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Alastair Campbell’s son backed by Tony Blair ahead of charity run for New Labour architect

Rory Campbell is running a half marathon in memory of Philip Gould. Picture: Nigel Sutton. Rory Campbell is running a half marathon in memory of Philip Gould. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Thursday, February 20, 2014
8:00 AM

The son of former government spin doctor Alastair Campbell will run a half-marathon in memory of a leading Labour strategist who died in 2011.

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Philip Gould. Picture: PA Wire/Stefan Rousseau.Philip Gould. Picture: PA Wire/Stefan Rousseau.

Rory Campbell, 26, will take part in the Hampton Court Half Marathon on Sunday to aid a fund set up in tribute to Philip Gould, following his death from oesophageal cancer, aged 61.

Mr Campbell, a former William Ellis School pupil who grew up in Gospel Oak, is hoping to raise £10,000 in sponsorship and has found support from a number of high-profile figures, including large donations from former Labour leader Neil Kinnock and broadcaster Piers Morgan.

He said he was also expecting a cheque in the post from his father’s old boss, former PM Tony Blair.

Mr Campbell said: “He [Mr Blair] messaged dad. There are a few people who have just sent cheques so I think he’s one of them.

“The support I got from the Labour Party was greater than the support I got from any other sector.”

As strategist for Labour at five consecutive general elections from 1987, Mr Gould was widely considered the architect of New Labour and worked closely with Mr Campbell’s father during his time as Mr Blair’s PR chief between 1997 and 2003.

A former Kentish Town and Regent’s Park resident, Mr Gould is survived by widow Dame Gail Rebuck, a former chief executive of publisher Random House, and daughters Grace and Georgia, a Kentish Town councillor.

The Gould and Campbell families remain very close friends, according to Mr Campbell.

He said: “Philip was a very, very close family friend of ours – my dad’s best friend – we went on holiday a lot.

“It was kind of a ‘no-brainer’ for me that I’d do it for his fund. As soon as he died, it was set up in his name.”

Mr Campbell, who studied philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Oxford University and now plays poker professionally in top casinos around the world, was an 800m runner at national level as a teenager but has not run seriously since leaving school.

He said he has been training hard for the last three months and was inspired by Mr Gould’s own determination in the last years of his life.

“In the last few years he still remained incredibly positive,” said Mr Campbell. “He was a very calming influence. It was amazing how he wasn’t angry about anything that was happening to him and kept positive.”

Mr Campbell has already raised almost £6,500 and is confident of reaching his £10,000 target, which will all go to the Philip Gould Tribute Fund supporting research into oesophageal cancers at The Royal Marsden hospital.

If you wish to support Mr Campbell’s challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/Rory-Campbell5

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