He has played with the likes of Ronnie Wood, Jools Holland, Imelda May, Rod Stewart and even Johnny Depp but Dorset's own "world star" is returning home.

Ben Waters is known as one of the UK's best boogie piano players, having had a 30-year career which started when he left college aged 17 to tour with Shakin Stevens, before taking over piano duties from Chris Holland, Jools’s brother.

Chris told Jools about Ben and he asked him to support him in Portsmouth that year. They have been friends ever since, with Jools being a great mentor and generously allowing him to use his studio.

Ben, who is Weymouth born and bred and now lives in Owermoigne, has since played at more than 6,000 venues during his 30-year-career, but announced his retirement from public performances last year.

He has a number of international commitments and private functions to fulfill - as well as an appearance at Lighthouse, Poole, on Saturday, February 9 - before his last public gig takes place at Under the Bridge in Chelsea in November.

After a whirlwind 2018, during which he completed tours of Australia - including two sell-out shows at the Sydney Opera House - New Zealand; Canada; USA; France; Belgium; Holland; Germany; Austria and Ireland, it's no surprise Ben has decided to take time off to rest and recuperate, get fit and lose weight, as well as spend more time with his wife Ruth and children Tom, 18, and 16-year-old Molly.

In fact, one of his priorities is to help Tom with his music career - the teenager plays saxophone, piano and drums and is currently studying at the Purcell School in London and at the Royal Academy of Music.

No doubt Tom is hoping to follow in his father's footsteps - Ben and his band last year enjoyed two sell-out nights at the famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club with A-list celebrity guests including Ronnie Wood, Imelda May, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp - all celebrating the music of Chuck Berry, with whom both Ben and Ronnie Wood have previously toured.

"We also did a warm-up show in Wimborne as Ronnie, Imelda and my band felt we needed a run through." says Ben.

"We thought about doing it at my home, but then I suggested we should rehearse at the Tivoli Theatre as it’s such a great place and the manager Charlie North Lewis has done so much locally for music and it would be a nice way of saying thanks to him, so we did the rehearsal in the day and then a gig in the evening to warm up for the two Ronnie Scott's shows."

The idea first came about when Ben, Sally and Ronnie Wood met up in Prague: "We got reminiscing and remembered what a great time we had all had at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End when we all got together to celebrate the life of Ian Stewart, founder member of the Rolling Stone (a show which Sally Wood produced)."

On that occasion Ben's favourite drummer and longtime bandmate Charlie Watts was on drums, Dave Green on double bass, Bill Wyman on bass, Ronnie Wood on guitar, Mick Taylor on guitar, Jools Holland on organ, Mick Hucknall on vocals and Ben's old pal Shakin Stevens on vocals, while author Ian Rankin compered the show.

This was one of the catalysts that led to doing a new venture together. When Ben was on tour in Las Vegas at the same time as the Stones, Mick Jagger couldn't perform as he had laryngitis and - as the band had nothing to do - a now legendary jam took place at the Sand Dollar Bar with various musicians. Ben performed some Chuck Berry numbers and a lot of fun was had.

After remembering the events Sally said another event should be organised. Ben suggested a Chuck Berry night - Ronnie loved the idea and the rest has snowballed into rock ‘n roll history.

The event attracted a star-studded audience including Noel Gallagher; Stella McCartney; Kathryn Jenkins and Terry Gilliam.

"I was very proud of the band," says Ben, 44.

"Ronnie chose Dexter Hercules to play drums - he plays drums with all sorts of pop stars and is always in the charts. I got my old friend from Denmark. Dion Edgvet. to play bass On saxes were Antti Snelmann, a great tenor sax player from Helsinki who I often tour with; old friend Adam Davy and my son Tom, who has already recorded with The Rolling Stones, Broken Social Scene, Sir Ray Davies, and lately he has been joining The Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on tour.

"The band was set and looked amazing. About a week before the gigs I popped in to see Ronnie at his home in London and I realised there was a couple of tunes that needed backing singing, so at the last minute I called the amazing Denise Gordon and Weymouth's own Amy Mayes to help me out and they sounded awesome."

Ben is proud to have worked and be friends with Jools Holland, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Rod Stewart, Sir Ray Davies, Johnny Depp, Jeff Beck and so many more.

But he admits he is now looking forward to being able to spend time with his two great loves - his family, and Dorset.

:: Ben Waters will be at Lighthouse, Poole's Sherling Studio on Saturday, February 9.

W: benwaters.com

W: lighthousepoole.co.uk