RAF Hawks fly past during the event at Coniston Water. Photo: Sgt Peter Devine/ RAF/MOD Crown Copyright

RAF Hawks fly past during the event at Coniston Water. Photo: Sgt Peter Devine/ RAF/MOD Crown Copyright

Two RAF jets took part in a flypast over the Lake District to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of a speed pioneer.

The Hawk trainers dipped their wings as they flew over Coniston Water, where record breaker Donald Campbell lost his life.

His daughter Gina laid flowers on the lake during the event on Tuesday as the planes passed overhead.

Campbell was killed 54 years ago while attempting a new world water-speed record on Coniston Water in his boat Bluebird K7. The craft lifted from the surface while attempting to surpass 300mph, somersaulting before sinking into the lake.

The wreckage of Bluebird K7 was recovered from Coniston Water in 2000 and his body was found the following year. The boat was subsequently restored and donated to the Ruskin Museum in Coniston village by his daughter Gina.

The flypast to mark Campbell’s 100th anniversary mirrored an event the day following his death when an RAF Vulcan bomber performed a fly-past.

Gina Campbell was joined at Tuesday’s event by trustees from the Ruskin Museum.

She said: “I am touched by the RAF’s mark of respect and their act was a fitting tribute to my father who would have been thrilled by the gesture.

“I cannot thank the RAF and the crews who flew today enough for their thoughtful tribute, especially Flight Lieutenant Eddie Craig who led the flypast from 4 AC Squadron at RAF Valley.

Gina Campbell and her partner Brian Eastham lay a wreath at Coniston Water. Photo: Sgt Peter Devine/ RAF/MOD Crown Copyright

Gina Campbell and her partner Brian Eastham lay a wreath at Coniston Water. Photo: Sgt Peter Devine/ RAF/MOD Crown Copyright

“My father is buried in Coniston, but it is also his spiritual home and every year thousands of people visit the Ruskin Museum to learn more about his incredible journey through life, gaining speed records on both land and water.

“He loved Coniston and its people as I have done over the years and having a museum that tells the story is a lasting tribute. We hope that soon Bluebird K7 which my family gifted the museum will return to Coniston.”

Flt Lt Eddie Craig who is a qualified flying instructor, with IV(AC) Squadron at RAF Valley on Anglesey, said: “It is a huge honour to continue the RAF tradition of paying tribute to Donald Campbell and celebrate, not only his achievements, but also his spirit of courage and determination.

“Today we flew two Hawk T2 aircraft from RAF Valley which are used to train the next generation of fighter pilots for the RAF and Royal Navy.

“While conducting the flypast is a great spectacle for people on the ground, it also provides important low-level training for our student pilots. Our top speed as we flew up Coniston Water was 480mph which we hope Donald would have approved of.”

Jeff Carroll from the Ruskin Museum which owns K7 said: “Keeping Donald Campbell’s memory alive and enabling people from around the world to visit Coniston and learn about his achievements is telling an important chapter in the history of Coniston, and indeed the United Kingdom. Coniston is extremely proud of its association with its adopted son, and the world beating achievements reached on our lake.

“Both Donald and his father, Sir Malcom had a deep affection for Coniston and its people. It is our honour and privilege to honour what would have been Donald’s 100th Birthday today in the best way we can, given the current restrictions.”

His daughter and trustees from the museum then visited her Campbell’s grave in Coniston churchyard.

Donald Campbell, son of land-speed record holder Malcolm Campbell, was born in Kingston upon Thames on 23 March 1921. He set several world speed records in the Lake District in the 1950s, once on Ullswater and four times on Coniston Water. In 1964 he managed to achieve both water- and land-speed records in the same year, reaching respectively 276mph and 403mph in Bluebird K7 and CN7.