Hailing from Kirkwall, Orkney, Bev Campbell has been on a longer journey than most to reach the top tier of Scottish Netball.
Born and bred as a true Orcadian, Bev started playing Netball in primary school and quickly rose through the ranks, to compete in U15, U17 and U19 for Scotland. However, with the Scottish Netball team training in the central belt and Bev living in one of the furthest northern islands, the 640 mile roundtrip soon became part of a normal weekend. Sacrificing weekends and regularly putting her social life on the backburner to be part of the Scottish squad, she became well acquainted with the overnight boat to Aberdeen, followed by the train journey south.
Finally, achieving a place in the Scottish U21 team coincided with the inevitable relocation to Glasgow and she claims friendships have made the move to big city life much easier: “Looking back on it, I would say a lot of my best friendships have been made through netball and they make the travelling worthwhile. I love my sport.”
Recently completing her studies in Health Fitness and Exercise at North Glasgow College, Bev does admit the transition from Orkney with a population of a little more than 20,000, to Glasgow with a population of 598,800 has been a challenge at times: “I’ve made good friends down here, especially around the netball squads but I still miss my family. I still don’t know everyone and there are a lot more people here than up in Orkney. I’m adapting to life away from home and family but I have training to keep my busy, there is a lot more opportunities to train down her.”
Very proud of her roots, Bev explained: “It’s a huge honour to represent Scotland but the chance to represent Orkney and put it on the sporting map would mean so much. There are a lot of talented athletes there but not many manage to get far because they don’t have the facilities or opportunities people down here do. It would maybe prove to people there that you can actually do it, even if you feel isolated.”Netball player Campbell is properly proud of such origins. "It's a huge honour to represent Scotland but the chance to represent Orkney and put it on the sporting map would mean so much," she explains. "There are a lot of talented athletes there but not many manage to get far because they don't have the facilities or opportunities people down here do. It would maybe prove to people there that you can actually do it, even if you feel isolated."
Now aged 20, the young Scottish Thistle is on the last lap of the selection jouney to Glasgow 2014 and is currently preparing for a tough challenge as the New Zealand Silver Ferns come to town for two exhibition games at the Emirates Arena on Sunday 12th January and Tuesday 14th January. The Silver Ferns are defending Commonwealth Champions (Delhi 2010) and offers a warm-up for next summer as the two countries will meet in the preliminary stages of Glasgow 2014. We wish Bev and the team all the very best.
For tickets to the two exhibition games, call: 0141 353 8000.
You can follow Bev on Twitter @Bevvaila
Photo Credit: Scottish Netball