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Don Wooley

Don Woolley is the last surviving member of Donald Campbell’s team which claimed the World Water Speed Record at Ullswater in July 1955 and later at Lake Mead in the USA.

Born in Derby in 1927, he joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 15 and developed a love of the sea which remains with him to this day. His interest in mechanics, particularly engines, led him to build his own garage and small engineering business. Don became involved in the Bluebird venture through a chance remark made to Leo Villa. While staying overnight at Leo’s house he was shown drawings of Campbell’s new Bluebird and ventured to express the opinion that it might have a problem with water being taken into the air intakes. This proved to be the case and Leo remembering their conversation, sent for him to help fix the problem. This he did and he became a member of the highly successful team. To the public at large, Don was probably best remembered as being the guy who dived fully clothed into Lake Mead in order to secure a rope to the sinking Bluebird and finished up in hospital.

His love affair with boats continued after Bluebird. He built his own two masted ketch which he sailed single handed around the British Isles and in the Mediterranean . Only recently has he felt compelled to give up his boat. Don has three sons, a daughter and four grandchildren. He now spends much of his time on holidays and commuting between his bungalow in Disley and Dronfield Derbyshire.

Donald Campbell
Speed 320mph
Length 11.2mtrs
Width 2.02mtrs
Weight 150 kilos