Waverley appeal builds up a head of steam

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PS Waverley in Campbeltown.

Two new steam boilers have been ordered for the Paddle Steamer Waverley following the decision two months ago to withdraw the iconic steamship from service.

Following the shock announcement in May that the steamer, a regular visitor to Oban, Campbeltown and the Western Isles, needed the equipment to sail again, a major appeal was officially launched to raise the required £2.3 million.

And, thanks to the initial donations, an order has been placed and a deposit paid.

Waverley Excursions general manager Paul Semple commented: ‘This is just the first vital step in returning Waverley to steam and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has donated to the appeal so far as they have allowed us to progress plans quickly.

‘The new boilers will be manufactured by Cochran Ltd at their Newbie Works in Annan for delivery early in 2020.’

Several other components in the boiler room, including electrical generators, will also be replaced as part of the major investment in Waverley to ensure that she can sail on for at least another 20 years.

The work required includes removing the ship’s famous red, white and black funnels as well as a large section of deck and will take several months to complete if funding can be secured.

Mr Semple added: ‘We will only be able to install the new boilers if we continue to receive donations and support from a variety of sources.

‘The response to the appeal so far has demonstrated that many people around the UK and beyond wish to see the last sea-going paddle steamer saved.

‘Our vision is to see a rejuvenated Waverley return next season to help celebrate the Scottish Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. However, we will require ongoing help and support to achieve that vision.’

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.