Gina Campbell gives unique insight into her life with her father Donald Campbell and Bluebird (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Gina Campbell gives unique insight into her life with her father Donald Campbell and Bluebird
She grew up as a celebrity at the side of her famous father, but in Gina Campbell’s autobiographical book she tells all about how her roller-coaster life was far from happy at times.
The daughter of the iconic record-breaker Donald Campbell opens up about life with the man who was immortalised when he tragically died in 1967 while attempting to break a water speed record on Coniston.
Ms Campbell was 17 when her father died and now aged 63, she has penned Daughter of Bluebird, which will be released on Monday.
It will be officially launched later in the month at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston.
She is the last surviving member of the record-breaking dynasty and told The Westmorland Gazette that she felt compelled to write her memoirs of growing up in the shadow of her father and Bluebird since so many others have written about him.
“I knew my father but I did not realise how monumental what he did was. As a child, I was not aware of how famous he was or how great his achievements were.
“It was not until his death that I realised how great he really was but day by day I realise more,” said Ms Campbell.
Ms Campbell, who has had three failed marriages and has attempted suicide, said that she hoped that the book would enable people to see who she really is and the life that she has led.
“I have had a very diffiuclt life but it has been very privileged. People assume that if your parents are famous then you are rich and if your father is in the public eye everyone thinks that they know you, but that is so wrong.”
She tells about her pride for her father despite the fact that he used her trust money to fund parts of his extravagent life.
“My father used my trust money in the early days but what he used it for I do not know - only he knows.”
She describes Donald as a strict and ‘very distant’ father but said she loved the holidays because she got to spend time with him.
“They were my best memories because I could spend time with him as I went to boarding school.”
But she said that if there had been illnesses such as chicken pox or mumps at school, she would be made to stay at boarding school in case she had anything contagious.
“He did not want any lurgies bringing back to our home," she said.
“He was terrified of getting mumps and once he did not let me home for three weeks because mumps had been at school, and so I stayed with my grandmother in a hotel on the coast. I didn’t think anything about it, I went riding every day and so I was happy.”
But her father has made a great impression on her life and she has followed in her family’s footsteps. She became a powerboat record-breaker winning two women’s world water speed records in 1984 and 1990.
“His racing was with us all day and every day and I was part of it. He has left me with determination and tenacity and I have learned to always do my best to get on with life and do my best to maintain his spirit.”
Sadness filled her life when he died such a violent and public death, but she said that if he had lived on, he would not have got the heroic status he has today.
“The legacy he left this country and the enjoyment he gave was enormous. He gave Great Britain a reason to be great,” she added.