June 20, 2011

Struth! Will the Real Phil Campbell Please Stand Up?

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that when fifteen men sat down to dinner in Alabama in America's south-east at the weekend, there was no fear about forgetting the names of those around them.

Because every one of them was named Phil Campbell. And while some had wives and partners at the dinner, one lady in particular was equally as easy as all those men to identify: her name was Phyllis Campbell.

And if all that wasn't enough, those at the dinner will never forget where they sat down either: the name of that little town in Alabama was Phil Campbell – the only town in the world to incorporate both the first and surname of a person in its name.

The "Phil Campbells" of the world have been gathering in Phil Campbell since 1995 when American journalist, Phil Campbell thought it would be an idea to get the Phil Campbells of America together for a reunion. Since then its grown to include other Phil Campbells from around the world… including this year three from Australia: one from Bowral NSW, another from Coffs Harbour NSW and the third from Bendigo in Victoria.

And this weekend's gathering was particularly important: the little town of Phil Campbell – population 1090 – was almost wiped off the map by a tornado in April this year and twenty-six residents lost their lives. Since then the Phil Campbells of the world have been raising funds to assist its recovery…and at the weekend flew in for several days to join working bees helping rebuild the shattered community.

Picture shows Phil Campbell from Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands (orange shirt) who was one of three Australian "Phil Campbells" at the weekend's reunion and working bee.

(Photo courtesy Southern Highlands News.)


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