MORE than 50 years after first performing with John, Paul and George, The Beatles' original drummer Pete Best returned to Birkenhead's YMCA to officially name its community radio station.

On September 8 1962, the band played to a packed crowd at the Birkenhead YMCA in Whetstone Lane. Just a few weeks later at Abbey Road recorded their first hit Love Me Do.

Peter returned to the venue on Wednesday for the official naming of the studio. He also presented an award to teenager Aaron Bretland from Birkenhead, who won a bronze medal in Tae Kwondo at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland earlier this year.

The 15-year-old has been sponsored by YMCA, and benefited from tireless fundraising of nan Dot, who sold cakes and organised bag packs.

On returning the YMCA, Pete told the Globe: “It has changed an awful lot, compared to the days when we used to strut on the stage. The stage is no longer there. It must have been a popular place.

“It’s a nice feeling, to come back in a different context. We used to sneak in through the back way, in our leather jackets, jump up and stage and do what we did and it’s nice to come back.”

YMCA’s chief executive Nigel Hughes said: “It’s probably one of the most significant visits that we’ve had in a long time and I don’t devalue any other visits.

“Everyone speaks with real affection about Pete; the man who put the beat into The Beatles. I think it’s a great credit to people like Pete, keenly supporting a young athlete from Wirral."

Pete added: “People have got to remember we need sporting champions, we want sporting champions. We must do all we can to support them.”

In 1960 the Silver Beatles played without a permanent drummer. Finally, when their manager Allan Williams secured a tour of Hamburg, it was decided that the drummer situation had to be solved.

The solution was Pete Best. The band knew him from a club they had often played and now frequented, The Casbah - where Pete's own group (The Blackjacks) were resident.

Paul McCartney phoned Pete in August 1960 asking if he was interested in joining the band. Pete discussed the situation with his fellow Blackjacks who happily agreed that Pete should take up his place with The Beatles.

Pete formally auditioned, became a Beatle on August 12 1960 and left for Germany with John, Paul, George and Stuart. The rest is history.

The finished song became their first hit in October 62 and when released later in early 63, became their first number One. Unfortunately, in circumstances still clouded in mystery, Pete was dismissed from the group.