The efforts and achievements of Derry’s Bloody Sunday campaigners have been highlighted by a ‘Journal’ reporter in Sheffield.
Local writer Julieann Campbell was invited to speak at Sheffield Hallam University.
The university’s public relations department was specifically interested in Julieann’s role as press officer for the Bloody Sunday families and survivors in the lead-up to the 2010 Saville Report which exonerated the victims of the 1972 Bogside massacre.
The guest lecture attracted a sizeable audience and was followed by a Q&A session on the subject.
Students and guests were primarily interested in discovering how Julieann, her colleagues at the Bloody Sunday Trust and the wider families kept the issue of Bloody Sunday firmly in the spotlight as the report’s publication date loomed.
Julieann, whose 17 year-old uncle Jackie Duddy was the first fatality of January 30, 1972, spoke candidly about her own role in keeping the press informed and her deep admiration for the Derry campaigners she represented.
Speaking afterwards, Julieann said: “It was an honour to be invited to Sheffield to talk about the final throes of the campaign ahead of the report. I found the audience to be really warm, receptive and genuinely interested in how the families achieved all that they did.”
Course Leader Carmel O’Toole, who invited Julieann to Sheffield, explained the rationale behind the invitation.
“I was 12 when Bloody Sunday happened and have always taken a keen interest in the families’ struggle for recognition and justice.
“Earlier this year I read Julieann’s book ‘Setting the Truth Free’. Then the opportunity arose through our guest lecture series to invite her over. We were delighted that she was able to accept.
“Most of our students were born 20 years after Bloody Sunday and had never heard of the incident before this session. Some have since told me how moved they were by Julieann’s talk and also how inspired they were by the determination of the families and victims,” she added.
Julieann, who is nowadays vice-chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust, later worked alongside the families and survivors to produce the first account of their long campaign. Earlier this year, their book ‘Setting the Truth Free: The Inside Story of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign’ was awarded the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize.