An appeal to raise £2.3 million was launched today to return the Waverley to service in 2020, ensuring that a unique piece of Britain’s maritime heritage stays alive. Among the crowds at Glasgow’s Pacific Quay were politicians, mariners, enthusiasts and the general public — all determined to show support for the famous paddle steamer.
Waverley’s 2019 season was cancelled last month, following the discovery of major problems with the ship’s 20-year old boilers. Since then, individuals have started to respond with over £100,000 already donated. The Waverley Facebook page recording over a million hits when the news broke.
Photo: A wave for the Waverley Photo Credit: Hugh Dougherty
“We’re heartened by the support so far — it’s clear that huge numbers of people around Britain and around the world want to see Waverley sail again” said Paul Semple, who heads the team which operates the ship. “But the financial challenge which faces Waverley remains very significant, and we urgently need more funds to let us place the orders and then carry out the work over the next nine months.”
The sheer scale of what is required has been likened to a kind of marine ‘open heart surgery’. The iconic red, white and black twin funnels will be lifted off, and large sections of decking removed to allow the boilers and other equipment to be lifted out. The replacements are expected to extend Waverley’s operational life by a further 20 to 25 years.
The Waverley company has taken recent weeks to make a detailed and costed plan, and now it’s all about raising the funds to make it happen. “There’s a real determination not to allow Waverley to become a static relic. She was built to sail, and that’s what so many people want to see again. Waverley’s truly unique status as the world’s last seagoing paddle steamer mustn’t be taken for granted. Not for the first time, the future of the ship hangs in the balance. Once again, it’s time to save the Waverley.”
Paddle Steamer Waverley was built for the London and North Eastern Railway and entered service on 16th June 1947 and is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.
It was gifted to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974 for £1.
Waverley has operated on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis since 1975 and is owned by a Registered Charity and since then has carried over 6 million passengers since being preserved and visits over 60 ports and piers around the U.K. offering a variety of day, afternoon and evening cruises.
Waverley has a 4-star Scottish Tourist Board Tour Award and was nominated by the Sunday Times as “Top 3 nostalgic journey in the world”.
A recent Economic Impact Survey concluded that Waverley contributes over £5.6 million to the U.K. economy an equivalent of 136 jobs per annum.
Donations to the appeal can be made online at waverleyexcursions.co.uk or by calling 0141 243 2224 or Text STEAM £20 to 70085 to donate £20.