A BOOK compiled by a Southampton writer more than half a century ago has finally been published after being found in an old trunk.

Peter Stark Lansley put pen to paper in the early 1960s to describe his idyllic childhood on the Isle of Wight 40 years earlier.

The manuscript was eventually found by his son Charles, 70, and has been published by Beachy Books.

Peter went to a wireless college at Calmore, near Totton, in the late 1930s before joining the Merchant Navy a few years later.

Following the Second World War he worked as a telecommunications officer with the Ministry of Aviation and was based at what was then Eastleigh Airport in the 1950s.

Peter was a member of Southampton Writers’ Circle from 1955 until 1958 and also lived in the city.

He filled about 12 notebooks with stories about being raised by his grandparents, William and Harriette Stark, and harboured hopes of seeing his work published.

After Peter retired he returned to his boyhood home - the Isle of Wight.

He died in 1999 and the heart-warming tale lay forgotten until his son Charles discovered it in a rusty trunk following his mother’s death.

He said: “My brother and I were clearing the house when we found the notebooks in the bottom of a trunk in the garage. They had been gathering dust for many years, either in the trunk or somewhere else.

“The stories my father told were so brilliant, so evocative.

“We were just going to keep them as a family memento but a few years ago I went through them in detail, typed them up and approached a publisher. “

Charles spent about 18 months editing the manuscript and adding background details.

The book describes the golden days of Peter’s childhood, including magical Christmases and misadventures with his friend Victoria at Wootton Creek.

A Beachy Books spokesperson said: “Through the meticulous research carried out by Charles Lansley we gain a greater understanding of life in the 1920s.”