The Covid-19 Relief Appeal for Waverley has now exceeded £130,000 with donations received from her generous supporters. The appeal which opened in September must raise over £0.5m in total with a target of £350,000 from individuals. Other sources of funding are being pursued with vigour given that winter maintenance work is well underway with insufficient funds to complete it.
Waverley’s General Manager, Paul Semple, made the following statement, “I am delighted with the positive response and the support Waverley is once again receiving from so many people. The success of our Covid-19 Appeal is vital if we are to survive the winter and sail Waverley in summer 2021. The impact of Covid denied us the opportunity to sail Waverley for a full season on the Firth of Clyde and around other areas of the UK. When the ship did sail this year, passenger numbers were strictly limited to under 30% capacity resulting in a dramatic reduction in income.”
Waverley returned to service for 2 weeks in late August. During the short season, most sailings were sold out with many passengers unable to book a cruise given the reduced capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Mr Semple further added, “Waverley normally carries over 100,000 passengers annually but this season we saw less than 6,000 aboard. The ship needs to operate a full summer season to earn sufficient funds and cover costs. Waverley must be maintained to remain in operation and that maintenance comes at a high cost, this winter over £400,000 will be spent on routine works and drydocking.”
Following heavy contact with the pier at Brodick, Waverley will receive a new bow when she is dry docked next spring ahead of the 2021 season. The cost of repairs to the bow will be met by insurance and not from funds raised through the Covid-19 Relief Appeal.
As the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world, Waverley is the “Sole Survivor” but without renewed support she can’t survive the impact of Covid-19. Donations to the appeal can be made online at waverleyexcursions.co.uk or by calling 0141 243 2224 or by texting STEAM followed by £10 or £20 to 70085. Those donating online can opt to be included on the Virtual Donor Wall.