As a child I remember my Dad, an engineer, saying to me, “we must remember the club money this week.” The ‘club money’ was his weekly payment towards his income protection which paid out money in case he was ill and unable to work. I can still remember the payment card. Every month he and I would go down to the Royal British Legion club in Melksham and meet Mr Scott, the Society representative, and pay our monthly fees. Mr Scott would make a record of it on our card. It was these monthly trips which instilled in me the importance of income protection from an early age. My Dad knew that being able to pay the bills was important and being ill was unpredictable.
I joined the Society as a Holloway member in 1962, aged 15 years old. I was working as an apprentice joiner on £2.50 per week. I would take my money every month to the club, just like my father before me. I got to know Mr Scott very well and he was very personable. If I didn’t have the cash on the club night, he would say to me, “don’t worry you can bring it to my home.” Sometimes I would do just that. The personal approach has always been the Society’s way, and it appealed to me.
I was a self-employed carpenter to begin with and the ‘club money’ was a safeguard in case I was ill. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills if I was ill. I took the policy out purely to cover the loss of earnings from illness. I became so used to paying it became part of my regular outgoings; such as mortgage and pension.
I liked the Society because it was very personal and the service was always excellent, even when the business inevitably changed over the years and I stopped going to the club and began paying by direct debit.
As the society evolved, the way in which my membership was administered changed. A man from the society visited my home to discuss the new situation. I thought this level of service was absolutely first class.
At the age of 30 years old, I had a career change. I became a peripatetic music tutor of the electric keyboard. I remained self-employed and ran my own studio in Bath for 27 years. In the 80s everybody had an electric keyboard and the demand for lessons was high. I worked in 5 different schools, and also, in Pucklechurch Prison, at the remand centre, teaching male & female inmates how to play the keyboard. I really enjoyed my job but inevitably I would, on occasion, fall ill and be unable to work. I felt valued as a customer and claiming was easy. The strength of the Society is its personal service. Every claim I made has always been paid and in good time.
I am now retired but I have some money still saved with the Society as I believe it’s a good investment. I have also nominated my partner, Marion, as a beneficiary to ensure that she is able to benefit from the pot in the event of my death. I want Marion to be the beneficiary and this way it’s simpler for her to access the money without having to wait for the probate to be resolved. Nominating Marion was very easy to do. I completed a form and sent it back to the Society. I can now rest easy knowing that Marion simply has to send a copy of the death certificate and to complete a form for the funds to be released to her immediately.
In life, if people are friendly I like it. I also recognise when people give good service. The service from Wiltshire Friendly Society has always been first class and friendly. I would recommend them to anyone.