This year’s Kenilworth Scout and Guide Gang Show (KEGS) is a real family affair, featuring two families whose involvement with the 41-year-old show spans several generations.
The Sheepy family has been involved with KEGS right from the start. In 1968, Guider Denise was asked to help backstage with Getting Together, a Kenilworth Scout and Guide variety show that was the forerunner to the Gang Show in its present format, which started in 1971.
Denise took part in that first Gang Show, as well as helping behind-the-scenes. When her mum, Eileen Pargetor, took over wardrobe duties, Denise started working in wardrobe too, and she’s still busy organising costumes for the Gang today. She said: “Gang Show almost takes over your life for six months every two years, but the enjoyment you get from it is fantastic.”
Daughter Sue joined KEGS in 1991, aged nine. Rainbow and Brownie leader Sue is now the show’s choreographer, as well as a performer.
She said: “I loved my time as a youngster in KEGS and being able to return that to the future generation is wonderful. Seeing them grow in confidence, especially during show week, is very rewarding.”
The next member of the family to continue the tradition was Denise’s son Steven, who first appeared in 1993 as a Cub, later moving into the production team where he is now production co-ordinator. He said: “The best thing about being involved with KEGS is seeing the children’s faces on opening night and seeing all their hard work pay off.”
Sue’s daughter Skye, 11, is the fourth member of her family in the show, first joining her mum on stage in 2011 as one of the youngest members of the Gang – the ‘Dinks’ – at the age of just seven. She’s now in the Senior Gang as a Guide and said: “In KEGS you make loads of friends and have lots of fun. Show week is the best; it’s really exciting to be part of a brilliant show.”
Explorer Scout Chris Porter’s family also has an exceptionally long association with KEGS. Mum Sue Porter (formerly Parry) joined in 1975 as a Brownie, and her dad Dudley started helping at that time in the props team, where he stayed for almost 30 years. Sue then performed in every show until 2003, when she was also a producer. Sue said: “The feeling of performing to a full house just gives you an amazing buzz. I really enjoyed performing with other Gangs from around the country at the Royal Albert Hall in 1995.”
Sue has returned to KEGS for 2015, helping backstage now that 15-year-old son Chris has joined the Gang. Chris enjoys singing and has appeared in many Kenilworth School productions, including Les Miserables, where he played Javert. He is juggling rehearsals around his busy school schedule and playing football for Kenilworth Wardens.
n KEGS 2015 takes to the stage at Warwick Arts Centre from January 7-10. Tickets are available from http://kegs.ticketsource.co.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07852 238699.