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Campaign Puts Steam in Engine for Maid of the Loch

A crowdfunding campaign aimed at funding a new steam boiler for the UK’s last built paddle steamship, Maid of the Loch, raised over £83,000 in just six weeks.

The campaign ran from 27 October to 8 December 2017, and set out with the ambitious aim of raising £125,000 in just six weeks, to buy a new boiler (£110,000) and its equipment (£15,000) for the Maid.

The campaign also included an amnesty appeal to find parts from the paddle steamer that went missing after she was left derelict in 1981.

John Beveridge, Chair of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, the charity that looks after the Maid says that even though they did not reach the full amount that the campaign has transformed the fortunes of the Maid.

John said:We are delighted with this campaign, in terms of the money raised, the return of historically important missing part of the ship from our amnesty appeal and from the high profile it has given to the Maid across the UK and internationally. More than 400 people from around the world have given to the campaign and our amnesty brought back missing items from as far away as New Zealand. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign to help set the Maid sailing on Loch Lomond again!”

John continued:Even though we have not reached the full amount needed to buy and install a new steam boiler for the ship, £83,000 in just six weeks is a very significant sum and it allows us to progress our plans whilst we continue fundraising. We are just a few thousand short of the amount needed to pay for the boiler and this means we can confidently begin the process of meeting with the specialist manufacturers to agree the boiler specification, receive their quotes, and then make a decision on which boiler to order. Everyone who has contributed has helped us reach this significant milestone for the Maid.”

The campaign for donations and for the return of missing parts of the ship drew support from people local to Loch Lomond, across the UK and much farther afield.

The largest donation was a gift worth £25,000 from Graeme Varley who lives in Manchester. He was born in Greenock and spent his early childhood there. As a teenager in the early sixties Graeme used to sail on the Maid - as well as the Clyde steamers - and was inspired to support the campaign because of these happy memories.

The farthest and perhaps most historic donation came all the way from Calgary, in Alberta, Canada. $5,500 CAD was given by members of the Humble family in memory of author, journalist and photographer Ben Humble MBE (1903-1977), who overcame total deafness to become one of the pioneers of Mountain Rescue in Scotland. His books and countless articles covered every aspect of the Scottish outdoors, and soon after the end of World War II he shared his life long enthusiasm for the Clyde and Loch steamers with a popular series of guide books.

The amnesty appeal saw the return of the original build plate, a large brass plate with the name of the shipbuilders and date. It was dropped off to the ship the same day that made the amnesty appeal.

Another far-reaching response came from Alastair Brown, who was the first Purser to work on the Maid. Mr Brown is now in his eighties and lives in New Zealand. He heard about the appeal and has sent the original clicker used to count the people on and off of the ship. Alastair said that if he can make the trip he wants to come back to Loch Lomond, to act as purser on the first voyage after the Maid re-launched.

To donate and support the ongoing efforts to restore Maid of the Loch go to www.maidoftheloch.org. 

*Header photo shows the return of the Maid’s original builder’s plaque LLSC and Directors Anne Urquhart and Iain Robertson showing it off. 

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