A much-loved toy shop is celebrating their 25th summer of trading this year.

Toys 'N' Tuck, which first opened in South Woodham Ferrers in 1993, operated five stores across Essex at its peak, and is now based in Queens Road, Southend.

Staff are celebrating with weeks of events, competitions, and activities for their customers in store throughout the summer holidays.

Managing director Alan Dadswell, said: "I am very proud of everything we have achieved as a toy shop. We have gotten through a lot of very difficult times, but being able to continue after all these years has been fantastic.

"With so many shops around the town closing recently and making the headlines for the wrong reasons, I think its important to celebrate the positive fact that there are still people willing to support their high streets and independent traders. We have been here for so long now, and don't plan on going anywhere soon."

Toys 'N' Tuck became a household name across the area after acquiring four further shops in Rayleigh, Southend, Billericay, and Maldon, however have faced turbulent trading conditions as out-of-town superstores and online stores have eaten away at footfall in town centres.

Mr Dadswell said: "It has not been an easy journey, and as we celebrate our continued success in Southend we are also all thinking of the brilliant staff members that we have had to lose throughout the years as business has gone up and down. Most of them have gone on to much bigger and brighter things, but it is never easy to have to let people go."

Toys 'N' Tuck pride themselves on delivering the latest toy crazes to customers, from Pogs, Beanie Babies, and Tamagotchis in the Nineties, to Loom Bands and Spinners in more recent years.

Mr Dadswell said: "Because we are independent and part of the community, we're able to react really quickly to the different crazes that arise. Our focus is always on the children, at the end of the day they are the driving force behind the sale and they are the most discerning of customers.

"They often come in and know exactly what they want, and it is out job to adapt to that and do our best to make sure that no child leaves feeling disappointed.

"We have had to adapt to more modern ways of marketing ourselves, such as holding competitions online, and concentrating on being a recognisable brand that people love and trust. That's what ultimately sets us apart from the huge stores, which can be quite faceless and impersonal."

The shop also runs payment schemes allowing parents to pay in instalments for toys around birthdays or Christmas, to try and ease the financial pressure on families.

Mr Dadswell said: "We understand the pressure that parents can feel to give their children the best, and we always try to do what we can to help. We'd never let a family go home disappointed, it's very important to us as a family-run business that we try every possible avenue to make a child happy.

"A toy shop is not like any other shop for a child, and we always aim to go the extra mile to make it a special experience every time. It's lovely that people who've grown up in the area remember us, increasingly we have parents coming in with their children, who used to shop with us as children themselves.

"The high street is facing its problems, but there's a really supportive community of long-standing independent businesses and it is a pleasure to be a part of it all."