Fight to save Waverley goes on

A CAMPAIGN to raise funds to save the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer, the Waverley, is receiving ever-growing support as a motion was lodged in UK parliament for Westminster’s backing.

Liberal Democrat MP Alan Reid has tabled an early day motion for the UK parliament to support the. “Campaign to save the Waverley Paddle Steamer”. It calls for the house to welcome the Waverley appeal and outlines reasons why funding is needed.

MPs who have already signed it have been made aware of the considerable economic contribution that the Waverley and her passengers make to the many towns at which she berths, particularly along the Clyde.

Reid’s motion follows one currently going through Scottish parliament by Labour MSP for the Glasgow region, Drew Smith.

“Full Steam Ahead for the Campaign to Save the Waverley” has, with cross-party support, been at the forefront of an appeal for the vessel, which is based on the Clyde.

The Waverley is a regular visitor to Girvan harbour as she tours Ailsa Craig and has many locals jump on board for the trip. One Girvan boatowner added: “The Waverley is an icon on the Firth of Clyde. Any campaign to save her is certainly welcome in my book.

“It has a long-standing association with the area and it would be very sad not to see the Waverley visit Girvan again.”

The Tory corner is being fought by Welsh Conservative leader Andrew Davies, who has written to Scottish Conservatives to raise awareness of the mounting support in his home, the Vale of Glamorgan.

Although the appeal still has some way to go, support from all the main political parties comes as a great boost at the end of the 2011 sailing season.

The newly-appointed chair- man of the Waverley’s Development Board, Charlie Gordon, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have cross-party support. The Waverley has been a pioneer in developing local tourism, and will continue to do so with the necessary funding and support. We are supported by many volunteers, and to see politicians getting involved across the country is wonderful.”

The Waverley Steam Navigation Co, a charity that owns the Waverley, has written to the councils across the UK appealing for funding. Inverclyde and North Ayrshire, have pledged £15,000, joining Glasgow City Council. n www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/supportus.htm.