BLUEBIRD AGFA & GINA CAMPBELL
Georgina (Gina) Campbell lost her father at the age of just 17, when he was killed on Lake Coniston as he tried to set yet another world speed record. In her prop-driven catamaran, also called Bluebird, (Agfa Bluebird) Gina raised the Ladies' Water Speed Record to 166 mph on Lake Taupo in New Zealand on 1st April 1990. Gina has strong links with New Zealand - a country almost synonymous with water sports and also the home of Dorothy, Donald Campbell's second wife.
Gina Campbell 2001
When in New Zealand in 1986, she was navigating for Glenn Urquhart when their powerboat touched the top of a wave, flipped over and then went onto its side, continuing underwater at full power. Later in 1987 Gina was involved in a campaign run by the New Zealand Water Safety Council to promote public awareness of the dangers inherent in water sport and leisure
Gina's father, Donald Campbell CBE was the obsessive holder of world land and water speed records and died in Coniston lake on January 4 1967 while trying to break his own record. Possibly striking a log the jet powered Bluebird had disintegrated at around 300 miles an hour. He is said to have yearned to emulate his father Sir Malcolm Campbell, in setting speed records on land and on water.
Gina too was bitten by the racing bug and competed in offshore powerboat racing, before setting a world water speed record of her own in 1984. It is not so well known that Gina had a serious accident, flipping her boat at close to 160 mph. Se survived to tell the tale and one can only marvel at her resolve, knowing how her father had lost his life.
The K7 first run 4 January 1967
The funeral service at Coniston Parish Churchyard took place in September 2001. Donald Campbell has finally been given a permanent headstone on the edge of Coniston Water 35 years after his death. Family, friends and those involved in the salvage of the record-breaking Bluebird, were present at the moving service in St Andrew's Church, Coniston.
“Bluebird” has been in storage in the northeast since she was raised from the bed of Coniston Water in March 2001 by a team of divers led by Bill Smith of Newcastle. Now Lake District planners have approved plans to extend the village’s Ruskin Museum to house the boat in a permanent exhibition celebrating the record-breaking achievements of Donald Campbell and his father, Malcolm. Applicants the Coniston Institute and Ruskin Museum Charitable Trust have been granted permission to build a 33ft by 33ft extension to the museum
Bluebird K7 taking off
One of the most controversial acts to have taken place at Coniston in recent years was the raising of Bluebird from the lake bed during the spring of 2001. It is probably fair to say that the majority of those born and bred in the village were against any form of salvage. The general opinion was that the wreck should be left where it had been lying for the previous 34 years.
Salvage operations started with the assembly of two large barges on the car park of the Bluebird Café at the lake shore. Once completed the barges became a floating platform which could hold the lifting crane and the mass of underwater equipment needed for the salvage operation to proceed. The platform was launched on March 2nd, towed out to a point above the wreck and secured with ropes to concrete blocks which had been placed on the lake bed.
Next day, with the assistance of a remote operating vessel, divers started to secure lifting lines to the wreck. Once complete the delicate operation was started to lift the craft clear of the thick glutinous mud on the lake bed, without causing any further damage. This took several days and was completed on March 7th with the help of hydraulic lifting bags. By the close of play that day Bluebird had been raised from the lake bed and was hanging from the floating platform, just below the lake surface, by its lifting lines.
Agfa Bluebird offshore power boat
Gina Campbell in the ABB II 1984 Womans World Water Speed Record boat 'Agfa Bluebird II'
Tonia Berne Bill Smith raises the K7
Donald Campbells body
On the 28th May 2001 A body was recoverd from Coniston Water by the Bluebird Project Team. Gina Campbell, Donalds Daughter asked if the team could locate and recover her fathers body. There seems no doubt that the body is that of Donald Campbell. DNA tests are being carried out to confirm this.
Sir Malcolm and Lady Campbell had a son and a daughter. Donald is well known for his speed records. Jean Dorothy Wales (nee Campbell) is lesser known, save for her son Donald, better known as Don Wales of course. Jean and Donald (sister and brother) are pictured above together at Lake Coniston. Jean is Gina's auntie.
