The Mark Wynter story began when Terry Lewis was born in Woking in Surrey to Edna Riley and Thomas Lewis on January 29th 1943...
Edna had been evacuated there during the Second World War but within a few months of Terry's birth was able to move them back to her birthplace, Elephant and Castle in South London.Thomas was a trainee motor mechanic and self taught pianist who sang in local public houses at weekends to bolster his meagre wage. Every summer he was Entertainment Organiser at a Holiday Camp as you can see in the picture on the right.
Sadly after two years, the marriage fell apart and for the next few years Terry lived in a kitchen and a bedroom, with his mother and widowed grandmother. No inside bathroom and no hot water available, save the ritual Friday 'Bath Night' in a small tin bath, using water heated in the kitchen. Sleeping arrangements were a very simple affair - the bottom drawer served as his first cot, an opportune place to 'shut up' a crying baby. Not that it ever came to that!
By the age of eight Terry had a stepfather and a baby brother, and four more children were to follow. They lived in Downham in Kent and 'Dad' Jardine worked flat out to bring home what was needed... just. Treats were hard earned, money was tight and as a ten year old, Terry was the youngest paper boy on the estate.
Around this time the Headmaster at his Junior School , being aware of his pure soprano voice, suggested to Edna that Terry would make a fine choirboy. And so it proved, joining the choir awakened the young Terry's love of music that was to become the mainstay of his life. Terry became Head Choirboy and was chosen to sing solo at school and then as an eleven year old he was selected out of 250 applicants to sing at Canterbury Cathedral and the following year he represented his Parish Church in a FESTIVAL OF MUSIC at The Royal Albert Hall. In Terry's wildest dreams he could never have dreamt that seven short years later he would return to the Albert Hall to sing as a soloist, in an entirely different guise and with an entirely different name.
Appealing vocals and a love of music ran through the generations of Terry's family. Not only did his father sing but his grandfather was a fine amateur Welsh opera singer and he remembers his mother, Edna singing ‘full out' in her kitchen in a sweet tuneful voice - photographed here a few years before she died in 2004.
From the age of 13 Terry was determined to be a singer and once his voice broke he developed a keen interest in pop music. Singing opportunities were infrequent but a local band called “Hank Fryer and the Rockerfella's” promised an occasional spot when ‘Hank' took a fifteen minute break for a quick pint. These brief on stage interludes were a longed for and much looked forward to Saturday night escape from the humdrum of everyday life.
One performance in a Peckham dance hall in July 1959 was to change his life. On that evening Terry was fronting a semi-pro beat group deputising for a friend who had lost his voice and he was noticed by a talent scout, one Ray Mackender, who became his manager and was responsible for guiding him from part time amateur to full time professional.
Mark is married to ex-professional dancer Emma. They met during a record breaking Summer Season at Bournemouth 's Winter Gardens theatre in THE DICK EMERY SHOW circa 1973. As Mother of their three children she too is a busy gal! She teaches Pilates, Fit Steps, Aerobics and themed workshops for adults and children including Ballet.
It looks as though history is repeating itself with their three children enjoying musical success. Youngest son Barnaby plays Trumpet, Piano and sings. Daughter Darcey teaches Piano and Singing and eldest son Josh is an internationally established composer in film & television. www.joshwynter.com