Arts & Culture Schools

How Oor Wullie became school hit thanks to a Bay City Roller & West End musician

By Ian Marland at

He has been celebrating his 80th birthday this year – but he’s only a boy.

Oor Wullie – the cartoon fixture of the Sunday Post newspaper for generations – is a national icon that shows no sign of growing old.


Watch: Composer Kenny MacKenzie talks about his song for Oor Wullie.

Even Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has marked the occasion by choosing the boy character as the star of her official Christmas cards.

But one West End-based musician has already turned Wullie’s japes and antics in to a classroom hit for boys and girls.

A CD featuring the song – Oor Wullie Scotland’s Oldest Boy – penned by Kenny is currently making its way to Christmas stockings around Scotland.

Composition:  Kenny Mackenzie wrote Oor Wullie Scotland Oldest Wee Boy.

Composition: Kenny Mackenzie wrote Oor Wullie Scotland Oldest Wee Boy.

Kenny, who lives in Scotstoun, said: “I decided to write a song about Oor Wullie a few years ago because I loved the character so much.

“I entered that song into a competition being run by the Sunday Post but never heard back.

“I thought fine, so I recorded the track for my own album of pipe tunes and harmonica music

“Some time later I was introduced to Gordon Campbell who was producing Broons albums for DC Thomson who said he would love to include my song on his album.

Fan: Kenny says he has been interested in Wullie's exploits since he was a young boy.

Fan: Kenny says he has been interested in Wullie’s exploits since he was a young boy.

“He and Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood who works with Gordon have included the track on their compilation – ‘Oor Wullie: Sing-a-long Favourites’.

“It’s doing really well and has proved popular with schools and children.

“I was even told that one school in London had been learning the song, which I thought was a great image: London children learning a very Scottish song.”

Kenny said he has been interested in the character since he was a small boy.

“I love the fact he’s a boy who doesn’t have very much – other than his wee bucket, his shed and his pet mouse Jeemy… and his imagination.

“It was great how he made fun and adventure out of nothing.”

He said of the compilation CD: “I was really pleased for the platform that Gordon and Stuart gave me with the CD.

Kenny MacKenzie said:

“I’m delighted the first minister has chosen Wullie to be on her Christmas cards, because he is a wonderful character that should be celebrated.

“After all he is 80 years of age. And that makes him ‘Scotland’s oldest wee boy’ – as the song goes!”

“I am pleased that they included it and it just gets the song out there.

“And at the end of the day it is for people to enjoy – if they enjoy it, I’ll be happy.”

Ms Sturgeon unveiled a special festive illustration of Oor Wullie for her official Christmas card.

The image shows Wullie sitting on his bucket in front of his shed, with the first minister peering round the side after leaving him a present.

The original illustration will be auctioned for charity next year.

Kenny said: “I’m delighted the first minister has chosen Wullie to be on her Christmas cards, because he is a wonderful character that should be celebrated.

“After all he is 80 years of age. And that makes him ‘Scotland’s oldest wee boy’ – as the song goes!”

* Oor Wullie: Sing-a-long Favourites is available here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oor-Wullie-Sing-long-Favourites/dp/B00O677DZS