A MAN who treasured a family Christmas tree that has been part of his life since he was born is finally parting company with the 80-year-old festive heirloom.

The tree, bought at Woolworths in the 1930s, has been in Steve Rose's life at Christmas for every one of his 74 years.

As a child Mr Rose, who grew up in Markham, Caerphilly, remembers his mother decorating it and has maintained the tradition.

The sparse affair, one of the first mass-produced trees ever made for the famous department store, will be sold at Derbyshire's Hansons Auctioneers this month along with more of Mr Rose's festive collectables - 1950s Woolworths Christmas tree lights, still in their original box, baubles and glow-in-the-dark icicles.

He believes it is time to say goodbye and give someone else the opportunity to create a simple, vintage Christmas. For him, a festive season without excess produced plenty of happiness when he was a boy.

He said: “I saw how much that tree went for and thought someone might like this one,” said Steve, a retired biology teacher. He inherited the tree when his mother and father, also called Stephen, passed away, and used it every Christmas until about eight years ago.

“It was our main family tree for years and I remember my mum putting it up every Christmas. I’ve had it all my life.

“Christmas was not an extravagant affair when I was a child growing up in South Wales. in the late 1940s you’d get a Christmas sock and inside it was a tangerine, nuts, some loose change and small presents.

“It was very simple but enjoyable. On Christmas Day we had a chicken from the lady at the back of our house who bred them.”

“I think we enjoyed Christmas more back then. Because we didn’t have much, we valued what we did have. I was given a train set when I was 11 and I only parted with that eight years ago. It was still in mint condition with its original box.

“These days, some children get thousands of pounds spent on them and don’t appreciate it because they’re used to having so much.

“My father had to start work down the mine at the age of 13 because his mother had been widowed twice, there were four children to feed and the rent had to be paid. He worked in mining for 49 years.

“He retired at 62 and lived until he was 77. He was a lovely, strong man – my parents were what I call good folk. The village where I grew up had a strong community spirit. Money was scarce but we always had one good cooked meal a day.”

He is now looking forward to Christmas – but without his family festive tree.

He added: “Let’s hope it finds an exciting new home and puts a sparkle into Christmas for generations to come.”

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “This is a chance to buy your very own vintage Christmas and own a tree of historical importance. Nearly a century after it was made, this tree deserves to be an evergreen star."

The vintage Christmas tree, lights and decorations will be sold on December 18, 2018, at Hansons Fine Art & Jewellery Auction, which is being held at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, ST17 0XN. Estimate £200-£300.