A GROUP of Newport performers who are like one big family are celebrating 40 years of taking to the stage.

And to prove the point three generations of the same family are regulars in the Christchurch Music Society's pantomime and musical each year.

The 40 members of Christchurch Music Society have performed Hello Dolly twice this week, with a final show planned tonight.

Numbers of singers and actors have doubled since 1972, when president Ernest Fuller, 80 and his daughter Jan Parfitt started it up.

While there have been plenty of new people coming through the doors of the church hall, there are many familiar faces too.

That's because members tend to invite their relatives along and they never leave, according to secretary and spokesman Martyn Brown, 55.

Pat Bowen, her daughter Angela Everett and granddaughter Lucy Everett, 15, all perform for the society."It's quite something," said Mr Morgan.

"Pat has been here since the 1980s and Ange since she was about ten."

Other family connections are musical director Ellen Routley, her husband John, son Pete and niece Bethan.

'Life member' Dot Gibbs is the group's oldest and she is still in full voice in the chorus, at the grand old age of 82.

An extra 20 people, friends of the society, help out with tasks such as building the set and making costumes, under the guidance of John Parfitt, 49, the husband of Jan.

The group of enthusiastic singers and actors warmed up for their spectacular earlier this week, donning their colourful outfits for a full rehearsal.

For Hello Dolly tickets, call Mr Morgan on 07896284424.