Britain's speed hero remembered on 50th anniversary of his death

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/1/5 13:15:20

Hundreds of people gathered in Britain's scenic Lake District Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of speed legend Donald Campbell.

Campbell was killed on Jan. 4, 1967 while attempting to break his own water speed record.

His speedboat, Bluebird, was travelling at 483 km/h when it was catapulted 15 meters into the air after its nose lifted. Campbell died instantly as Bluebird hit the water and disintegrated. He was just 183 meters from completing his attempt when the tragedy happened.

Campbell's remains and the wrecked Bluebird were finally recovered from the lake in 2001 by engineer Bill Smith. He plans to return to the lake in about a year with the restored speedboat.

Campbell's daughter, Gina, led the tributes at Coniston Water, placing flowers close to the spot where her father was killed. She clutched her father's teddy bear mascot which was found among the wreckage.

She told local media that she was humbled to see his father's achievements still recognised by the public, half a century on from his death.

"If my father could have chosen a way to die, it would have been this way," she said.

Donald Campbell, the son of speed record breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell, survived a horrific crash in 1960 while trying to break the land speed record in the United States. He set eight world speed records, seven of them on land.

Paul Hannaford, the chairman of the Speed Record Club and a joint organizer of the anniversary events, said that Campbell's achievements would never be equalled. Campbell remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year, 1964.

"To many of us he is an absolute hero and never did anything for personal gain. It was always about prestige and advancing British engineering," said Hannaford.

A public remembrance service also took place Wednesday at his memorial. Commemorative events over the next few days will include a flypast by an Royal Air Force jet.

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