Former events centre manager killed

Gary Campbell, one of the main players in the early years of the stadium at Aorangi Park, has been killed in a collision while cycling in Australia.

The Gold Coast News reported Campbell was riding in Norwell Rd, on the northern reaches of the Gold Coast, on Saturday morning, when a truck clipped his bike and he was thrown to the ground. He died at the scene, after paramedics' attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. He was 58.

Campbell became manager of the stadium, now known as the Southern Trust Events Centre, after its major revamp in 1997, and left Timaru for Australia in 2001.

Sport Canterbury's South Canterbury regional manager, Verna Parker, said Campbell had a real love of life. "He was a real people person. He was always cracking a joke," she said. "He was very focused on the people and the community involved in the stadium."

Parker said Campbell arrived as the centre had just been completed. "He was the right person for the job. He was a very practical person, from an army background.

"It was nothing for him to be wandering around with a screwdriver fixing up things."

Campbell was visionary in establishing programmes to get people involved in the stadium, she said. "He was very involved with the first Masters' Games. A lot of the Kiwi senior group members still remember Gary vividly. The fitness studio was very much his baby. He equipped it and set up how it was going to run."

Parker said there were only two people working in the stadium at the time of the opening.

"He worked so hard in those early years, and built up a staff around him. There was little money to actually run it, he had to seek out funding, and run events. I just remember him as a charismatic individual."

In recent years, Campbell had worked as Sports Centre manager for Logan City Council, in Queensland. He was involved in Special Olympics and coached basketball and futsal, or indoor football.

The Timaru Herald