(Established in 1827 and reformed in 1959) Click here for a few historical photographs. Also see the album 'Bygone Days' on this website for similar period photographs - Webmaster.

It had been 1093 days since the Langport District Friendly Society (LDFS) had last marched on the 25th May 2019 for their Diamond Anniversary Annual March and Luncheon. In the meantime during lockdown and Covid restrictions the route had been walked, by the President, alone in 2020 (as part of his permitted daily exercise and by the Committee as a body of men in 2021 when numbers in gatherings were restricted). But this year on the 21st May, the Society met and marched behind their banner and Kingsbury Episcopi Band (KEB) once again. It was quite an emotional moment as soon as the band ‘struck up’ and the assembled members stepped out once more for their walk around the town of Langport and parish of Huish Episcopi.
Having paid their subscriptions at Langport Sports Club, The Society marched to the Hanging Chapel, where they broke rank to avoid the road closure and any potential of falling masonry (We didn’t want any members with bad heads this early in the day) and continued onwards to St Mary’s Church, Huish Episcopi. It was a glorious moment with the Band playing and the Bells ringing. At the Church, the Society was warmly greeted by The Rev Jess Pitman, who mindful of it being the last time that she would be addressing the society at their annual service was perhaps a little emotional herself.
The sound in the Church was wonderful as KEB provided music for the Hymns, ‘Praise my Soul’ and ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’. The President of LDFS read a lesson from RUTH 2:12 and went onto to thank the Rev Jess Pitman for her tremendous work over the past 12 years in the area. Three Cheers were raised and the band played ‘For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ which was sung along to with gusto by the congregation. The march then continued to the ‘Rose & Crown’ (Eli’s) where the members met with the new licensee’s, Ryan, Annalee and Lauren. Who keep the tradition of running Eli’s within the family. The Friendly Society has never failed to make a stop at ‘Eli’s’ and every member was delighted to be back there, prior to the pub becoming open to the public once again in the near future.
The marched continued, with local people waving and cheering the club and band as they marched. Stops were made at other private houses and hostelries, where wonderful refreshment, both solid and liquid was very kindly provided and clearly hosts had gone to considerable trouble and expense to feed the marching throng. There was more music from the band, toasts, to and from the society were made, three cheers raised and ‘For they are Jolly Good Fellows’ sung.
(If you’re not familiar with the format of how Friendly Society Club Day’s work, you might by now begin to read between the lines and understand what’s going on here)…
The assembly then met with invited guests and marched together through the main streets of the town, before stopping at the Langport Arms for their luncheon. The Rev Jess Pitman provided grace and all sat to eat together. A Loyal Toast was made to HM The Queen by retired Army Captain Alek Sagar and the National Anthem sung along with the band. Following this, Absent Friends were remembered and toasted by Nik Bown. The Secretary, Simon Martin, provided a report of the healthy state of the Society and of its most recent charitable donations. Tim Walrond, Who farms at Pitney Farm Shop, very kindly provided a wonderful speech and toast to the LDFS, with guests being toasted in turn by the president’s Brother, Brian. Proceedings were wrapped up by the President and Members and Guests repaired to the bar to share more convivial time together with further refreshment.
Friendly Societies used to exist up and down the Country as means of self-help organisations. They are forerunners of trades unions, the big savings organisations and a proper welfare state. The purpose of Langport District Friendly Society nowadays is to provide something of a living history and to maintain the spectacle of ‘Club Day’ and any monies raised go to local good causes. With subscriptions, a public collection and generous donations from top table guests, the society thinks it has raised over £1000:00 this year for that purpose.
The Langport District Friendly Society extends it most grateful thanks to its members, hosts, invited guests and supporters of the society and everyone who helps make ‘Club Day’ such a wonderful day… It is looked forward to by everyone involved and this year it was a very special thing to have it up and running again after those 1093 days…

Bill Langford (President)
Langport District Friendly Society.
club day 2022aclub day 2022b






Members of The Langport District Friendly Society gather outside Langport Sports Club.





The Rev’d Jess Pitman leads the Langport District Friendly Society back from their visit to the Rose & Crown (Eli’s) in Huish Episcopi.

Pin It