Salvationist's Christian influence touches lives 40 years on

published on 19 May 2016

A Salvationist whose father sold the War Cry in Belfast has spoken of her joy at meeting a group of Norwegians who struck up a friendship with her dad over 40 years ago.

Pat Boyd, a soldier at Belfast Sydenham, was invited to Stormont earlier this month for an emotional meeting with 40 former Queen’s University students from Norway who returned to Belfast for a nostalgic visit. 

The Scandinavians had featured in local press reports asking for help to find a Salvation Army member who arranged for copies of the War Cry to be flown in from Oslo every week for them.

Pat got in touch to say her dad David Campbell was the man they were looking for but sadly he passed away in 1974, not long after the students returned home to Norway.

A former Assembly Member called Cedric Wilson arranged for Pat and husband Hammie to travel to Parliament Buildings at Stormont and surprise the Norwegians during their trip.

Speaking to the War Cry, Pat said: "I'm delighted I was able to meet them - it was a real rabbit-out-of-a-hat moment. I was told it was the highlight of their trip and a wonderful tribute to dad.

"A friend saw a story about Norwegians returning to Belfast. It featured a photo of dad and was asking if anyone knew him so it was one of those goosebump experiences.

"Dad worked as a foreman in the power station but he was also a bandsman and the assistant Corps Sergeant Major at Belfast Citadel. He sold the War Cry every Friday night in Pubs around Belfast. It was in one of the pubs he met the Norwegian students who were amazed at the ministry dad was doing. They jokingly asked if he had the War Cry in Norwegian. Sure enough the next week he turned up with copies from Oslo, which continued to be sent each week.

"It's a shame dad is no longer with us because he would have lust loved this story and reuniting with his Norwegian friends."

One of the visitors, Knut Alten, said he and his colleagues were delighted to find Mr Campbell’s daughter.

He said: “It was a very moving experience for us all to meet up with Pat and reminisce about her father, who was a really lovely man.”

Pat's connections to Norway don't end there. She revealed that she was a regular visitor to the country to see her daughter who lived there for many years. It was also where one of Pat's grandchild was born.