Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to bandsman Billy Campbell following his sudden death

The late Billy Campbell was a long-time member of Sion Mills Pipe Band
The late Billy Campbell was a long-time member of Sion Mills Pipe Band
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A stalwart of a Co Tyrone Pipe Band who passed away suddenly at the weekend has been described as "one of life's gentlemen".

Billy Campbell (78) will be laid to rest on Tuesday following a funeral service in Alt Presbyterian Church where members of the band will form a guard of honour.

Mr Campbell and his wife Maureen provided foster care to many children through the years.

Paying tribute, his fellow bandsman and long-time friend Andy Patton said Mr Campbell's passing has shocked and saddened so many people.

He said: "I have known Billy Campbell since 1995 and in all that time I have known him to be one of the most caring men I have ever come across.

"He wouldn't let anyone down and if he could do them a good turn he would go out of his way to help anyone

"I played alongside Billy in the Sion Mills Pipe Band for 19 years and in all that time I never heard him raise his voice once.

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"He was truly one of life's real gentlemen, an excellent musician who was passionate about piping and loved being out with the band."

Mr Patton said Mr Campbell was an active member of the band and was playing just two weeks ago. He added: "The fact that at 78 years of age he was still piping was no mean feat - he was one of a kind.

"I, like everyone else in the band, was devastated when Billy's daughter called us with the news."

Mr Patton recalled one parade when the sole fell off a drummer's shoe and Mr Campbell couldn't play the pipes for laughing.

He added: "Billy's funeral will be hard for all of us in the band but we will form a guard of honour and I will pipe his remains from his home to the end of the road and again as he is carried into the church and then into the adjoining graveyard.

"It will be tough but we want to honour our friend."

Away from the band, Mr Campbell was married to Maureen and the couple were described as completely devoted to each other.

"They were married for well over 40 years and recently celebrated their wedding anniversary," added Mr Patton.

"Over the years Billy and his wife Maureen fostered children 35 children if not more and I can say without fear of contradiction that those children were lucky to been looked after by them."

Mr Campbell's funeral service will be at Alt Presbyterian Church at 2pm.

He is survived by his wife Maureen and children Charlene, Shannon and David.

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