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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Campbell's Bluebird whole again
Bluebird
Bluebird has already been donated to the Ruskin museum
Donald Campbell's legendary Bluebird is back in one piece for the first time in 40 years.

The famous boat, in which Campbell died while trying to break a speed record on Coniston Water, Cumbria, in 1967, was split in half by the crash impact.

Diver Bill Smith and his team, who salvaged Bluebird from the lake, have been restoring the craft.

Mr Smith said Thursday's successful attempt to re-join the frame's two halves was a major milestone.

Bluebird was winched from the bottom of Coniston in March 2001.

Since then, it has been in Mr Smith's North Tyneside workshop, where he is restoring the craft to full working order.

This is a milestone - a significant event in the re-build because for the first time in 40 years, the two halves are one again
Bill Smith

He donated it to the Ruskin Museum, which already houses the boat's tail fin and part of its Bristol Orpheus engine, on the 40th anniversary of Campbell's death.

The project follows two failed bids by the museum and Donald Campbell's daughter Gina for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Mr Smith said: "Now we've got the whole thing back together the full rebuild can begin. There's still a lot of work to do, but it's mostly detail.

"This is a milestone - a significant event in the re-build because for the first time in 40 years, the two halves are one again.

Public appeal

"It was a tremendous relief, and we've worked long enough for it. I couldn't say when the project will be complete though - it will be finished when it's finished."

The frame's two halves were transported to Lancashire engineering firm PDS, where they were re-connected on Thursday.

It will return to Mr Smith's workshop for the remainder of the restoration.

The Ruskin Museum has launched a public appeal to raise 750,000 to build an extension to house Bluebird.

Before it goes on display, Gina Campbell hopes to float Bluebird on Coniston and fire up the engine in honour of her father.




SEE ALSO
30,000 boost for Bluebird appeal
17 Aug 07 |  Cumbria
Bluebird pieces traced in water
27 Apr 07 |  North East/N Isles

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