Push to restore Waverley paddle steamer hits £500k milestone

The Waverley paddle steamer is undergoing restoration in Glasgow
The Waverley paddle steamer is undergoing restoration in Glasgow
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Plans to restore the world's last sea-going paddle steamer have reached a 'key milestone' - after kind supporters raised £500,000 for vital repairs.

Around £2.3 million is needed to carry out crucial work to the iconic PS Waverley, which was withdrawn from service in May following serious problems with the boilers.

Two new steam boilers have been ordered for the famous steamer, first launched in 1946, which will extend its operation life by almost 25 years.

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Since the launch of a desperate appeal in June, the Save the Waverley campaign has gathered support from across the country, with more than 4,000 people donating.

Fans of the popular excursion, which carries around 130,000 passengers a year, have held fundraising events in tourist hot spots across Scotland that Waverley serves.

The Waverley's 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.

"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."

The Waverley is berthed in Glasgow where volunteers and engineers are preparing to carry out the essential work needed to get her back in the water.

Earlier this week, the first section of deck was cut open to enable some large components in the ship's boiler room to be lifted free.

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Mr Semple said: "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."

Donations to the Waverley appeal can be made online at waverleyexcursions.co.uk.