South Shields scouts’ gang show was a real highlight

Gang show programme.
Gang show programme.

Today we continue David Rose’s nostalgic trip back to his boy scouting days.

“The scout gang show was a highlight of the year in 1960,” recalls Shields lad David.

“I took part in that one, at St Aidan’s Hall, which was in one of the streets off Beach Road, I think.

“Somewhere, I still have a sheet with the words of the ‘Choirboy Song’. What I did find was the programme, which I’ve enclosed.

“The cover looks a bit scruffy because I got everyone to sign it. There’s a couple of signatures inside too, on the page with the programme of acts.

“For the show there were strict rules about any jewellery - not that boys tended to wear any in those days - but anything that would shine and distract the audience was banned.

“Items such as St Christopher’s, crucifixes and watches had to be left at home or in the care of the scoutmaster.

“Make-up was real greasepaint, and the best thing to remove it was good old animal fat.

“As you left the stage after the finale, you got a good dollop of lard slapped onto your face.

“You would then rub this into all areas that had make-up applied, and that made it easier to wipe off with kitchen roll or tissues.

“My scouting days ended when I joined the RAF in 1965 but, like the armed forces, the scouting movement, including the guides, boys brigade, sea scouts etc, teach youngsters self-confidence, skills for life, good manners, courteousness and loyalty.

“I am very proud of our two grandsons, who both belong to the scouting movement. Our son was also a scout in the ‘80s when we lived in Riyadh.”

David recalls the scout law, which is as follows: –

1. A scout is to be trusted;

2. A scout is loyal;

3. A scout is friendly and considerate;

4. A scout belongs to the worldwide family of scouts;

5. A scout has courage in all difficulties;

6. A scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property, and,

7. A scout has self-respect and respect for others.

David adds that: “The scout motto (I think everyone knows this) is ‘Be Prepared’.

* Please get in touch with your memories of your times in the scouts or any of the other organisations mentioned in David’s article.