an author has hooked up with old friends and put the finishing touches to his first book thanks to an appeal in the Oxford Mail.

Roger Thomas, 67, decided to write a book about his happy childhood on the Barton estate between 1942 and 1957 as a keepsake for his four grandchildren.

Although he had thousands of his own memories, he was short of pictures as not many people could afford cameras in those days.

But thanks to an appeal in the Mail, Mr Thomas has received a host of photos, including one from former Barton resident and avid Oxford Mail reader Brenda Simmonds, who now lives in Australia.

Mr Thomas, a former senior library assistant at the Radcliffe Science Library, who lives in Minster Lovell, said the article had thrown up a few “blasts from the past”.

And now he has actually been able to publish the book.

Mr Thomas said: “I did have a really good response from people.

“I had about eight photos which was good considering not many people had cameras in those days.

“One lady even got in touch from Australia.

“Her friend posts her copies of the Oxford Mail, and she sent me a picture of her old dog Sniff outside the pre-fab houses in Underhill Circus.”

As well as a snapshot of Sniff, Mr Thomas received pictures from street parties celebrating the coronation which filled the estates in 1953, and a picture of the old Barton boys football team, The Barton Nomads, from 1948.

Mr Thomas added: “A few people who had seen the article got in touch and we were able to organise a reunion of about 15 of us in the Mitre pub in the city centre.

“We all had a meal and shared our memories, including a lot of things I’d forgotten.

“I remember all sorts, going off and playing in the fields, the coronation street parties with tables laden with jellies, cakes and orange squash.

“And I know it sounds like an old chestnut, but we all remembered things like being able to go out without having to lock your door – probably because we had nothing worth nicking.”

Mr Thomas has delivered the finished copy of his childhood memories, Tales of an Oxford Lad – A Barton Childhood 1942-1957, to shops on the estate, and the Neighbourhood Centre. But Mr Thomas said writing the book was not a money spinning venture, more a lifelong ambition to record his happy times in Barton.

He said: “It’s not a history of Barton, it’s more about my childhood and the estate through my eyes as a child.

“I’ve got so many wonderful memories of the place.

“We didn’t have much money, but they were happy times.”

  • Tales of an Oxford Lad – A Barton Childhood 1942-1957, cost £7.95. Orderline 01993 703474.