A TEENAGER’S charity single recorded in memory of a tragic Scots jockey is rising up the charts.
Friends and family of Campbell Gillies contacted young Irish singer/songwriter Mark Boylan to ask if he would write a tune to keep the late sportsman’s spirit alive.
Mark, 15, gladly accepted and penned A Song for Campbell, about the life and career of the National Hunt jockey, who died aged 21 in a swimming pool accident in Corfu last summer.
The track reached second in the iTunes singer/songwriter chart – ahead of Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran – entered the UK Independent Chart at number 34 and reached 65 in the Irish iTunes chart.
And it has proved so popular a UK woman has even reportedly had a tattoo of the song lyrics on her leg.
Mark, from Banagher, County Offaly, is a huge horse racing fan and has written a number of songs about famous horses and the sport’s iconic Cheltenham Festival.
It was at the festival last March that Campbell, from Haddington, East Lothian, had his proudest moment as he rode Brindisi Breeze to victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Several of those closest to Campbell got in touch with the singer and acoustic guitarist to ask if he would write a song about their pal, while the jockey’s family also gave the idea their backing.
Schoolboy Mark said: “It wasn’t something I felt was a natural thing to do, but when I got in contact with Lesley, his mum, and Finlay, his brother, they thought it was a great idea.
“I’d been writing the song for the last month or so. I’ve written quite a few songs, but this was a special song to me.
“From what I’ve heard of his character, he wouldn’t want something that would be terribly sad. It was quite a difficult thing to balance it right.
“I’ve had an absolutely amazing reaction to the song. It’s been a great way for everyone to come together and to remember the person he was.
“Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet him – that’s one of my biggest regrets – because speaking with jockeys and people I know in the racing industry, he was so popular.”
Mark, whose dream is to perform at the Cheltenham Festival, says the hardest part of writing the words was “finding something that would do [Campbell] justice”.
All money from the sales of the track will be donated to the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Campbell died after a swimming pool accident in Corfu on June 26 last year, a day before his 22nd birthday.
About 600 people, including Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and Scotland manager Craig Levein, attended his humanist funeral at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh.
Campbell’s brother Finlay, a professional rugby player with Glasgow Warriors, tweeted about the song’s release, saying: “A lot of respect for @markcboylan for writing ‘a song for Campbell’ then selflessly donating all proceeds to the injured jockeys fund.”