Wee Willy Winky 60 years on

Roderick McLean, dressed as Wee Willie Winkie
Roderick McLean, dressed as Wee Willie Winkie

AN EX-pat has come forward to identify himself on a picture of a Hartlepool street party held to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation.

Roderick McLean contacted Together Again to say he was on a photograph sent in by Mail reader Geoff Bolland, showing a 1952 street party held in Thornville Road, which had been taken by his late father, Jim.

Roderick McLean dressed as a sailor for a production of HMS Pinafore.

Roderick McLean dressed as a sailor for a production of HMS Pinafore.

Roderick, 69, now lives in British Columbia, in Canada.

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But that did not stop word spreading across the Atlantic that he had hit the headlines when his 94-year-old twin sisters Myra and Muriel, who live in Bramley Court, Hartlepool, sent him a copy of the article, which appeared on June 5.

Roderick, who describes himself as a “far-flung Poolie”, identified himself as the boy dressed up as Wee Willie Winkie – and it turns out he is still fond of dressing up, having appeared in numerous stage productions, as seen in the more recent pictures he has sent of himself.

He said: “My 94-year-old sister has sent me a copy of the article on the street party in Thornville Road. and yes that is me, Roderick McLean, Wee Willie Winkie.

“I think the girl behind me is my cousin Jennifer McLean, the tall chap at the back is my brother Ian, who is dressed in his girlfriend’s tutu and I think the girl with the flower in her hair is Pat Smith.

“The photo was taken outside number 44 Thornville, and the McLeans lived at 46 for many years. Yes, I remember all the names and I particularly remember Jim Bolland.

“He was, so I was told, on the Navy’s motor torpedo boats, and when he walked along the street he swayed as though to counter the roll of the ship.

“I think he had a lovely spaniel. Did he live next door to the Busbys?

“Thanks for the photo, Geoff, and thanks to you for printing it, great fun days.”

Roderick, a retired gas platform worker, sent two pictures of himself, one from April, when he played a sailor in the chorus of HMS Pinafore, performed by the Fazer Valley Stage company.

He said the McLean family lived at 46 Thornville Road for nearly 50 years and he was one of 13 siblings.

But he said only remaining now are himself, his twin sisters and their brother Ian, who now lives in South Africa.

Geoff Bolland, of Greatham, previously told the Mail that his family lived in number 27 and had remembered Roderick.

He had also been able to identify Alan and Raymond Cram, John Busby, Leonard Snowball, Bill Scott, Melvin Dollin, Bob Percival, Eddie Sanders and Christine Prince (nee Worn).

Roderick has four children – Steven, Kerry and Leeanda, who live in Lowestoft, Kent, and Charles, who lives in Canmore, BC, Canada.

He grew up in West Hartlepool and his schools included Lynnfield, Dyke House, TDS “tech tech mucky neck!” and Tech College.