The Ancient Order of Foresters
The Ancient Order of Foresters which today trades as Foresters Friendly Society was established in 1834, although their origins lie in a much older society called the Royal Foresters, formed around 1745.
The first members came to recognise they had a duty to assist their fellow men who fell into need “as they walked through the forests of life”. This ‘need’ arose principally when a breadwinner fell ill, could not work and received no wages. Illness and death left families financially distressed and often destitute.
The Purpose of Foresters Friendly Society
Providing financial and social support to their members has been the main purpose of Foresters Friendly Society throughout our long history. Members recognised that by paying a few pence a week into a common fund, they would be able to offer sick pay and funeral grants when needed.
Some of the key moments in their history:
1834 – The Ancient Order of Foresters is founded.
1850 – Foresters attains legal status under the new Friendly Societies Act.
1864 – Members set up the UK’s first voluntary Lifeboat Fund. This would have been championed by Walmer with its reliance on the crews and lifeboats of Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown.