Charity legacy of singing ‘hero’ will live on

Ian 'Frankie Martin' Cam[pbell at Land's End during his famous year of fundraising
Ian 'Frankie Martin' Cam[pbell at Land's End during his famous year of fundraising

Swing singer Ian ‘Frankie Martin’ Campbell shot to fame when he gave up a year of his life to perform 365 gigs in as many days to raise £140,000 for Help For Heroes.

Throughout 2010 he lived out of a van during the astonishing UK-wide tour that earned vital funds for brave British servicemen and women injured on front lines across the globe.

But Ian, from Kimberley, who has been dubbed a ‘true legend’ after his sudden death this week at the age of 53, leaves a much bigger legacy.

Ian, who was also known as Jock, helped entertain at any community event he could.

Tributes have poured in via Facebook from devastated friends and family since his death on Monday (March 24).

Colin Smith described him as a ‘rock and roll hero’.

“An all round rock and roll hero with a brilliant sense of humour has gone from our lives. Unbelievable work for charity. You’ll be missed by thousands,” he said.

Hannah Stott Mckie described him as ‘Kimberley’s hero and a true legend’ and Susan Smith said he deserved a medal for all the charity and community work he did.

Luke McGibney said he was ‘a one in a million, genuine human being’ and ‘a star both on stage and off’.

“Thanks for being such a wonderful soul. Your voice will be truly missed but never forgotten,” he said.

Ian’s dad, known locally as Tex and who also died in his 50s, was in the RAF and Ian was keen to raise as much as he could for charities that looked after the armed forces.

After his 2010 marathon Help For Heroes singing effort, two years later Ian spent a month touring the United States with his good pal Shane Easom, again singing in bars and raising awareness of America’s equivalent charity, Operation Home Front.

Shane said: “We planned a month’s road trip in the States and ‘Jock’ turned it into a fundraising trip for their troops. That’s just what he was like. He was on holiday and he was still trying to do good.

“He’s just an amazing person. So selfless.”.

Ian, who was born and bred in Kimberley, was a driving force behind the famous Kimberley pram race and a Kimberley town councillor for several years until he moved to Underwood.

He also helped local charities, such as Age Concern Eastwood, where he would entertain the pensioners.

Charity treasurer Josie Marsters said: “He was an inspiration, a gentleman and a good friend. A true legend and a person we will remember fondly.”

Ian worked part-time at the White Lion in Swingate, Kimberley.

A member of staff there said: “It was a privilege to have known him for the great person he was and everything he stood for. What a legend.”

Ian leaves his mum Joyce Campbell, who lives in Trueman Street, Kimberley, his girlfriend, Jo Lloyd, who lives in Underwood and his two children, Abby, 23, and Jamie, 25.