FORMER Rat Pack member Buddy Greco is leaving south Essex to move back to America, but says Southend is the best place he’s lived.

The Philadelphia-born 87-year-old jazz singer and pianist is moving back to the United States with his wife Lezlie Anders, 66, after living in Palmeira Avenue, Westcliff, since 2010.

The couple are moving to San Francisco with plans to finish Buddy’s autobiography and also perform gigs over there.

Despite the move, Lezlie said her and Buddy are looking to return to Southend next year.

She said: “The person who owns our flat is moving back in and after looking around a bit, we decided it was the most logical time to move back to the USA.

“But we love it here and next March we are going to move back.

“When Buddy does his shows he says how he’s lived in some of the great cities like New York, Chicago and Rome, but then he says he now lives in the greatest city of them all, Southend.

“Afterwards people ask us why, we say we love the beauty of the town and have thoroughly enjoyed living here.”