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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 12:40 GMT
Campbell's daughter to restore Bluebird
Gina Campbell at Coniston Water
Gina Campbell: "It would be my tribute to my father"
By the BBC's Kevin Bocquet in Cumbria

Donald Campbell's daughter, Gina, is to restore her father's powerboat and sail it on the lake where he died trying to beat his own world waterspeed record 34 years ago.

The tangled wreckage of Bluebird has lain untouched in a Tyneside workshop since being recovered from Coniston Water in Cumbria eight months ago.

Now Gina, together with other members of the Campbell family, has resolved to restore the vessel.

But the decision to restore the craft has already attracted criticism, from those who consider it distasteful, and who believe that both Bluebird and Donald Campbell's body should have been allowed to lie undisturbed.

Donald Campbell in Bluebird
Donald Campbell set the world waterspeed record in Bluebird

It could take years and will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

But Gina, herself a former waterspeed champion, told BBC News: "It would be my own tribute to my father, who was the bravest man I ever knew."

"We had two choices," said Gina.

"Either we could lock her away, and she would never have been seen again, or we could completely restore her back to her old beauty.

"We could never display her in the state she is in.

"I do not want people to see her like this.

"I would be worried about how children would react to her.

"I think they would find it too frightening.

'Unique venture'

"We've already been promised help and support by many people," she said.

"We won't be able to do it without sponsorship, and I hope others will want to become involved in what will be a unique venture."

In reaching their decision, the Campbell family relied heavily on the advice of friends, including Michael Ware from the National Motor Museum, who has experience in restoring crashed historic cars.

Bluebird crashes in January 1967
Donald Campbell was killed trying to beat his own waterspeed record
"There is really no precedent you can rely on," he said.

"The nearest similarity is with various World War II aircraft that crashed into lakes and were recovered but never restored.

"But this is different.

"Donald Campbell was a nationally known figure, and people will want to pay their tributes.

"Leaving the vessel in its present state really isn't an option.

"And therefore restoring it is probably the only practical alternative."

It was in January 1967 that Donald Campbell was killed trying to beat his own waterspeed record of 267 mph (429.87 km/h).

His remains were buried in Coniston in September.


Gina said: "Everyone has a story about my dad.

"But what stands out is his courage.

"He always knew what could happen.

"But he kept getting back into his boat, and going out on the water again.

"I want Bluebird to be restored and to go on display in Coniston, so that people will always remember what a fantastic, brave man my father was."

See also:

28 Oct 01 | England
Bluebird could race again
29 May 01 | UK
DNA tests on Bluebird body
28 May 01 | UK
Tests on Bluebird body
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