Daughter’s tribute to speed hero Campbell

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 into the air and disintegrated as he attempted a new water speed record on the lake in Cumbria.

Gina Campbell, the daughter of  world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, casts flowers on to the waters of Lake Coniston to mark the 50th anniversary of the fatal crash there of his jet-powered Bluebird boat

Gina Campbell, the daughter of world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, casts flowers on to the waters of Lake Coniston to mark the 50th anniversary of the fatal crash there of his jet-powered Bluebird boat

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 reaching 300mph 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.

Gina Campbell, the daughter of world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, holds his mascot, a teddy bear named Mr Whoppit, as she visits a memorial at Lake Coniston

Gina Campbell, the daughter of world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, holds his mascot, a teddy bear named Mr Whoppit, as she visits a memorial at Lake Coniston

On Wednesday 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.

During the journey she clutched her father’s teddy bear mascot, Mr Whoppit, which was found among the wreckage.

A public remembrance service took place later at his memorial on the village green before more wreaths were laid at Coniston Cemetery.

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

Former British land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell

Former British land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell

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.”

Speaking earlier at Coniston Water, Ms Campbell said: “This is the site of 50 years ago where he met his Waterloo. Luckily there is a lot of people that still support his achievements and it is very humbling for me to be able to be here and represent my family and pay my own respects to my father.

“It is really hard to describe one’s emotions. For me the biggest one is humility. I am just so proud to be my father’s daughter and to have witnessed what he did in his life, and that people are still following him here today is fantastic.

Donald Campbell

Donald Campbell

“His life lives on through on a lot of other people’s imagination and their own courage.”

Holding her father’s teddy bear mascot, she said: “He survived the accident with my dad. He has got his life jacket on today because we don’t want any more emotions in the water.

“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.”

After she laid a wreath at her father’s graveside, she spoke of feeling “pride” at the public recognition of “a true hero”.

She said: “It was beyond these days of risk assessment and health and safety, and he went out and he did what he did. He did it most times with huge success.”

The Bluebird boat on Coniston Water, the right side lifting out of the water, a moment later the boat somersaulted into the air before disappearing and sinking

The Bluebird boat on Coniston Water, the right side lifting out of the water, a moment later the boat somersaulted into the air before disappearing and sinking