Bear retires from life in the fast lane

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The Independent Online
Donald Campbell's silent co-pilot on every one of his attempts on world land and water speed records is to be offered for sale at a Christie's auction.

Mr Whoppit, a 1950s Merrythought teddy bear, was Campbell's mascot and was plucked from Coniston Water a few minutes after the 328mph crash on 4 January 1967 that claimed his owner's life.

Campbell's daughter Gina, 47, adopted the bear as her own mascot, and continued the family tradition - achieving the women's world water speed record in 1984. Now, however, she has decided to sell the bear as part of a family archive of trophies, letters, books and other memorabilia that is expected to fetch up to pounds 60,000 at the London auction on 11 December. She said yesterday: "It's sad to see him go. He and my father were inseparable." She explained that after a bad accident, she "began to question just how lucky he really was" and had taken the "harsh decision" that the "time was right to sell him".