It has taken almost 60 years for a dream to come true for retired railway worker Reg Giddings, of Pewsey, who began writing stories for his own children during long, boring nights as a signalman.

Aged 83, Mr Giddings, who lives in Broadfields, has finally seen the publication of a collection of eight of his short stories.

He has had to pay £1,000 from his savings to get the book published but said he was hoping for a quick return on his investment, with 3,000 copies of Children’s Journey of Discovery to be sold at £5.50 each.

After he has recovered his investment, any proceeds will go to St Peter’s Church in Everleigh and St Edmund’s Chapel at Pewsey cemetery towards their upkeep.

The books are about to go on sale in the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough, Devizes Bookshop and in the Faux Gallery in High Street in Pewsey where there will be an official launch ceremony and signing session on Saturday, from 10am to 2pm.

Mr Giddings and his wife Doreen, 84, do not have a computer so all his writing has been done by hand, and he also did illustrations for photocopied booklets previously on sale in the village.

Professional artists have adapted his drawings for the 70-page book.

Mr Giddings said: “I have never lost my lifelong ambition to get a proper book published and to see a first edition printed.

“It has cost a lot of money but at my time of life I decided to go ahead and pay for it to be published.”

He started writing when he was in his mid to late 20s while on night shifts in the signal box at Lavington when there were few trains about.