Dad

Fathers Day Tribute:

My dad was George Campbell, born 26 February 1932 in Glasgow I think and brought up in the Gorbals. He and mum married in 1960. I was born in 1967, the ‘bairn’ of the family. The story is Dad caught the train up to Dunblane in 1966, walked up to the new street called Murdoch Terrace and, for £3300, bought Number 28. They had been living in Linden Avenue,Stirling prior to that.

My first memory of Dad is of him smoking his pipe. Whenever we went camping he would blow smoke in the tent to get rid of the midges. He would have a cigar on Christmas Day tho as a special treat.

He drove a pale blue Morris Oxford and on one famous occasion he took 11 of us in it to Doune to play football. Its possibly some kind of record. Dads folks had moved to Ardrossan and I remember visiting them in their tenement flat and weirdly I recall we got a flat tyre on the Dumbarton road coming home (no motorway in early ’70s?).

He first took me to watch Stirling Albion in 1978 at the old Annfield ground, lifting a 10 year old me over the turnstile. I would go on the pitch for autographs with my pals and he would chat with work colleagues. He was head surveyor at central regional council in Viewfield next door.

Football in ’78 was a tough environment. My mum wasnae happy as violence was prevalent and on one occasion a Kilmarnock fan behind us pulled out a huge knife. It was like something out of Crocodile Dundee ! Next thing dad whisked me up, over the hoardings and we’re on the pitch it was crazy. Dad telt me not to mention this when we got home.

Dad took me to Wembley in ’79 for the auld enemy clash. I’d had my 6 front teeth removed and been put under using gas at the dentist in Dunblane high street. When I awoke dad was telling mum not to worry and that he would take me to Wembley as a treat. Given mums fear of football violence I’m not sure that went down too well.

We spent many Sundays together golfing at Muthill. Dad was not the best golfer and many a swear word was heard. In fact his finest moment came when he threw a golf club to prevent a weasel from killing a rabbit. He was dead chuffed about that. After golf we would go to the Commercial Hotel for a ginger beer and a pint.

Dad enjoyed the bools at Dunblane Bowling Club and am told he was in his element with a drink and good company. He also attended a speakers club and I remember being proud as he gave an excellent speech at my sisters wedding.

I think Dad was happiest in the garden. I remember my pals gently taking the mickey when we were playing football in the school field opposite because he would whistle away to himself, something I do. He was also an early riser. On holidays in Carnoustie and he would come back to the holiday house with a newspaper and some rolls and some news of what the locals were doing.

Sadly Dad had a heart attack aged just 55 and suffered from angina for years after. He loved the grandchildren though and I’m glad he spent his final year seeing our Sean who born 1 June 1997. Dad died on 1 May 1998.

A final story which typifies Dads dry sense of humour. His brother Ian told me this one a few years ago. They were at a funeral in St Blanes Church (I think it was my mums mothers) and Dad said to Ian to look behind him. Ian turned round to see an ageing congregation. “Look at them” Dad said “theres nae point in half of them going home”. Ian just managed to keep his composure.

And that was my Dad. Every time I climb a munro I put a stone on the cairn for him. Hopefully this week I’ll get up Ben Vorlich, a mountain we climbed together in 1982.

Just don’t tell Nicola.

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