Passing of Niall Campbell
By Graham Latta
A great stalwart of Southland Softball was lost last week with the passing of Niall Campbell on August 25 at the age of 86.
Father of New Zealand player Jamie. Who passed away just over a year ago, Niall had a long involvement with the sport he loved from the time he came into contact with US serviceman during his time in the NZ AIr Force during the Second World War.
He took to Softball with gusto on his return to Invercargill and excelled as a player, mostly as a catcher or on first base, with his Demons club and when he graduated to representing Southland at national tournaments for a lengthy period during the 40s and 50s.
Recognition at a higher level came with selection for the South Islanf at three successive national tournaments at Carlaw Park in Auckland, the Hutt Recreation Ground and Rugby Park in Invercargill between 1951 and 1954. In later years he devoted a lot of time to coaching at junior level, firstly as Jamie came through the grades and then as grandsons William, Johnathan and Timothy began to make their marks he was always there to share his vast knowledge.
He was also a dedicated supporter of Evergreens Softball from the time the first Southland team ventured into the national tournament in 1986 and was a regular attender for many years until failing health over the past few seasons intervened, although he was on hand when the tournament was played in Invercargill in March.
Softball New Zealand honoured Niall when he was made a holder of a Distinguished Service Award for his tremendous contribution to our sport.
He will be farewelled at a service in Invercargill on Saturday September 3.