Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Speed king's daughter pays tribute 50 years on

By Kim Pilling

The daughter of speed hero Donald Campbell has laid flowers on Coniston Water to mark the 50th anniversary of his death.

Campbell died on January 4, 1967 aged 45 when his jet-powered boat Bluebird K7 flipped up and disintegrated as he attempted a new speed record on the lake in Cumbria.

He broke eight world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s, and remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year.

In his fatal record attempt, the son of Sir Malcolm Campbell, who himself held land and water speed records, had set himself a target of 300mph (480kph) on Coniston Water. He was posthumously awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct.

In 2001 Campbell's body, with his race suit intact, and the wreckage of Bluebird were recovered from the depths of the lake and he was buried later that year in the village of Coniston.

Yesterday morning Gina Campbell was among a small party who travelled by boat to the site of the crash and laid flowers on the lake at the exact time of the tragedy.

She clutched her father's teddy bear mascot Mr Whoppit, which was found in the wreckage.

It is hoped that Bluebird will be restored by next year and return to Coniston Water again before it finds a permanent home in the village's Ruskin Museum.

Before the memorial service began as crowds gathered at the village green, Ms Campbell said the day had been "bittersweet".

She said: "My dad did not do things for public display, but I think he would be delighted to see the public here today."

Holding her father's teddy bear mascot, she said: "He was with my dad through all his achievements and through his death, so I thought he had better come along today and relive the moment."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph