Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Mourners bid poignant farewell to renowned musician

As the New Year beckoned, hundreds of mourners packed into St. Brigid’s Church, Glassdrummond on Sunday 30th December to bid farewell to one of the area’s most renowned and respected musicians, Teddy Campbell.

Teddy (81), from Creggan, passed away on December 27th, having taken ill on Christmas Day.  Although poor health had forced a withdrawal from frontline community activity in recent years, Teddy’s passing will be keenly felt, not just by his grieving family, but by the wider communities of Creggan and south Armagh.

Music was an integral part of his long life, and just two years ago he was guest of honour at an event in Silverbridge in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the promotion of music in the area, through his years teaching and performing.

Self-taught on numerous instruments, Teddy began playing music in earnest in his early twenties and spent the ensuing decades sharing his talent in hundreds of venues across the country.  He spent many years on the road as an accordion player with the John Murphy Céilí Band and later lead guitarist and vocalist with the John Murphy Bandshow; and when their showband years came to an end, the lifelong friends continued performing together until John passed away in 1996.  Over the years Teddy also shared the stage with many other talented performers, including his brother Gabriel and cousin Martin when they formed ‘High Noon’, and in later years with his daughter Elaine, and most recently with close friend Pat Casey.

Alongside his career in the entertainment industry, Teddy used his talents for the benefit of his community and spent many years teaching music to the youth of the area.  A dedicated parishioner, he led the choir in Glassdrummond Church for more than forty years, and, under his guidance, his children and grandchildren maintain the family involvement.  Indeed Teddy’s commitment to parish duties were rewarded when in 2010 he received the St. Patrick’s Medal in recognition of his contribution to the church.

Despite having suffered ill health in recent years, Teddy’s love of music and craic never waned and, having touched the lives of many through his music, the carefully chosen liturgical accompaniment at his funeral Mass reflected this, with hymns sung by his former colleagues in the music industry, Susan McCann and John Glenn, adding to the poignant celebration of his life. 

Following Requiem Mass, Teddy was laid to rest in St. Brigid’s cemetery and left to mourn his passing are his wife Theresa, daughters Collette, Elaine, Linda, Paula, Ciara and Aoibheann, sons-in-law, sisters, brothers, 18 grandchildren, nieces and nephews, to whom deepest sympathy is extended.

Teddy with his wife Theresa and daughters Linda and Collette and (rear) Ciara, Elaine, Aoibheann and Paula at an event in 2016 held in his honour in recognition of his contribution to music in the area.