This week we take a trip through memory lane to look at the history of a beloved toy that ignited children's creativity and gave parents some much-needed quiet time.

Fuzzy Felt comprises a flocked backing board onto which a number of felt shapes, silhouettes or more detailed printed versions can be placed to create different pictures. And its origins were local.

Its inventor was Lois Allan, a lady who lived in Farnham Common, the wife of the Managing Director of Travel Associates Ltd. During the second world war Lois and her husband William took into their home evacuee children from London.

They were also active in placing a number of British children with families in the USA.

Early in that war their son Lieutenant A M Allan, known as Peter, of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders was taken prisoner of war. He was held in various German POW camps, notably Colditz Castle, known as Oflag IVC.

During his time there he made the ultimately unsuccessful 'mattress escape' attempt in late 1940. Peter was a small man who spoke German well and he managed to escape hidden in a mattress. After a long and exhausting journey he eventually reached Vienna.

There he was refused help by the America Embassy (the USA was still neutral at that time) and had to give himself up to the Germans. He was then returned to Colditz on May 31 1941 and sent straight to the cells for a period of solitary confinement. At the end of the war, Peter was promoted to Captain and was also Mentioned in Despatches.

Back in Farnham Common his parents went on to extend their work at the "Home Front" by using outbuildings at their home to manufacture felt gaskets for sealing tank components. Lois then noticed how the workers' children enjoyed sticking cast-off shapes of the felt on to the fuzzy backs of her table mats.

Simple yet effective, Fuzzy Felt had arrived. The first sets consisted of a collection of small, fuzzy pieces of felt in assorted shapes, sizes and colours which could be arranged on a flocking board to make your picture or pattern of choice. Mothers liked the fact that no messy adhesives were needed and fathers the fact that it kept the children quiet!

The toy was formally launched in 1950 in the department stores of Heals and John Lewis and was an immediate success. The Allans established Allan Industries Ltd to manufacture and market the product.

Production expanded into themed boxes such as Ballet, Maths, Bible Stories and the all-conquering On the Farm, and the market spread internationally.

In the mid-1970s sales reached around a million sets a year, but since then have been reduced to a more modest 250,000. Even so, to date more than 25m boxes have been sold. Currently the brand seems to be used by a company Mandolyn which is based in Princes Risborough.

Could Fuzzy Felt be due for a renaissance? It is creative and is one of the few toys these days that doesn't require batteries. It does not wear out and can be played with time and time again.

It can even be handed down through the generations - whilst writing this article my wife and I took a look in the loft, lo and behold there was a box of Fuzzy Felt Fantasy. This will now be passed to the great grandchildren, when they arrive.