A MYSTERY surrounding a song lyric by one of the world’s biggest ever bands could have its roots in Northwich.

The Beatles claim that the enigmatic Father McKenzie, mentioned in 1966 chart-topper ‘Eleanor Rigby’ was merely a name picked out of a phonebook, but an appreciation society is looking to confirm that he was, in fact, a man from Rudheath.

Tommy McKenzie, inaugural compere at the Northwich Memorial Hall and an all-round town celebrity, was said to be like a father to the Fab Four who would go on to become the most famous faces in the world.

John, Paul, George and Ringo played a number of times at the Memorial Hall, with Tommy having befriended the band in his native Liverpool.

John James Chambers, Liverpool Beatles Appreciation Society founder and president, wants to hear from anyone who remembers Tommy’s work with the band, their shows in the town, or even their surprise appearance at the Northwich Carnival in 1963.

He said: “There are such a lot of people who knew Tommy in Northwich.

“Reporters asked Paul McCartney recently who Father McKenzie was, but he said he just picked a name out of the phone book.

“I knew Tommy quite well. He looked after the band on stage so much that they called him ‘Father’.

“He served in the army with Charlie Lennon, John’s uncle, and used to tell John about how he would darn his socks in the night during the Blitz.”

Articles in the Guardian from years gone by recall the impact Tommy had on the band and the town.

In 2000, commemorating 40 years since the Memorial Hall first opened, a friend from Lostock credited Tommy as being responsible for The Beatles, The Kinks and Ken Dodd coming to town.

Tommy died in the 1990s, but is well remembered by those who knew him.

Each year the society marks the birthdays of the band members, and – more recently – the anniversaries of John and George’s deaths with a gathering at ‘The Four Lads who Shook the World’ statue in Mathew Street.

October 9 marks 78 years since John Lennon was born.