SINGING about combine harvesters and cider drinking for the past 40 years seems to have convinced the front man of legendary Somerset band The Wurzels to stay in the West Country for good.

Scottish Wurzel Tommy Banner, 68, lives in Taunton and celebrated the 40-year milestone on Monday as the longest serving member of the band. He told the County Gazette he never believed he would stay in the West Country so long, let alone still be singing with the group.

Fondly known as Jock McSpreader by his fellow band members, Tommy replaced Reg Chant in November 1967, arriving from Scotland to join a "trendy pop group" on his accordion and piano.

Back in November 2005 fans supported him through his treatment of prostate cancer and subsequent radiotherapy treatment and he made a speedy recovery.

Tommy said: "It has been fantastic, I would never have believed it. I didn't even think I'd be in the West Country this long. I have a lovely wife and a lovely family here but I would love to live in Scotland because I miss my mates.

"I often think that's the one thing I would miss but it would be impossible to work from Scotland. In terms of the future, I always say just keep going', we will carry on with The Wurzels until we stop enjoying it."

Now looking forward to celebrating 50 years with the Wurzels, Tommy said he would be celebrating his 40-year stint with a trip to Bridgwater Carnival on Friday!