Fresh row breaks out over Donald Campbell's Bluebird

A fresh row has erupted over the fate of Donald Campbell's famous boat Bluebird, on the eve of the crash on Coniston Water in which he died.

The family of Donald Campbell gifted Bluebird to the John Ruskin museum at Coniston, which built an £800,000 wing to house the craft.

Tomorrow, on the 53rd anniversary of his death, the family, supported by the museum will make a formal request for Bluebird to be brought back to Coniston within 90 days at the most, or legal action could follow.

The vessel is currently being kept in the North East, by the team who've restored it.

Donald Campbell was killed when his hydroplane flipped as as he tried to break his own world water speed record in 1967. The wreckage was finally brought to the surface in 2001 by Bill Smith and his team and they've been working on it ever since. They say they effectively own the parts of the vessel they've had to add.Bill Smith, who found the wreckage and spent years reconstructing it, believes the Bluebird Project part owns the vessel - he would like to keep the hydroplane in action for the public to see.

He told ITV Border how he felt about the news: "The museum inherited a pile of wreckage, which constituted to around half a boat, and we provided the other half, so they've got half and we've got half, but the boat is build to run, it was not built as a static display, if it had been built as a static display we would have done it very differently. But it is built as an operable boat, that's always been understood, and all we want to do is make sure that what was intended is what happens."

Related articles: