Belfast Telegraph

Ex-NI star Campbell hailed for work done by his soccer schools

By Steven Beacom

A former Northern Ireland World Cup star and the man behind football movie Shooting For Socrates has been honoured with a prestigious British Citizen Award (BCA).

David Campbell said he felt "extremely proud" before collecting the accolade at Westminster Palace in London yesterday.

A BCA is given to those who "do extraordinary things in the local community and make a difference to people's lives".

Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson is one of the patrons of the awards, which were first presented in 2015.

There are nine categories in which individuals can be recognised, ranging from industry to the arts.

Campbell was chosen in the field of education, for working with youngsters in his soccer schools and coaching courses across the UK.

Since 1995 almost one million kids have taken part in the David Campbell Soccer Schools and around 1,000 coaches, who have come through his courses, are working all over the world.

Campbell, who is originally from Eglinton and won 10 caps for Northern Ireland, said he could not have achieved any of it without his partner of 30 years, actress Lorraine Sass, who has appeared in a host of shows including Coronation Street, Heartbeat and The Royal.

"We were so delighted when we heard that we were to be honoured with a British Citizen Award for Education," said Campbell.

The 52-year-old played in the 1986 World Cup finals and later came up with the idea for the Shooting For Socrates film about his experiences at the tournament in Mexico.

"When we did the Shooting For Socrates premiere at the Waterfront Hall a few years ago Jim Boyce, the former Fifa vice-president, had the World Cup in his hands and he passed it over to all the Northern Ireland boys on the stage and he asked me to say a few words," he added.

"There is one thing I should have done which I didn't, and I have regretted it since. I should have said that all I have done over the past 30 years would not have been possible without Lorraine. If I have to say anything in London it will be that, because this is a joint award for me and Lorraine. She has worked so hard behind the scenes and this is a lovely thing for us to pick up together."

David's 85-year-old mother Ellen, who lives in Greysteel, is delighted with her son's honour.

"Yes, my mum was very pleased when I told her about the award," added Campbell, who played for Nottingham Forest, Charlton and Bradford among others.

He added: "Since 1995 we have been involved in coaching and the soccer school, and a big part of what we do is to train young people between the ages of 16 and 19 to become professional coaches.

"To date we have sent over 1,000 coaches all around the world, to places like America, Australia, Canada and China.

"It's been a huge success."

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