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Long Sutton Friendly Society

In 2018, Long Sutton Friendly Society celebrated its 200-year anniversary of "Club Day", and even in the COVID years of 2020 and 2021, a small number of members of the Club kept the tradition going by walking the village on the 1st Saturday in June to make sure the continuous status of the Club remained intact.

It has survived as a village custom and been in existence since 1818. Originally formed to provide welfare benefits for its members, as there were no National Insurance, Welfare Benefits or bereavement support in those days. It used to hold its traditional Club walk on each Trinity Monday but changed from 1972 and is now held on the first Saturday in June and is one of a few of its kind still in existence.

The day starts with the church bells being rung at 6.00am and is followed by the annual roll call of Members at the Village Hall. The procession is headed by the Banner Bearer, Secretary, Chairman and President of the society followed by the band and then the members. Over the years the society has been supported by Kingsbury, Yeovil and in recent years Sherborne Town bands, one year though, in the 1990s, there was no band available and a Jazz band was asked to lead the members round.

The members' parade from the hall to the church for their annual service, stopping outside the West Door for the National Anthem and then parading into Holy Trinity Church for the annual service, where music again is provided by the band. The banner with its motto 'United we stand, divided we fall' is draped across the altar during the service. The hymns selected are well known and, to hear a church full of men singing with a brass band, is quite an experience.


After the service the parade then reforms and the members set off on their walk calling at various houses and farms for refreshments of all kinds. One year the walk goes to Knole and the next Upton. On their return to the village the members would hold their annual luncheon in the village school, this then moved to the Village Hall when it was built. Today the members hold their annual luncheon at the golf club. Guests are invited to the lunch and this tradition is still carried on today, although all contributions made by the guest on the day are now given to local charities.

The annual Christmas tree on the green is donated, erected and lit by the Friendly Society, as is a wreath laid at the War Memorial on Armistice Sunday in memory of those who died in the wars and also Club members who have died more recently.


For more information about "Club Day" contact Tommy Tulk:


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