A retired men’s Club founded in December 1938 is still going strong in Whitley Bay. The Willow Club, formed in 1938, has now shared 75 years of friendship, goodwill and understanding with innumerable past and present members; a tremendous achievement for a local institution.
It was the brainchild of several retired gentlemen who met regularly in the old Willow Cafe on the sea front. Being retired, they organised events for local charities and hospitals and invited speakers to talk on topics of interest. The most famous speaker was Dr. Hastings Banda who talked to the Club in January 1944. At that time he was a G.P in North Shields, and later became President of Malawi.
The gentlemen formally inaugurated the group into a Club and called it the Willow Club.
From that small group, grew the highly successful Club that still exists today. It has been having weekly meetings continuously for the past 75 years, including war time, in the Wesley Hall adjoining St. John’s Methodist Church in Ilfracombe Gardens each Thursday at 10.30a.m. Some 100 men regularly attend, each week, to hear a talk – and new members are always welcome.
There is no annual subscription, and the Club still makes charitable donations. This year, £800 was donated to “Tynemouth Blind Welfare Association”.
The Club is non denominational and abides by its founding principles of Friendship, Goodwill and Understanding. For more information see here.
by Andrew Rutherford