CHIEF scout Bear Grylls has sent his congratulations to the 1st Kildwick and Farnhill Scout Group as it prepares to perform its record-breaking 80th Gang Show, the longest running in the country.

The group was formed in 1940 and has held a gang show every year at various venues in South Craven since 1941 with the exception of 2002, due to 'other commitments'', and more recently, in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It soldiered on with its sketches, comedy and group singing throughout the Second World War and it has seen more than 3,500 beavers, cubs, scouts, explorers and leaders taking to the stage over the years at a number of venues.

For the 75th show at Glusburn Institute in 2016 all members wore a commemorative neckerchief and woggle incorporating the 75th anniversary logo. Joining the group to  celebrate the special occasion was the UK Youth Commissioner Hannah Kentish.

The Gang Show was held at various locations up to the 40th in 1980 which was held at St Peters in Cross Hills. In the mid 1980s, it moved to Glusburn Institute where it has stayed ever since, apart from in 1996 and 1997 when alterations at the institute meant it had to be held at South Craven School.

Winnie Smith who died in 2016 was the first Gang Show producer from the early 1940’s until 1988.

Group Scout Leader Richard Tillotson, said: "Winnie had been involved with the show from 1943 when tickets for the event cost one shilling for adults and sixpence for children and she produced it from 1944 until 1988.

"Winnie is mentioned in the group log book for November 8, 1944. It refers to the Gang Show being held in Farnhill and it was suggested that Winnie should be the producer.

"The log book for October 6, 1943, says the show was held in Glusburn as well as Farnhill and it was agreed it would be better if Winnie came to the next Court of Honour Meeting to discuss programme and songs and on December 1, 1943 it was decided that admission should be one shilling for adults and six pence for children."

Richard took over production in 1989 and has continued to this day with the support of many scout leaders and helpers over the years.

His father, Neil Tillotson has now performed in an amazing 63 out of the 80 Gang Shows.

In 2011 the group was awarded with a special recognition certificate from the county commissioner in recognition for producing, directing and providing scout shows for 70 years. It was also the year when the group welcomed Beavers to the stage for the first time.

In 2013 it was were recognised as being the longest running group Gang Show in the country Now, the group is preparing for its 80th gang show, which will take place on November 24 and November 25 at the Glusburn Institute.

For its 80th show, all members of the group will also wear a commemorative woggle and tee shirt incorporating the Gang Show logo.

In a letter to the troop, Bear Grylls, who also wrote ahead of its 75th show in 2016, said: "I’m so proud to congratulate your Gang Show as you celebrate your 80th birthday. What a milestone!

"That’s 80 years, of songs, laughter, dance and unstoppable entertainment. Your incredible enthusiasm and commitment truly captures our great Scouting spirit – and you inspire others with your infectious optimism.

"I know that a huge amount goes on behind the scenes to make these shows happen. I also know what fantastic opportunities these are to give young people skills and confidence for the future; providing a platform for their talents, and the opportunity to shine. They take these skills with them throughout their lives – helping them step up and speak up in whatever they do.

"Thank you for making this possible. Above all, Gang Shows are a great example of Scouts working together.

"They’re about making connections and encouraging people from different backgrounds to join together to create something special that we can all enjoy and be proud of.

Enjoy your 80th anniversary Gang Show. Congratulations again, and may the show go on."

Richard added: "The group has kept the traditional values of a gang show by performing with its own members. It makes it something special for everyone including the back stage crew, lighting and sound, costume and make up teams.

"Long may our Group Gang Show continue entertaining families, friends and the local community for many more years to come."

The 80th Gang Show takes place on Friday November 24 and Saturday, November 25 in the Glusburn Institute.

Doors open at 6.45pm, show starts at 7.15pm. Tickets £8.50 for adults, and £6.50 for children. Family tickets are available.

Tickets can be booked via