THE drummer of popular comedy folk band The Lancashire Hotpots has died, it has been announced.

Tom McGrath, known as Willie Eckerslike in the four-strong St Helens group, died on Wednesday.

He was one of the founder members of the sharp-witted band, which has legions of fans across Lancashire.

In a statement the band said: "The sudden death of a friend is never easy to comprehend, when it's someone who has profoundly affected your life since the minute you met him, then it hits you all the harder.

"Our thoughts are understandably with his family at this incredibly difficult time.

"If the man has ever made you laugh, have a drink (or 10) tonight and play some drum and bass at an unfeasibly loud volume.

"I think it's what he would have wanted."