A DRAMA group which was set up to raise funds after a church fire is still treading the boards 50 years on.

The Parish Players of Old Gourock and Ashton formed half a century ago to help repair a hall and has been going strong every since.

Members are marking the magic milestone with a performance of Dick Whittington.

The group currently has around 20 members and stages a spring revue and pantomime every year.

It's been a family affair for president Morven Lyle, whose late father Eddy was a popular pantomime dame while her mum, also Morven, has been a member for 30 years.

Morven said: "I've performed, made tea and I am ticket convenor at the moment. I've done a bit of everything."

She says the success of the Players is the fact that they are a part of the community.

She said: "People want to entertain.

"We have quite a few family members over the years.

"It passed down from mother to daughter and even from grandmother."

Morven, 38, has been a member since she was eight years old and this year's show will be special for her on a personal level as it will be her last panto with the group.

She said: "I am sad to say this will be my last panto as I am getting married in August and moving away."

The church's Little Wives established the Players as a modest musical group to boost church funds.

Morven said: "It started out with ladies fundraising and it became so popular that their husbands helped build the set and backstage."

The current team is small, which means everyone has to pitch in to make the shows a success.

Morven said: "Everyone gets involved, we make and paint all our props together.

"It's not a case of showing up and going on stage.

"The group is good for the church and helps to open it up to the community.

"We have youth groups and nursing home residents coming to our spring shows and pantomimes.

"It makes the theatre more accessible for people who couldn't afford to go to see the bigger shows."

* Dick Whittington runs from Tuesday November 27 until December 1 at the church halls in Binnie Street.

Tickets cost £7 for evening performances and £5 for Saturday matinee and early evening shows.

To book tickets call 713406.