THE daughter of Coniston speed legend Donald Campbell has said the museum which owns his boat will accept its return ‘in bits’ if necessary.

Almost two decades after the wreckage of Bluebird was pulled from the bottom of Coniston its future still hangs in the balance.

Despite the completion of an £800,000 purpose-built extension to house the boat in 2010 as well as successful runs on Bute, Coniston is still to see the boat’s return.

A bitter dispute between the Ruskin Museum and Bill Smith - the engineer who brought Bluebird back to the surface and orchestrated its revival, means the boat is in limbo.

Last month Mr Campbell’s daughter Gina spoke out in an attempt to solve the saga and urged the man behind the Bluebird’s restoration to return the boat to its rightful owners.

The museum is also taking legal action to ensure the boat is brought back to Coniston.

However, this is seen as a last resort, and the museum’s trustees continue to hope the row can be resolved amicably.

Miss Campbell said she was aware of Mr Smith’s ‘threat’ to remove the repaired parts from the boat, but she is still hopeful to see Bluebird returned to Coniston ‘sooner rather than later’.

“Obviously we would prefer Bill to hand over Bluebird K7 complete rather than in bits but if that is what Bill feels he must do then that is purely his decision,” she sad.

Mr Smith has spoken in public about the prospect of him retaining those parts of Bluebird K7 in order to build a replica of this iconic craft.

When asked if building a replica of Bluebird is an option Miss Campbell hinted at further potential legal action.

“Bill turned down the offer to have the Heritage Lottery Fund him build a replica in discussions over 14 years ago,” she said.

“If he were to attempt to build a replica, I would imagine there might be certain Intellectual Property Rights regarding the name, logo, design and construction of whatever he wanted to build.”

Mr Smith insists he is in the right.

“It is with regret that due to circumstances beyond our control the Bluebird Project has been left with no option but to cease all operations on the restoration of Bluebird K7 for the foreseeable future,” he said. “This is due to contractual and other matters that we fully believed to be adequately covered but which now appear to require further work.

“We remain as committed as ever to displaying Bluebird K7 in Coniston and operating her on Coniston Water for public benefit as well as at other locations.”