The Lindisfarne Club was founded in 1966 and was a culmination of years of planning by a group of catholic men, mainly from the parish of Our Lady and Saint Columba Wallsend. They started by meeting in the various pubs on Wallsend High Street, and the idea dawned upon them that there was probably enough men around the neighbouring parishes to form their own club. Discussions and planning meetings took place to decide how they would tackle the Lindisfarne Club project.
John Hay was the original treasurer and he collected two shillings per week (today 10 pence) from each man. It was decided that anyone donating £5.00 would be a founder member. Anyone paying £1.00 would become a ordinary member. Italo Marchi (a local business man who owned a ice cream parlour) and Frank Devine (a civil servant) were the driving force behind the project.
The Rev Dr Kelly gave his support to this new venture but sadly died before the club was opened. His successor was Rev Fr Hardy. A young curate from Ballymartin Mourne in Northern Ireland Rev Fr Philips was the original Lindisfarne Club chaplain. Negotiations took place with the Wallsend Co-op who owned land on West Street Wallsend this was further complicated as Newcastle United F C already leased this land. These problems were overcome and building work commenced on March 1966.The builders were Snowdon Bros of Sunderland.
To finance the ambitions project to build a social club, a great deal of money was needed. Several breweries had been approached without success, until an approach was made to messrs Vaux Ltd of Sunderland. Representatives of the committee met with Vaux and after several meetings a settlement was reached whereby Vaux promised to finance the project. The new committee borrowed £45,000 from the brewery the building was to cost £41,000 and they allowed an extra £5,000 for furnishings. Car parking landscaping and boundary walls would make the final cost over £50,000.
Today the buildings and contents of the Lindisfarne are valued for insurance purposes, for near 1 million pounds. To keep the cost to a minimum, private fund raising was essential and Italo Marchi (future club chairman) was busy organising social evenings, dances and outings. Good clear thinking was required during these difficult days, and the decision to include a grill room within the club to provide meals to members and guests proved a brilliant concept. Social clubs during the 1960s were usually drink and entertainment centres, and a club with its own restaurant was unheard of. Wedding bookings along with Birthday and Anniversary proved a big part of raising revenue, and became an alternative to expensive hotels. The club has undergone a refurbishment programme, and new toilets have been built along with a new office for the secretary. In March of this year, the grill room will be gutted, with ovens and kitchen facilities being renewed. This ongoing process, along with constant club decoration ensures the Lindisfarne is at the forefront of club life within Wallsend.