Mike Pender, former lead singer with The Searchers, for more than 50 years, went to see Buddy Holly and he knew in that moment he wanted to be a singer.

"I went on my own, he inspired me. I had already seen Frankie Laine in High Noon and he was a great vocalist but when I saw Buddy I just thought: I want to be up there.''

The singer grew up with the songs of the late Fats Domino, and Bill Haley, never imagining that he would be rubbing shoulders with his musical heroes in The Cavern in Liverpool and The Star Bar in Hamburg.

"It was like an apprenticeship and when we were earning £50 a night and meeting stars like The Crickets and Ray Charles we decided to take the plunge. So, I gave up my job at a printers and book binders,'' said Mike.

Today, Mike is still out there touring and this autumn joins an all star cast in the Sensational 60s Experience alongside Chris Farlowe, Herman's Hermits, The Fortunes and The New Amen Corner.

The new theatre show drops into Swindon on Sunday, November 12 at the Wyvern Theatre.

"We have a laugh with the audience and take a walk down memory lane. The picture outside the theatre is when I was young in 1960,'' said Mike.

The show includes hits such as Needles and Pins, Out Of Time, I’m Into Something Good, Storm In A Tea Cup, Bend Me Shape Me plus many more.

Mike says that Western movies were a huge influence on him and his pals growing up, and they named their band, The Searchers, after seeing the John Wayne movie of the same name in 1957.

"Of course we were all on the Indians side,'' said Mike.

The guitarist met his wife at the famous Cavern Club when she was just 16.

"It was 1962 and pitch black in there. She was shy and little, I remember. We courted for three years. One of our songs was for her - Take Good Care Of My Baby. She still comes on tour and we have a laugh on the road,'' he said. "I call her my girlfriend of 50 years.''

One of the highlights for Mike during his years with The Searchers, was being the first pop band to play on the QE2, but they nearly didn't make it on to the cruise ship at all, as it had already sailed.

"I remember we got to Barcelona and drove from the airport to the docks but the ship had left on the evening tide,'' said Mike. "The guy who took us phoned the ship which dropped anchor and a little sailing boat came to pick us up.''

Mike has written his autobiography, which is out now at Waterstones and on Amazon, recounting his musical adventures with The Searchers, working with Tony Hatch and all the raw excitement of being in a pop group during the 1960s.

Tickets to see Mike and his pals in the Sensational 60s Experience are £32 from 01793 524481 or visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk - Flicky Harrison