Donald Campbell CBE
The centenary of the renowned speed record breaker Donald Campbell’s birth will be on March 23rd 2021.
Donald Campbell broke eight world records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s.
Coniston played host to four of his water speed triumphs.
Furthermore, he remains the only person to have set both a land and water record in the same year 1964.
Campbell was awarded the CBE in 1957 for his record-breaking speed-runs.
Tragically, on January 4th 1967, the 46-year old died.
His boat crashed while attempting to break the 300mph barrier and his own personal water speed record.
He was only 200 yards from the end of the second leg when his boat – Bluebird K7 catapulted into the air after its nose lifted on the second leg of his attempt.
Consequently, it wasn’t until 2001 that his body and Bluebird were eventually found.
A team led by diver Bill Smith recovered the wreckage.
He was laid to rest in Coniston cemetery.
He was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct in 1967.
As a result of his exploits, Donald Malcolm Campbell is known as Coniston’s adopted son.
To celebrate his centenary, a year-long programme of events around the Coniston area are planned.
Furthermore, to start with, a pair of fighter planes paid tribute on March 23rd 2021 by flying over Coniston and dipping in salute as they roared overhead.
The RAF Hawks were replicating a manoeuvre carried out by a Vulcan bomber on the day after his death in 1967.
Finally, Coniston is, and will always be, Donald Campbell’s spiritual home.