Waverley paddle steamer in ‘urgent’ cash appeal

THE team behind the Waverley paddle steamer has this lunchtime issued an “urgent” funding appeal to raise £180,000.

The cash is needed to pay the boat’s winter dry dock costs and recommission the vessel for this season’s sailings.

Waverley, which is the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer, carried more than 100,000 passengers last year as it sailed around Scotland, the south coast of England, and up the River Thames to London.

Paul Semple, Waverley’s general manager, said: “Waverley must be taken out of the water and dry docked annually before her sailing season begins.

“She is now booked to dry dock in late-March and then re-enter service in May.

“Due to increased operating costs last season we don’t have enough money to afford this year’s dry dock and the numerous other costs we incur in the weeks before Waverley starts sailing.”

He added: “Last year, our fuel costs increased by [more than] 60% or in real terms by [more than] £300,000.

“This is a cost [that] the owning charity hasn’t been able to withstand.

“We urgently need to raise funds or we simply can’t afford the start up costs for this coming summer season.”

The charity has so far raised more than £35,000 towards its £180,000 target.

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