There is no comparison... Olympic rower Alan Campbell hits out at ‘ill-informed’ views
Olympic rower and former Boys' Brigade member Alan Campbell has said he was "absolutely shocked" to hear that the Christian youth organisation had been compared to children taking part in an illegal dissident republican march.
The Coleraine athlete - who took home a bronze medal after the London 2012 Olympics - said he thought Jude Collins' view of the BB was "ill-informed".
"I'm really shocked that it would be compared in such a way. My personal experience was very far removed from anything as explosive or divisive as paramilitary activity," he said.
"I can't understand (Jude Collins') point, it's too tenuous. Is a group of young boys wearing uniforms in a football team paramilitary?
"We don't wear balaclavas in the Boys' Brigade. We don't hide what we do, we're very open.
"I think he's ill-informed in his opinion. Paramilitary is very much rooted politically, the Boys' Brigade is very much a Christian organisation. It was something I really looked forward to and enjoyed growing up."
Mr Campbell said the only parades he attended as a BB member were on Remembrance Sunday and that he hoped his young daughter would join the Girls' Brigade in the future.
"It's a great organisation," he added.
"It gave me tools that have been invaluable in my career as an athlete and in my development as a young person."