Leeds metal detectorist finds lost Bluebird charm

Gina Campbell, right, Mr Whoppit and the St Christopher medallion found by Shaun and Angela Whitehead.
Gina Campbell, right, Mr Whoppit and the St Christopher medallion found by Shaun and Angela Whitehead.
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A charm recovered from the depths of Coniston Water 34 years after Donald Campbell’s fatal final journey has made its second miraculous return.

When the wreckage of Bluebird K7 – the machine he was driving during the ill-fated bid to break his own 276mph water speed record in 1967 – was recovered in 2001, a tiny St Christopher’s medal that he held dear was also found and returned to his overjoyed daughter Gina.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Thorner, has treasured the medal ever since but was devastated last year when she misplaced it after a charity golf tournament at Moor Allerton Golf Club.

Having searched high and low herself, invited psychic mediums and ex police to search for it, the medal was spotted by a keen explorer last week.

Gina, herself a former women’s world water speed record holder, told the YEP: “It has taken such a weight off my mind, my father was never without it and for it to have spent 34 years under water and then for me to lose it – it was just not an option.

“It’s a miracle and there aren’t words to describe it – I suppose I did think it was lost forever in reality.”

The medal, which along with teddy bear mascot Mr Whoppit was always with Mr Campbell on speed record attempts, was given to him by his father, famed motorist Sir Malcolm Campbell. It is engraved with ‘To Donald from Daddy, November 1941’.

Gina was convinced she had lost the medal at the golf club or in her 2.5acre garden.

But last year Shaun Whitehead, 46, a chartered engineer and explorer, met Gina and the medal came into conversation.

He vowed to find it, returning with his wife and a metal detector to Gina’s garden last week. It was buried in bonfire ashes and grass cuttings.

He said: “From now on it’s going to live a more charmed life – it was meant to be that we found it.”

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