Anonymous donor pledges £1 million to restoration of TS Queen Mary
Jubilant campaigners say the “astonishing gift” would “turbo-charge” their efforts to ensure the vessel will sail again.
The charity Friends of TS Queen Mary which rescued the ship – currently berthed at Pacific Quay in Glasgow and celebrating its 90th anniversary – are undertaking its restoration and aim to have it sailing once again within the next few years.
The cash windfall takes the fundraising total, made up of individual donations and corporate contributions, to £4.8 million – almost halfway to the anticipated £10 million total cost.
Iain Sim, chairman of Friends of TS Queen Mary, said: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of this individual. It delivers a massive boost to our fundraising endeavour which has caught the public mood across Britain and around the world.
“The individual who made such a substantial cash gift wishes to remain anonymous and we, of course, respect that request. But to say we are over the moon is putting it mildly.
“Our work continues to restore an iconic British ship whose proud history serving the Clyde rekindles many memories for tens of thousands of Scots and others across the world.”
The money will be used to construct new steel decks to ensure the ship complies with modern maritime safety requirements – one of the biggest structural undertakings of the ongoing work.
In its heyday TS Queen Mary carried 13,000 passengers each week and was known as “Britain’s Finest Pleasure Steamer”. Because of her strong connection to Glasgow she was affectionately known as “The Glasgow Boat.”
Four years ago, The Princess Royal became Royal Patron of the ship and on a visit to TS Queen Mary in April 2022 revealed the ship would sail once again on the Clyde. It had originally been planned to become a static heritage centre at Pacific Quay.
TS Queen Mary is the last remaining turbine steamship to be built in Scotland. Built in 1933 by shipbuilders William Denny in Dumbarton, she sailed from Glasgow to destinations such as Dunoon, Rothesay, Millport and Arran.
In 1996 when she was listed on the United Kingdom’s official historical ships register and is now the last of her kind in the world.
In the spring of 1935, at the request of Cunard White Star Line, TS Queen Mary was renamed Queen Mary II, so as to release the name Queen Mary for the liner then under construction at John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank.
During World War II TS Queen Mary carried King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
TS Queen Mary could have ended her days rusting in the English port of Tilbury but was rescued by the charity and towed back to the Clyde.
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