For decades, Brenda Rowlands wondered what her husband Dewi kept locked away in the wooden chest he stored in the shed. He had always "politely refused to say" when she questioned him about it, but when he died recently aged 77 curiosity finally got the better of her.What Mrs Rowlands found was a treasure trove of children's toys dating back to when her husband was a boy and that he had kept lovingly under wraps for over 70 years.

Mr Rowlands had packed away his favourite things in the chest when the Second World War broke out and kept them in there but never told anyone of the wonderful array of 1920s and 30s games, wooden toys and animals.Mrs Rowlands said: "Inside was a clockwork train set, clockwork helicopter, soldiers made of lead and wooden farm and zoo animals all from the 1920s and 30s.

"It was amazing. There were home-made farm buildings, a wooden alphabet, and game of snakes and ladders and ludo."I also found a small tin containing marbles, broken toys, nuts and bolts - just the things which might have been found in the pockets of a small boy during the 1930s."

Mrs Rowlands, 70, from Aberystwyth, mid Wales, added: "For some reason Dewi did not want me to open the chest. Years ago I remember him saying "just leave it" and I never questioned him."After he died I never thought about it until I was clearing out the garden shed. "My curiosity got the better of me. I didn't know what would be inside.

"It was amazing to find Dewi's childhood toys after all this time - I had no idea he'd kept them."The chest was lined with a newspaper from 1937, the year Mr Rowlands started hoarding away his childhood favourites.The couple have no children so Mrs Rowlands has donated the toys to the town's museum where they have gone on display to the fascination of local children.
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