Spanish town honours Irish painter with street tribute

A DECEASED Irish painter who made Spain his second home is to be honoured by having a street named after him in his adopted town of Málaga.

Last Friday, the local council voted unanimously to pay tribute to George Campbell.

They agreed to name a street Jorge pronounced Horhe Campbell, which was how the local people knew him. Mr Campbell, from Arklow, Co Wicklow, died in 1979, aged 61. He spent five months of every year of his last 27 years in Málaga His wife, Madge Campbell, who will be 83 this month, yesterday said she was delighted when she heard the news.

"I was elated. I couldn't believe it. God, what would George have felt about it all? He would have been so, so pleased."

The couple spent every winter in Spain, much of it in the small fishing village of El Palo, on the outskirts of Málaga.

"We both loved Spain. George spoke the language absolutely perfect. He even looked Spanish. I think he had Spanish blood in him." She singled out praise for their Spanish friend Antonio Sierra for the tribute.

She said her husband was honoured in 1978 by the Spanish government for his contribution to Spain and that Mr Sierra was behind that as well.

After Mr Campbell's sudden death from a brain haemorrhage Mr Sierra got the arts councils to set up an award of 1,270 for students and artists in honour of Mr Campbell. "George was absolutely unique, a real character. I still remember when we go for drinks in Málaga. After a while you see people taking chairs and you have 10-15 people around George. He's telling jokes, and he tells them in such a good way," Mr Sierra said.

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