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in the Mendip Hills of Somerset
Mr Daniel Flury
Priddy Friendly Society is one of the last remaining Friendly Societies in Somerset and exists to provide support to the community. The current Priddy Friendly Society was formed in 1883, as a mutual, non-profit making organisation designed to protect members against hardship, and replaced a previous organisation formed in 1814 which had gone bankrupt. The Headquarters were the Queen Victoria Inn, but in 1968 the move was made to The New Inn. Meeting are now held in The Hunters' Lodge. Membership became open to women in 1987.
Daniel Flury, as Chairman of the Society, is the keeper of a box containing various documents dating back to the initial meeting, including attendance records from the early days and records of financial contributions. As the provisions of the welfare state improved throughout the twentieth century the need for community social security diminished, and so the nature of the Friendly Society's activities has changed considerably.
The Society's Feast Day was Whit Monday, and survives as 'Club Day' on Spring Bank Holiday. It begins with a roll call of members at the Queen Victoria, followed by a march to the church behind a band and the Society's banner, for the annual service. After this there is a meal and speeches in the Village Hall, often with a fete and children's sporting activities on the Green.
The Society also helps to run fund-raising events with other organisations such as Priddy pre-school, and these have included Sheep and Bale Racing. A Christmas Tree is erected on the Green during December, with lights on the hurdle stack.
The Annual General Meeting is two weeks after Club Day and is when new members can join and donations are made to support other village groups or activities. Ideas for the coming year are discussed then and at other meetings during the year, and advertised in The Pew and around the village.