Appeal to keep Waverley afloat

02 Nov 2009

by Vivienne Nicoll, Evening Times

A public appeal is to be launched to raise £100,000 for vital repairs to the Waverley paddle steamer.

The Clyde-built vessel, which started work 62 years ago, has been taking families "doon the watter" from Glasgow for generations.

In 2003, a re-build was completed but the Waverley, the world's last sea-going paddle steamer, is again showing signs of wear.

David Rodger, chairman of Waverley Excursions, the firm which operates the historic vessel, said she would be back in business at the start of the new season in May.

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But work needs to be done to the Waverley's boiler.

Mr Rodger said: "Last year, like everyone else in the tourism business in the UK, we had the wettest weather for 50 years. On top of that, like people who had to fill their cars, we had the problem of expensive oil - but we had to fill a ship.

"This year, it is 99.9% certain we will be sending out an appeal for additional funds."

Mr Rodger said ticket prices provided enough cash to cover the ship's day-to-day running but around £100,000 was needed for renovation work.

In an average year, around 80,000 people enjoy trips on the paddle steamer, which has been owned and operated on behalf of the charity the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society since 1975.

Glasgow MSP Sandra White has already tried to help the organisation raise funds.

She has written to Enterprise Minister Jim Mather, asking if he will agree to meet the organisation behind the Waverley with a view to putting forward a package.

Ms White said: "It will not necessarily be a financial package but the Scottish Government can speak to Visit Scotland and other agencies.

"Glasgow is the only local authority in the west of Scotland to provide funding for the vessel and other councils should be thinking of doing the same thing.

"It is really important that the Waverley remains sailing because it is an icon not only in Glasgow but in Scotland as well.

"We cannot afford to lose it."

Anyone who wants to contribute to the work can do so at Waverley Steam Navigation, Waverley Terminus, Anderston Quay, Cowcaddens, Glasgow.

  • Waverley paddle steemer moored at Pacific Quay