IT WAS a friendship bonded by a passion for jazz and it led to the creation of a world famous club.

Next year Eastleigh’s Concorde Club celebrates its diamond anniversary and owner Cole Mathieson would like to link up with the old friend who helped him sow the seeds for an international jazz mecca.

It is believed to be the longest running jazz club under one ownership in the world.

The Concorde started life in 1957 in a room at the side of the old Bassett Hotel in Burgess Road, Southampton.

Back in the Concorde’s groundbreaking days Cole was helped by Gordon Ricketts.

Cole says: “Gordon was a friend and we lived in the same area. We both had an interest in jazz.”

And in a book chronicling the history of The Concorde, Cole says: “In those early formative years I was lucky to have the careful book-keeping work of Gordon Ricketts with whom I set up a jazz and variety promotion agency.”

Within six months of its opening The Concorde took off from the launching pad, attracting 1,000 members.

It concentrated mainly on mainstream and modern jazz and also featured New Orleans-style of music.

Gordon, whose parents ran the Lamb Inn in the New Forest, emigrated to Australia in the early sixties.

The club moved to its current home in Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh in 1970. Cole and Gordon kept in touch and contact was made when he lived in Brisbane, Australia, in the eighties.

Cole had a brief reunion with Gordon in the nineties when he suddenly appeared in the club reception area and tapped the club boss on the shoulder.

They lost contact and the Concorde’s official archivist Maureen Chapman says: “Gordon came to England in the nineties to visit his parents, who lived in the New Forest, and visited the club.

“Despite inquires being made in Australia it’s not been possible to contact him. We think he had once connections with a jazz club in Brisbane and maybe Sidney.

“We would very much like to contact Gordon as well as any of the many people who helped the club in its early days so they can join us in 2017 to celebrate our Diamond Jubilee.”

Cole says: “It would be good to hear from anyone who has interesting stories to tell about the club from the early days.”

And Cole has often said that the Concorde is a club that the members made and he has always been grateful for their input.

When the club moved to Stoneham Lane Cole was faced with the huge challenge of transforming an old schoolhouse into a jazz club. Cole said he would not have done it without the members who helped clear the jungle-like grounds and decorate the building.

The Concorde has attracted jazz stars from both side of the pond including Nat Gonella, Joe Harriott, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, Acker Bilk and Humphrey Lyttleton.

Jazz giant Ronnie Scott played the club many times between 1959 and 1989 before opening his own legendary club in London.

The Stoneham Lane club was voted top in a poll of important jazz venues. The Blue Plaque award now has pride of place at the front entrance to the club.

It was presented by jazz musician Kyle Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood.

Many musicians who have cut their musical teeth at The Concorde have gone on to be household names like Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Sir Elton John, Alan Price, Georgie Fame and Manfred Mann.

From its jazz roots the club has branched out to become one of the south’s major entertainment venue with a star studded cast of names taking centre stage including The Osmonds, The Three Degrees and American crooner Buddy Greco.