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Part 2 of a celebration of the 'Godfather' of Elgin Amateur Boxing Club, Donald Campbell 's 80th birthday and 65 years in his sport


By Craig Christie

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Sporting legend Donald Campbell - who turned 80 this week - is a co-founder of Elgin Amateur Boxing Club who has coached a long line of promising young fighters from the Moray area.

Donald Campbell pictured at his Elgin B&B.
Donald Campbell pictured at his Elgin B&B.

Donald was himself a prize fighter who became a referee, judge and Scotland team manager at three Commonwealth Games.

To mark his milestone birthday, the Northern Scot looks back over his incredible career from a feature written five years ago to mark his 60 years in sport.

Part two of the story looks at some of the boxing talent he helped nurture in the Moray area.

Donald Campbell with Scottish boxing legend Jim Watt.
Donald Campbell with Scottish boxing legend Jim Watt.

WHEN Donald Campbell started Elgin Amateur Boxing Club in the late ’60s, he could hardly have imagined it would still be going strong almost half a century later.

Along with fellow fighter Mike McBride and the late Billy Smith, who ran a printing business on Elgin’s South Street, Donald set up the new club with the aim of giving young people a chance.

Using the school gymnasium at Seafield Primary in Bishopmill, he trained and coached a succession of young boxing talents.

Some even went on to become Scottish champions, and one had a story to tell which bore some resemblance to that

of Rocky Graziano, the man who first inspired Donald Campbell.

Robin Hall’s career with his Elgin club included two Scottish youth titles, and he was asked to speak at a NACYP

(National Association of Clubs for Young People) dinner, which included Royalty and MPs.

He told how, before he took up boxing he used to do all the wrong things – smoking, drinking, fighting. He skipped

school and had no goals in life, but found guidance when he joined his local Elgin club.

“If I hadn’t started boxing, I don’t know what I’d be doing with myself these days,” he said at the time. “I guess

it would involve trouble of some sort, because that was the direction I was heading.

“I certainly don’t regret doing it because it has made me a better person. It has given me a sense of pride, gave me

discipline and respect.”

George McLean, another trained by Donald, earned Elgin ABC’s first Scottish amateur youth title. The likes of Chris

Ewan, Steven Laing, Ryan Hoskins, Paul Laird and Paul Roy won national youth titles. Paul Geddes was a Scottish senior heavyweight champ for the club while Lee McBride – son of founder member Mike – reached a senior welterweight final and represented Scotland on eight occasions.

Donald’s own career was to take him into refereeing and judging bouts, but his instinct to set a good example for his

club’s boxing stars never left him. Indeed, he recalled the day he gained a major health benefit after being caught having a sly puff by two of his young boxers.

“I remember sitting having a smoke when I was judging at a competition where Lee McBride and Steven Laing

were competing.

“They saw me and came up to me. I said ‘you can’t talk to me’ as I was a judge, and the reply was ‘you told us not
to smoke and not to go with girls’. So I put out my fag that day and I never smoked again.”

Elgin ABC moved from Seafield to Lossie Wynd, then Pinefield, and its current home base is back in Bishopmill,

just off North Street.

Donald still attends training sessions and takes great delight in seeing the club continue to produce national champs.

Megan Gordon, daughter of club head coach Paul “Ratch” Gordon, has won three Scottish junior and youth titles as

well as becoming the female to box for Scotland at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas, taking home a

bronze medal.

Elgin ABC team-mate Scott Edwards, from Keith, won a Scottish intermediate heavyweight championship earlier this year.

“We have a good-going club. The kids are always the most important thing, and seeing how good they are going to

do.

“It’s a good team at the club, team Elgin more than any individuals. I will go up for the last half hour or so and speak

to them all. I enjoy doing that.”


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