Donald Campbell 1954 - 2016

The death was announced last week of Donald Campbell. He was 62.

Donald worked in the University Library and more recently was the Principal's Piper.

One of his last appearances in the role was leading the procession at the funeral last year of the former Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy MP. At his side was his brother Alastair Campbell, the writer and broadcaster and former Director of Communications for Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He was born Donald Lachlan Cameron Campbell and was the son of a veterinary surgeon from Tiree. His father later moved to Yorkshire. Despite growing up in England, Donald retained a fierce love for Scotland. He was first taught to play the pipes by his father. He developed into a highly proficient performer and was himself a teacher of the instrument. As a young man he joined the Army, serving with the Scots Guards.

Donald's mental illness was diagnosed when he was in his early twenties and he fought the condition bravely for the rest of his life, supported by family and friends.

Fondly remembered

He moved to Scotland and in 1989 began working for the University of Glasgow, joining the security team. He was usually based in the Library where he was a hugely popular figure.

It was as the principal’s official piper for which Mr Campbell is fondly remembered throughout the university: the position brought him into contact with many of the staff and students.

Donald was a fine ambassador for the pipes and taught foreign students at the university and gave lessons to pupils in Tiree by Skype and went to the Hebrides four times a year to give classes in person.

Mr Campbell was briefly married and he is survived by his two brothers, Graeme and Alastair, and his sister Liz.


With thanks to Alasdair Steven and Alastair Campbell for their help in compiling this article.

First published: 16 August 2016

<< August