Friendly Society

Friendly Societies were originally formed to provide an early form of social security – long before anyone had thought of state welfare benefits. For example, they would help when members hit hard times, and provide assistance with funeral expenses on the death of a member and helping members when times were hard due to illness.

The Westbury Friendly Society was founded in the late eighteenth century, and is one of only five remaining in Somerset and continues to support these traditions Each session of the Westbury Friendly Society ceases to exist for a short period. This period is known as the club break. A village meeting is then convened to decide whether to re-establish it for another three years. So far, the decision has always been in favour of carrying on, at which point a new committee is elected to lead the Society for the next three years. The present club will break on 31st October 2019.

Our traditional annual event of the year is Club Day usually held on a Sunday in May. The day begins with a children’s fancy dress competition, followed by a parade through the village led by a brass band. After the award of prizes and a roll call of members at the Westbury Inn, there is a special service at the village Church followed by lunch in the Village Hall.

Village Day on the village playing field is facilitated by the Friendly Society and gives all community organisations to promote there activities. Events have traditionally comprised is then followed by an afternoon of events and attractions These include children’s sports, skittles, a tug of war contest, a coconut shy, and various other side shows. In addition to facilitating the annual Village Day event, we provides an ‘Children’s Easter Egg Hunt and in September a Mystery Outing for our senior citizens every year

Westbury Friendly Society is proud of our village, striving to keep local traditions alive providing a great deal towards the social and community life of Westbury-sub-Mendip. All funds raised by the society are directed back to benefit the community within Westbury in the form of donations, grants and supporting events. During the last three years we have provided over £5000 in the form of grants in addition to the free events for the community. Grants up to £500 have been given to the Village Hall, Community Shop, PTA, the Playing Field, and many others. .


New regulations come in to force during May 2018 regarding the protection of members data.  In order to comply with these regulations members will be asked to confirm that they agree to their data being stored in accordance with the current policy. The Society’s Policy for the Protection of Personal Data is given below: –

                                                                   Westbury Friendly Society

                                                     Policy for the Protection of Personal Data

  1. Westbury Friendly Society is committed to protecting the rights and privacy of our members. We need to collect and use certain types of Data in order to carry on our work of managing Westbury Friendly Society. This personal information must be collected and handled securely. The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulations govern the use of information about people (personal data). Personal data can be held on computers, mobile devices, or in a manual file, and includes email, minutes of meetings, and photographs.
  2. The purpose of this policy is to set out our commitment and procedures for protecting personal data.
  3. The Data Protection Officer shall be the Membership Secretary and shall be the person who is responsible for ensuring that Westbury Friendly Society follows its data protection policy and complies with the Act. (Note Westbury Friendly Society is not required to appoint a Data Protection Officer.)
  4. Westbury Friendly Society holds the following data on a secure database: – Name, both postal, e-mail address and telephone number. This data is used for the legitimate administration of the Friendly Society and the communication of information relating to an individual membership or future activities organised by the Society,
  5. Member’s personal details will be retained for a maximum of three years after retirement from the Society and will be deleted from the data base at that time.
  6. Under no circumstances will member’s personal information be passed to any other organisation
  7. The Friendly Society has a page on the Village Website but no members personal details are held on this site, other than agreed contact details for specific events
  8. The only printed copies are restricted in content to a particular distribution area and used by the distributer in that area to ensure that all members receive information relating to the Friendly Society activities.
  9. Members can always check the information the Society holds about them by contacting the membership secretary. Individuals can always that their data can be removed, limited or corrected.
  10. This policy will be updated as necessary to reflect best practice in security of data management, and control to ensure compliance with any changes or amendments made to the Data Protection Act 1998.


Thursday 7th November 2019

Each session of the Friendly Society affectionately known as the ‘Club’ lasts for a period of 3 years.  On 31st October 2019 the current ‘Club’ comes to an end.  The community must now decide whether they want to reform and continue the good work that has been carried out over previous years.

We must continue to keep local traditions alive, to be proud of our village, and sustain a society which provides a great deal towards the social and community life of Westbury-sub-Mendip.  All funds raised by the society are directed back to benefit the community within Westbury in the form of donations, grants and supporting events.  During the last three years we have provided over £5000 in the form of grants and free events for the community.  Grants have been given to the Village Hall, Community Shop, PTA, the Playing Field, and many others.  In addition to facilitating the annual Village Day event, amongst the activities we provide are a Children’s Easter Egg Hunt and a Mystery Outing for our senior citizens.

For this to continue your support is needed.  If you would like to see the Friendly Society continue why not join us on Thursday 7th November 2019 at 7:00p.m. in the Westbury Inn to support the formation of a new Friendly Society and elect a new Committee.  To join please complete the ‘Expression of Interest’ section on the back of this letter and return it to the Village Stores.  Membership of the Friendly Society is the princely sum of £10 for the 3 years the Club is in existence.  Immediately following the introductory meeting why not participate in the New Club Sign Up Supper (£15 per person, to be paid directly to the Westbury Inn).  If you are interested in joining us for supper please provide details of your menu selection.  Alternatively come along and sign up and enjoy a drink at the bar from 9:00 p.m.

A letter will shortly be issued to all residents inviting them to join the New Club Sign Up Supper.


Saturday 30th June 2018 – Village Day Our traditional day for Village Day has been moved from 19th May, just for this year, as it clashes with both the Royal Wedding and the Cup Final. Please could any or all those involved let their plans, views and ideas be known to Peter as Secretary of the Friendly Society (see contacts at the back of the PEW). The more Village organisations are involved the better.

Mystery Tour:- This is being planned for Monday 3rd September however this year will include a charge of £10 for Friendly Society members (£12 for non-members).  This will contribute to the increasing costs of the Mystery tour day. Anyone who is a resident of Westbury and is 65 or over or who is married to someone over 65 is eligible.  You should receive an invitation at the beginning of August.

Monday 10th September 2018: – The next committee meeting will be held in the Westbury Inn commencing at 6:00p.m.

Saturday 10th November    A date for your diary!   A dinner in the Village Hall is being organised by John Crickett appreciating ‘100 years on from the Armistice in 1918’.    More details will be available in September.

Friday 7th December   In the Village hall the Friendly Society Quiz and Raffle night.  Teams of 4 @£5a head.

Easter Egg Hunt  -2nd April  2018:- This years Easter Egg Hunt was once again based at Harding’s Barn. There was a good display of  Easter Bonnets and decorated eggs.  Young and old enjoyed the hunt for tokens which were exchanged for Easter Eggs on the competitors return.  Tea and hot-cross buns albeit cold were a welcome refreshment on everyone’s return after the hunt.   Every child returned home with a number of Easter Eggs.   We are grateful to the Harding Family for allowing us once again to use their barn. . .