Wee Willie Henry
& The Wanderers


Wee Willie Henry and the Wanderers were from Kendal. The frontman (Wee Willie) was Jack Croskell. The rest of the linup was Malcolm Heslop on lead guitar (who unfortunately died from a heart attack in 2002), Kevin Miller on bass and Mike Langdon on rhythm guitar. There were several drummers during the band's lifespan.

The party piece of Wee Willie Henry and the Wanderers was a wild version of "Donald Where's Yer Troosers" which involved Wee Willie removing one of his many layers of "troosers" at the end of each verse. Rumour used to have it (falsely) that one night he had lost count of how many he was wearing! They also did a cracking version of Speedy Gonzales with ponchos, woolly pants and coloured wellies.

The band played The Parish Hall in Kendal, supporting such acts as Gene Vincent and Dave Berry,and venues such as Windermere, The Pavilion in Keswick and Threlkeld village hall (which was a favourite with groups as you got well fed as well as paid!). Having met Gene Vincent, whose legendary band was the Blue Caps, they got kitted out with red caps except Wee Willie who had a blue one.

As with many bands of the time they travelled in a Bedford Dormobile. When they played with The Merseybeats they used to have a race for who could reach the service station first. One winter night,on the way to Orton, the van overturned in the snow. Amazingly none of the band were injured and the only piece of equipment to be damaged was a small tape recorder. As they were now stranded they asked at a police station if they could sleep in a cell but were advised that it was far too cold in the cells. They ended up sleeping in a dutch barn in bales of hay - still wearing their stage clothes.

The band disbanded around 1967 and the majority of the band formed a country band. They went on to feature on Hughie Green's Opportunity Knock's in the seventies where they finished second behind a comedian.

Jack went his own way, eventually turning professional in the early seventies and moved to Middlesbrough.

He was very popular and changed his name to Mark Darrell. He sang country music all over the country and as far afield as Spain, Jersey and Cyprus.

He later moved to Hull, East Yorkshire, where he is still residing, and was again very popular on the club scene.

In the early eighties Jack formed a duo with his wife Ann and they brought an album out called Sincerely Yours - Mark and Ann Darrell, which sold out 1000 copies very quickly.

Then they then once again started the rollercoaster of being extremely busy playing regularly in Scotland and the North East.

Jack kept on performing in the club scene up to quite recently, even coming back to Kendal where he has a good fan base with all the people who remember him from the 60's.

At the age of 73 in October 2010 he decided to call it a day and announced his retirement from the scene.

His last show in Kendal was at the New Inn which was packed with the people who remembered him. People in Kendal (and beyond) are still asking for him, so who knows how long his retirement will last!