Foresters Friendly Society act to help save the Old School

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Local branch raises over £1,000 to support refurbishment drive

The East Dorset branch of Foresters Friendly Society, based in Sturminster Marshall, has raised over £1,000 to support an ongoing refurbishment programme at the village's Old School hall.

The Old School hall on Church Street which was built in 1832 is no longer used as a school but serves currently as a meeting place for various community groups, including local Cubs and Scoutspacks in the village. The venue is of particular sentimental importance to Foresters Friendly Society with the local branch having held meetings there since its foundation in 1872.

The building, managed and maintained by the Mackrell Charity, has been in need of substantial refurbishment for some time and a project to renovate it is being driven by the local Parish. With current estimates suggesting that the overall cost will exceed £30,000, branch members of Foresters Friendly Society felt compelled to act.

Since 2007, Foresters have raised over £1,000 to help with the project through a series of activities including a sponsored walk, raffles and other social functions.

A final cheque will be presented to representatives of the Mackrell Charity on 8th December 2009 at the next quarterly branch meeting of the Foresters Friendly Society at The Old School.

Foresters Friendly Society branch secretary Michael Nightingale said: "The hall is no ordinary building; it has a value which cannot be defined in monetary terms alone. We are proud to be in a position to help support the renovation for it has been the spiritual home of our local branch for over 130 years."

Foresters Friendly Society, which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, has a long history of supporting charities in the UK. Last year also saw Society members nationwide raise more than £47,000 for CLIC Sargent, a children's cancer charity.

Michael Nightingale continued: "Foresters Friendly Society branches support a wide range of charitable causes across the UK as well as looking after the interests and well-being of its members."

"I've been a branch secretary for over 43 years and we usually donate around £400 every year to local charities from fundraising activities. I am grateful for the support of all our local members who helped with the fundraising and we look forward to supporting the refurbishment work in other ways too".