Slideshow: Upwell Gilbert and Sullivan Society perform HMS Pinafore for 40th anniversary show

PUBLISHED: 14:00 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 June 2010

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A PERFORMANCE of HMS Pinafore 40 years ago sparked the birth of the remarkable Upwell Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Despite trials and tribulations including the death of their founding member and losing several homes, the so

Story by: ADAM LAZZARI

A PERFORMANCE of HMS Pinafore 40 years ago sparked the birth of the remarkable Upwell Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Despite trials and tribulations including the death of their founding member and losing several homes, the society is still going strong.

To mark its 40th anniversary the society is again performing HMS Pinafore, alongside Captain Billy at St Andrews Methodist Church in Outwell.

The first performance takes place tonight and it will be performed tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday at 7.30pm.

Two people, Peter Calver and Pat Askew, featured in that debut production and are involved in this week's shows.

Mr Calver, 59, now chairman of the society, said: "It's so difficult to pick out highlights over the years - every year is a highlight for me.

"We've lost a few members and gained some but we're still going strong with about 35 members and doing one big show every year.

"For a group like us to be still going in this day and age is a remarkable achievement in itself and this is down to the energy and enthusiasm of the members and the fact that we have an audience out there that wants to see our shows."

Founding member Audrey Carnson died in her 70s following illness shortly after successfully producing her 34th consecutive show.

Mr Calver said: "Audrey and her husband Stuart, who died a couple of years before her and was also very actively involved in the society, are both very fondly remembered."

The society has had to move home several times. They started at Upwell Village Hall but moved to Upwell Youth and Community Centre and performed there until the building was demolished.

They then moved to Upwell Secondary School, but that was also demolished. The society has also performed at the Angles Theatre in Wisbech.

Fans can see a history of the society through pictures and newspaper articles at this week's shows.

Tickets are £6 for adults and £4 for children and can be booked by calling 01945 773070.

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