brightly coloured wigs, women in their 20s and 30s talked about their love for the toy ponies.
Toy store worker Rebecca Lindahl, 21, came from Sweden for the two-day show. She said: “Me and my friend have come from Sweden for this one.
“It’s my first pony conventions. I collected them when I was younger but when I was ten I stopped.
“But this year I started up again because I wanted a new hobby.
“I had 20 ponies from my childhood and after just a year of collecting, I have about 150 now.
“I’ve spent a couple of hundred pounds in the last year but it’s worth it. It’s my money to spend.
“My friends think I’m crazy anyway and my family love it.”
Selene Thomas, 30, a freelance artist from Dorset, boasts a huge collection of the toys.
She said: “I didn’t like dolls, I only liked ponies when I was little so my parents bought them for me.
“I liked them for a toy and then thought it was cool for nostalgia purposes.
“I’ve got about 1,800 – a lot are in boxes in the attic.
“I just didn’t stop collecting them for years but I don’t actively collect now because the only ones I need are the stupidly expensive ones.
“The most I’ve paid is about #100 but the most valuable one I’ve heard of is one that sold for 2,000 US Dollars.
“We get some over here that you can buy in a car boot sale for 50p and then sell on eBay for 100 US Dollars.”
Bizarrely, dozens of men also attended the convention, who proudly call themselves ‘Bronies’.
Cameron Stalker, 27, an accountant from Colchester, Essex, said: “It’s a really cool little world.
“They rebooted My Little Pony in 2010 with a new show and the director tried to create it with an adult audience in mind for parents.
“But the result was it attracted a big adult crowd. It started getting a huge cartoon following and then the brony thing started.
“I came to this convention last year and only had one pony but I caught the collector bug and now I have about 80.
“It’s like being a kid again.”
His friend James Slater, 30, a factory worker from Lowestoft, Suffolk, added: “It’s funny when you go into a toy shop and put ponies on the counter and they do a double take.
“They say ‘why are you buying them’ and I say ‘why not’.
“We managed to get a friend into it but he won’t admit it.
“He would rather say he looks at internet porn.”
Motorbike fan Adam Wilson, 21, and self-confessed ‘brony’, added: “I got into it in 2010 when the brony thing started.
“My other world is in biking so you get all the macho type men.
“It’s a very different world.
“If I wear a pony T-shirt around bikers I get the gay comments and jokes but I don’t mind.
“If I cared then I wouldn’t wear it.”