A ROCKING and rolling pensioner who toured with The Beatles and has played with some of the music industry’s most celebrated artists has now wowed celebrity judges on a television talent show.

Crissy Lee, 76, whose real name is Christine Leeworthy, was raised in Lexden and started drumming at the age four when she joined the Salvation Army band.

The veteran musician, who now lives in Peldon, first caught the eye of Essex reporters back in 1955, when she performed on the BBC’s Carroll Levis Discovery Show.

The day after the performance aired, a photographer from the paper made his way to her house where he grabbed a snap of the young protégé holding her drumsticks.

At the time, she was just 12-years-old, and although she and her parents were both certain of her ability and potential, neither could have predicted the star-studded career she would go on to enjoy.

In 1963, for example, Crissy and her band the Beat Chics supported The Beatles on the Liverpudlian band’s first tour of Spain.

Her friendship with a certain Sir Paul McCartney even sparked rumours that the pair may actually have been engaged, but Crissy says this was just used as a ploy to get extra publicity.

Now, 65-years on from her first newspaper feature, the rocking granny has stepped back into the spotlight after her jaw-dropping Britain’s Got Talent audition aired on national television.

“The producers let me know two days before that it was going to be on television and my whole family was sworn to secrecy,” she said.

“It is all about the surprise and I have done hundreds of shows before, so I know how it all works and I am happy to go along with it all.

“But they asked me to do a big reveal and dress like an older lady, but I don’t, so I had to borrow a skirt and a cardigan from my friends.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

In the clip of her audition, which took place in January at the London Palladium, Crissy speaks briefly with judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams.

Dressed in her deceiving get-up, she then gingerly walks behind a screen, before the show’s presenters, Ant and Dec, pull the curtains apart revealing Crissy perched on her drumkit.

Much to the surprise of the judges, the inspiring and happy-go-lucky beat-maker then launched into an energetic medley of rock numbers, such as The Final Countdown and We Will Rock You.

Following her performance, she received a standing-ovation from both the 2,000-strong audience and the judges, who each opted to send her through to the next round.

“I wasn’t nervous at all and Ant and Dec make you feel really calm and make you feel at home and they were really nice guys,” added Crissy.

“I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had a really great time up there - it was really lovely.

“I have actually worked in the Palladium a few times before and I really love it in there.

“The crowd went absolutely bonkers when I started playing and I felt like I was on a big rock stage at the O2.

“As a woman who plays drums, it hasn’t been an easy career for me and female musicians have had it hard for a long time.

“So, to see Simon Cowell standing up and the entire crowd, before I had even finished, was a euphoric feeling and the applauds went on for a long time.”

Crissy, who teaches drums and percussion lessons from her FiddleSticks studio, must now wait to hear from producers with regards to how the current pandemic will impact the competition.

“I have no idea what is going to happen next as they obviously can’t do any more of the show at the moment with what is going on and it wouldn’t work without an audience,” she said.

“We will have to wait and see, but I guess some things in life are just meant to be.”

Crissy has a website at crissylee.co.uk.