The appeal to save the historic Paddle Steamer Waverley and ensure that she returns to visit the Isle of Wight next season has seen a recent increase in donations with the total raised so far exceeding £850,000.
Over 5,000 people have donated since the news broke in May that Waverley would not operate in 2019 and would miss her annual trips on the Solent.
The Waverley Inn at Carisbrooke has been championing the famous ship’s cause and held a fundraising day on Saturday 7th September. However, with an appeal target of £2.3million to re-commission Waverley for service next summer further funds are urgently required.
Paul Semple, Waverley Excursions General Manager, has said:
“The continued support for the Boiler Refit Appeal has been heartening, we are receiving support from across the UK with many on the Isle of Wight donating who are keen to see Waverley back cruising the south coast next September.
“We are delighted that the total raised so far is over £850,000 but time is tight if we are to reach our target and have Waverley back in service for next summer.
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated so far as this has given us the confidence to order the boilers and electrical equipment required. The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society has continued to support our efforts and recently made a grant of over £150,000 to the appeal. With so many people donating there is clearly strong support for this special ship.”
Work is progressing on board Waverley with volunteers assisting in the task of removing components from the boiler room following the decision to withdraw the ship from service and fit new boilers. If further funds can be secured the work to recommission the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world will begin in earnest in January.
Mr Semple commented further:
“All involved with this project are totally focused on the fact that Waverley must sail again and can’t remain static. Our aim is to keep Waverley alive, but to achieve that aim we will need further support.”
The charity which owns Waverley has applied for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a decision expected by November. Donations can be made to the appeal at waverleyexcursions.co.uk, by calling 0141 243 2224 or by texting STEAM £20 to 70085.