History of Foresters
The Ancient Order of Foresters which today trades as Foresters
Friendly Society was established in 1834, although our origins lie
in a much older society called the Royal Foresters, formed around
Our 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.
Addressing this need 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 our history:
1834 - The Ancient Order of Foresters is founded.
1850 - Foresters attains legal status under the new Friendly
1864 - Members set up the UK's first voluntary Lifeboat
1912 - After the National Insurance Act of 1911, Foresters
becomes an 'Approved Society', allowing it to get involved in the
state system of National Insurance, which virtually doubles the
total membership of the Society.
1918 - The Foresters' War Memorial Benevolent Fund is
established to provide financial assistance to members and their
families who have been severely affected by the losses of the First
1934 - Centenary celebrations include a thanksgiving service,
held simultaneously at over 500 locations while around 1,135
delegates attend the AGM, including visitors from Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, Holland and the United States.
1959 - Foresters celebrates its 125th anniversary.
1984 - Over 600 members attend the 150th anniversary
1988 - Payments by the Foresters' War Memorial Benevolent reach
2000 - The Society is regulated by the Financial Services
2003 - Foresters acquires Tunstall Assurance Friendly
2005 - Acquisition of Leek Assurance Collecting Society.
2009 - Foresters celebrates its 175th anniversary at its AGM in
Manchester, close to where the Society began.
2010 - Foresters announces its partnership with Archery GB (the
governing body for the GB Archery Olympic and Paralympic teams) as
the Performance Partner.
2011 - Foresters announces we have been chosen to be the
Telegraph Media Group's regular savings service provider.
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