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40 mourners pay their last respects at funeral of controversial loyalist pastor


Family and friends at the funeral of Alan Campbell in Belfast yesterday

Family and friends at the funeral of Alan Campbell in Belfast yesterday

Photopress Belfast

Alan Campbell

Alan Campbell

Photopress Belfast

Family and friends at the funeral of Alan Campbell in Belfast yesterday

The funeral of a controversial loyalist pastor who had been accused of promoting white supremacist and sectarian views took place yesterday in Belfast.

Alan Campbell died at the age of 67 in hospital on Sunday night, after paramedics fought to save him at his home.

Around 40 mourners gathered yesterday morning at the Houston and Williamson funeral home on the Crumlin Road before the committal at Roselawn Cemetery.

Known for his ultra-loyalist beliefs, Campbell had once claimed that Ulster Protestants and the whites of South Africa were lost tribes of Israel who had their homeland given to them by God.

As head of religious education at Newtownabbey Community High School - where he taught for 32 years - he sold tapes in which he expressed sadness for the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In one of the tapes he claimed "black heathens have taken over" what he called "the once beautiful, white, Christian-Israelite South Africa".

He also criticised UUP and DUP politicians for meeting Nelson Mandela, and referred to Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a "little black man".

Pastor Ken Davidson told mourners yesterday that his friend had suffered from poor health in recent years, including diabetes.

Born on August 7, 1949, he was the only son of May and Joe Campbell and raised in north Belfast where he spent most of his life.

He was especially close to his mother and grandmother, who heavily influenced his "British Israelite" views.

Pastor Davidson said the late preacher had many contacts in churches around the world including the United States, Scandinavia and South Africa.

"Alan enjoyed travelling and collecting historical memorabilia," he said.

"So much so that he had created a museum in his home. Everything was on the walls and shelves.

"He remained steadfast in his beliefs until his sudden death on Sunday around 9pm. He collapsed in his kitchen. Paramedics were phoned for, who brought him to the hospital. They worked on him but eventually said it was more humane to allow him to pass on."

According to an online biography, Pastor Campbell said he truly converted to Christianity in 1965 after seeing Ian Paisley preach in Ravenhill Free Presbyterian Church.

He later disowned Paisley and the Free Presbyterian Church for what he saw as "a sell-out to Irish republicanism".

He founded his own church, Open Bible Ministries, which shut in 2013 after claims that funds were raided by an associate of Campbell "with a seedy background", something he had denied.

Holding fiercely anti-Catholic views, Campbell frequently caused controversy by spreading his opinions on social media.

Journalist Henry McDonald, who co-authored books on the UDA and UVF, described him as a fringe figure in loyalism for 40 years.

He added that it was his firm belief Campbell was an "agent provocateur" who stirred up sectarian tensions among impressionable young loyalists.

Belfast Telegraph