Mum used to tell a story of when she worked at Crabtree-Vickers on Water Lane with my dad in the mid-1960s, before I was born.

There was a photographer’s on Briggate somewhere, where workers would be walking around during lunchtime. In the window of the shop was my mum and dad’s wedding day photo as an example of their work.

People would then come back to work, spot my mum and wonder where they’d seen her before.

The story

Roll forward 40-odd years…

Metro as-was had a fine tradition of roping in staff members and their families for photography purposes.

There’s a large “days out in West Yorkshire” publication from the 1980s featuring two people I ended up working with in the 2000s, and ‘their’ kids. Various other former colleagues pretending to be ordinary bus and train passengers. You know the sort of thing.

Thus it was, back in 2007, that we (PR and marketing) arranged a morning of stock photography featuring willing, photogenic colleagues on buses and trains. Being one of the arrangers I made sure I was always behind the photographer, directing things. First we did the photoshoot on Leeds Station, then the Marketing person and I went off to another meeting, leaving the bus part in the hands of others.

One of the reasons for doing the bus photos was that the new English National Concessionary Travel Scheme passes were being introduced, and we needed photos of an Older Person using the new Senior Pass. We had a version of the new pass with my photo on it, thanks to a visit from the suppliers.

Of course, having only just turned 40 I couldn’t possibly look old enough… but I had a mother who was 68 years old. So she came into town, all my then-colleagues looked after her, there were lots of suitable photographs taken and that was that.

Image: Senior Permits leaflet
Senior Permits leaflet.

Or so she thought.

What she didn’t know – and I didn’t fully appreciate at the time – was that she was about to become the poster girl for Metro’s Senior Permits campaign. Her face would on thousands of leaflets sent to people to remind them to apply.

It wasn’t until several months later when she said: “Everyone keeps looking at me when I walk into the Post Office…” that the penny dropped.

“The woman behind the counter was trying to work out where she’d seen me before…”

Probably from that large stack of information leaflets on her counter.


The irony is that in later life she hated having her photograph taken, especially for her own Senior Permits, passports and suchlike. She always thought she looked old. In fairness, she was, but that didn’t mean she wanted to have to look at it. She even had mixed feelings about her cataracts operations, as it meant she could see herself clearly in the mirror.

She would have been 80 this year, but she died one year ago today. Still miss her lots. But what memories.