THE WAVERLEY – the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world – had to be withdrawn from service in May this year due to structural defects in her boilers.
The following month a major appeal was officially launched which aims to raise the £2.3 million required to reboiler the 72-year-old iconic vessel and return her to service in 2020. By undertaking this extensive work Waverley has a future but funds must be raised quickly to ensure she can sail again.
Her General Manager, Paul Semple, said “Thanks to the fantastic public response to our Save The Waverley Boiler Refit Appeal we have reached a key milestone in our fundraising campaign. To date over 4,000 individuals have donated with some of our core supporters giving a ‘once in a lifetime donation’ knowing that we urgently need funds to secure Waverley’s future. In addition, we have received offers of help from several organisations and companies, but we will need further help to get Waverley’s paddles turning again.”
Several fundraising events have taken place in the various towns and villages which Waverley serves. Locals and visitors from Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae showed great support to 4-year-old Ethan Pringle last weekend by donating over £1,600 when he undertook the 10-mile trip round the island in his wheelchair to collect funds for Waverley. Ethan having commented ‘The Waverley is broken. We need to fix it.’
Mr Semple added “With the new boilers already on order we must increase our efforts to secure further funding to allow our plans to progress which will see Waverley undergo major surgery commencing in January. I am exceptionally grateful to everyone who has come forward to help us Save The Waverley and with continued support she will sail again. We simply can’t allow her to remain static. She is the sole survivor and I know so many people are willing her to succeed.”
Waverley is currently berthed in Glasgow where preparation works are on-going by her engineers and loyal band of volunteers. Earlier this week the first section of deck was cut open to enable some large components in the ship’s boiler room, which are already dismantled, to be lifted free.
The Waverley was built for the London and North Eastern Railway and entered service on 16 June 1947. Since 1975, she has been owned by a registered charity and has operated on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis, carrying over 6 million passengers and visiting over 60 ports and piers around the British Isles offering a variety of day, afternoon, and evening cruises. Following a major £7 million Heritage Rebuild in 2003 the elegant vessel was fully restored to her 1940s style and nominated by the Sunday Times as a ‘Top 3 nostalgic journey in the world’.
Donations to the Boiler Refit Appeal can be made online at waverleyexcursions. co.uk or by calling 0141 243 2224 or by texting STEAM £20 TO 70085. All donations made directly to Waverley Excursions will be recorded on a Donor Wall on board Waverley.