A LOCAL historian is set to appear on BBC1's Antiques Roadshow this Sunday after an amazing story about his late father's 1920s toy.

Stephen Brown, daughter Rebecca and son Samuel, headed across to Edinburgh for filming in July and presented experts with an old American Marx clockwork toy tank, dating back to the 1920s.

The rare item belonged to Stephen's father Albert - and the story how it came to be in his possession after a family tragedy proved a real tearjerker.

When Stephen's grandmother Netta was seven months pregnant with Stephen's father, her husband was killed in a mining accident.

This left her penniless with three young children and she moved to Glasgow to try and find work.

Stephen explained: "My father, only a baby by this time, was given to Netta's sister Isabella in Portencross to look after.

"When my uncle in Canada heard this, he sent the tank over for my father as a gift.

"After some months, my father was returned to his mum in Glasgow but caught pneumonia, and was sent back to the coast to recover.

"After spending some time at the coast with Isabella’s children – Willie, Rita and Tabby – it was decided that he should be formally adopted into the Brown family and never be told about his birth mother in Glasgow. He was too young originally to play with the tank and it was put away.

"When Isabella died in the 1970’s, my father discovered he was adopted and he and I went to Glasgow to meet Netta. She recognised him immediately and told us how Isabella had been sending her photographs and information all through the years.

"I was born in 1963 and was not allowed to play with the tank either. To protect it, my father loaned it to the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh where it remained until his death in 1991 and I went over to get it back."

Stephen, 58, said it was a moving experience sharing the remarkable tale with the Antiques Roadshow experts.

The West Kilbride man added: "The staff were incredibly friendly. Since it was during lockdown, there were no crowds.

"We met with Judith Miller, the famous antiques writer, and we did get a chance to chat to Fiona Bruce briefly."

Stephen, who runs the Being West Kilbride website, said: "The experts seemed most impressed that the toy was in good working order given it is over 90 years old.

"I have a lot of antiques and historical items from West Kilbride but I have always been intrigued by this particular toy."

You can find out what the experts made of the toy and its potential value by tuning in this weekend.

The show is also available on BBC iPlayer.