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Langport & District Friendly Society

350friendly march

Annual Report 2015


On Saturday 23rd May the members of the Langport and District Friendly Society met for their 57th annual march and luncheon since the reformation of the Society. The weather was wonderful and the spirits of the members of the Friendly Society were high.

They all met at Langport Sports club in the memorial field in Langport at 07:30hrs, where they paid their annual subscriptions and set off together with Kingsbury Band through the principal streets of Langport and Huish Episcopi. The president and secretary marching ahead of the club banner through North Street, up Langport Hill and onwards to St Mary’s Church in Huish Episcopi for a service given by the Rev Jess Pitman. The lesson was taken from Matthew Chapter 4 versus 18-22 and the sermon encouraged members to go and find others who would join the Friendly Society. Kingsbury Band provided rousing music for the Hymns; Praise my soul the King of Heaven and Onward Christian Soldiers. Following the service the society made their first stop of the day at ‘The Rose and Crown’ (Eli’s). The club and the band then made their way through the roads and streets and visited both public and private houses of Huish Episcopi and Langport. This year a fresh stop was made at the new address of Simon Whitmore, a past Secretary and very much a stalwart of the club. Both the society and the band were provided with sustenance to help them on their way. Everyone the society visited was provided with music from the band, a short toast from a guest speaker and offered three cheers by the members of the society. Following the tour of both Town and Parish the members and band stopped at the Langport Arms Hotel where they met the invited guests of the society for a substantial luncheon. The secretary of the society, Simon Martin, provided an account of the organisations charitable donations in past year. This included £175:00 to the Langport Events Group. £250:00 to the Senior Citizens Club. A donation of £100:00 to Links Transport, £75:00 to the Royal British Legion and £120:00 to the Luncheon Club. Local Radio presenter Greg Bown was introduced to the assembled guests and members and provided a gratefully received toast to the society. And raised more than a giggle from the members and guests present. Gregs’ Brother, Nik Bown to respond to the toast and was on hand to offer any apologies required following Greg’s’ toast… None were required. Nik offered a toast to the guests and managed to find some jokes of his own to add. At the conclusion of proceedings, the President of the society thanked all present for making the day the successful event that it was. The members and the guests then repaired to the bar for further convivial conversation and merrymaking.

Friendly Societies can be traced back to the early 17thCentury. They are the forerunners to modern day savings institutions and trade unions and served members in the absence of any kind of welfare state. Langport and District Friendly Society is identified as only 1 of 5 remaining Friendly Societies in the Country. The Society now runs to raise money for local good causes and to ensure that this important link with history is maintained.

Bill Langford

President Langport and District Friendly Society