A VILLAGE pantomime is celebrating its 40th year and there are some faces which would have been seen in the very first show.

The Pyon Players is putting on Jack and the Beanstalk at the end of the month in the Canon Pyon Village Hall.

The first pantomime in the village was in 1978 when Kath Townsend, then landlady at the Bush Inn, was asked by Eileen Garvey to put a panto on for entertainment for the WI.

Little Red Whittington was cast and Kath said: "On the night, the hall was packed to bursting. People stood on chairs to look through the windows."

Kath was director of the pantomime until five years ago, when Rob Edden took over the role, but she is still involved in the show.

And Pat Watkins was in the first pantomime in the village. Rob said: "She has been in virtually every one since then. She wasn't in last year but she is back in this year as the giant's housekeeper."

When it was started 40 years ago the stage was built in at the village hall and it was very small.

Rob said: "We have now got lots of people helping. We didn't have that before.

"Even seven to eight years ago I was on the stage doing the sound and playing instruments as well. Now we have got a pianist. We have a backstage crew - a sound crew, a lighting crew. It has changed completely to what it was."

The show is written by Andrea Jackson and Meg Hughes. Rob said: "They do the scripts. It is a very localised script making local references and local characters. This year there are quite a few references to Ronald Rump."

This year there are 50 people involved in putting it on. He added: "It is a big community effort with all ages involved."

Jack and the Beanstalk is on from January 25 to 27 at 7.30pm with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday. Tickets are £7 for adults and £3 for children available from Canon Pyon Stores.

Any profit made goes to local good causes. The Playing Fields Association is also holding a raffle.