Ceremony in Samlesbury honours moment the revolutionary Bluebird K7 was handed to British speed record breaker Donald Campbell

A special ceremony will honour the moment a revolutionary jet-powered hydroplane built at Samlesbury Engineering was handed over to a British speed record breaker.

By Megan Titley
Friday, 25th October 2019, 12:13 pm
Donald Campbell on his Bluebird K7 at Lake Coniston, Cumbria in 1966. Pic: PA Wire
Donald Campbell on his Bluebird K7 at Lake Coniston, Cumbria in 1966. Pic: PA Wire

Sixty-five years ago the Bluebird K7 jet boat was given to Donald Campbell who broke seven absolute world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s.

Donald Campbell was killed in an accident with a much modified K7, on January 4, 1967, while making a bid for his eighth water speed record, with his aim to raise the record to over 300 miles per hour on Coniston Water.

The 45-year-old died trying to break his own water speed record when the Bluebird K7 flipped and crashed.

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Now, all these years later, his daughter Gina Campbell will perform the honours and unveil a plaque to commemorate the anniversary of the hand over of the hydroplane.

Steve Whalley, who is organising the event, said: “Gina Campbell will attend to unveil a plaque in the hall of Samlesbury Hall, which is next to the site where the engineering hangers once stood, to commemorate the anniversary.

“A plaque will also be unveiled in the golf range building.

“The plaque will have the date of the handing over of the K7 and an image of the boat when it left the factory in 1954.

“The long gallery will host an exhibition of memorabilia.

“A number of motor sport champions, drivers and riders will be attending the event.

“There will also be a number of makes of vehicles, which Donald used in his endeavours including Land Rovers and Jaguars.”

Campbell and the K7 were responsible for adding almost 100 miles per hour to the water speed record, taking it from 178 miles per hour to just over 276 miles per hour.

In 2018 the rebuilt Bluebird, which had been recovered from the bottom of Coniston Water in 2001, was launched in front of cheering crowds for the first time in over 50 years.

The record-breaking hydroplane was floated as part of tests being carried out on Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute.

The commemorative event of the handover on Sunday, November 24 will be held in the main hall at Samlesbury Hall which is next to the site of Samlesbury Engineering, now a golf range. It starts at 12.30pm until 4pm.

Food and refreshment will be available from the bar and cafe in the hall. Admission is free to the people attending the Campbell event.

Contact Steve Whalley on [email protected] add memorabilia to the exhibition.