THE original voice of legendary 1960s pop band the Searchers has spent decades pursuing his dream.

Mike Pender may have just turned 78, but he has never enjoyed live performances more.

Together with five other star names, Pender will bring the sound of the Sixties to Clacton once again.

He said: “You get to a place where you know these aren’t like the shows you used to play in the 60s, when you’ve got hundreds of screaming girls in the audience.

“But playing in these small theatres is really good, it is a more intimate setting.

“The crowd are there because they love your music and want to enjoy a bit of nostalgia. “We even get the chance to chat with fans after the show.”

Merseybeat band the Searchers formed in Liverpool in 1960 and have since racked up more than 50 million record sales.

Starting out as a four-piece, the group headed to Hamburg’s beat mecca the Star-Club, known for hosting legends including the Beatles and Ray Charles.

In 1962, they played at the club for a remarkable 128 days, including three one-hour performances in a single night. A record contract with Pye saw them release debut single Sweets For My Sweet in July 1963.

After a slow start, it eventually knocked the Beatles off the number one spot in October.

“We took a bit of a chance - giving up our jobs in Liverpool to go to the Star-Club in Hamburg,” said Pender.

“I can remember my mother at the time saying to me ‘You’re not giving your job up are you?’, and I said ‘Of course I am - the other boys are.’

“It’s a good thing it worked.

“It was surreal, we were still young lads and to get to go to a recording studio and make a record - I had to pinch myself.”

Now Pender joins Chris Farlowe, Herman’s Hermits, the Swinging Blue Jeans, New Amen Corner and the Fourmost for a Sixties experience like no other.

Expect hits including Needles and Pins, Out Of Time, I’m Into Something Good and Bend Me Shape Me. The Sound of the Sixties is at the West Cliff Theatre at 7.30pm on Saturday, March 23. Tickets are available from the theatre box office on 01255 433344.