BODY IN LAKE IS CAMPBELL - FRIDAY 10 AUGUST 2001
A coroner has confirmed that human remains found in Coniston Water are those of powerboating legend Donald Campbell. An inquest heard tests on DNA samples taken from the body and from members of Campbell's family proved the remains were 1.9 million times more likely to be those of the speed hero's than anyone else.
Campbell was trying to break his own water speed record of 276mph when his boat somersaulted before crashing. Divers found the remains in May - 34 years after Campbell's attempt ended in his death. Furness coroner Ian Smith said there was "absolutely no doubt" the body was that of Donald Campbell. After the hearing in Barrow Town Hall, Cumbria, Campbell's daughter Gina, 51, said she felt "totally relieved". She said: "There was always a little bit of doubt. Now there is no doubt.
"The mystery of the lake now becomes a reality."
Cumbria Police scenes-of-crime officer Carl Langhorn told the hearing that DNA expert Dr Tim Clayton carried out tests on the remains and on samples from Ms Campbell and Donald Campbell's sister Jean Wales. Mr Langhorn said: "Dr Clayton holds a strong view that the remains are from a person related to Gina and Jean. "He believes it is 1.9 million times more likely that they have originated from the father of Gina than anyone else." Ms Campbell confirmed to Mr Smith her father's name, date of birth and that he was born in Kingston, Surrey.
MALCOLM CAMPBELL HERITAGE TRUST
It appears that as soon as the K7 had been raised, the prospect of funding via the Heritage Lottery Fund triggered the relatives of Donald Campbell, such as to be able to make an application for funding that may stand a chance. In the end the HLF decided that the crashed Bluebird represented more to archaeologists and the nation as it was recovered.
You can see from the above scan of what is the lead of a 'Declaration of Trust' dated the 16th of October 2001, that the original Trustees of the MCHT were:
1. Peter John Hulme, New Barn, Tokens Farm, Loxwood, West Sussex.
2. Malcolm Brian Hulme, 17 Norman Avenue, Twickenham, Middlesex.
4. Georgina Campbell, Birkby Grange Farm, Carr Lane, Thorner, Leeds, LS14 3HG.
Since that time Jean Wales has passed away.
Gina Campbell - Not a particularly flattering picture for which we apologise
but then then press rarely consider that side of things.
BBC LINKS :
Report of the discovery of Donalds body.
10 Aug 01 | UK Campbell born into speed dynasty
29 May 01 | UK DNA tests on Bluebird body
08 Mar 01 | UK Divers salvage the Bluebird
04 Feb 01 | UK Divers find Bluebird wreck
18 Jun 00 | UK Bluebird breaks speed record
08 Mar 01 | UK Picture gallery: Raising Bluebird
Gina with a model of her racing catamaran
"Of records and record breakers, I would remind you that speed is relative to time. What we consider slow now, was unthinkable in years gone by. However, each time a contender goes out onto the field of battle, he or she faces the same hurdles, the same fears and financial challenges as those before us, and most importantly of all, has to muster themselves to boiling point to make it all happen. In the end, players will either triumph or fail, but in doing so, show others where and where not to tread. All too often players pay the ultimate price. Whether they raise Man's technical mastery up another notch or not, history should remember every last one of them - for they were players." (Nelson Kruschandl December 2005)
Nelson Kruschandl - Is a conceptual design engineer and patentee who was inspired by the deeds of Donald Campbell and his father, Sir Malcolm. In particular, the work of Reid Railton (who he never met) and Ken Norris, who he had several meetings with as to design issues, spurred him on to create the Bluebird Electric BE1 and BE2 designs. These vehicles were also built to demonstrate his patented recharging system for EVs. Nelson also met Gina while she was at her Cafe in the south of England. Nelson regrets that they never got a chance to speak about his solar powered boat project.
Hydroplanes and Racing:
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