Maid of The Loch Welcomes Visit by Moderator
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Dr Russell Barr, and his wife Margaret, are to visit the Loch Lomond paddle-steamer, Maid of the Loch, as part of regular 10-year official church and community visits within the Presbytery, on Wednesday 29 March 2017.
Robin Naysmith, Chairman of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, the charity that owns the Maid, said: “We are delighted to welcome The Moderator and his wife as part of their visits to the Presbytery of Dumbarton. Our £5.5 million plan to return the Maid of the Loch to steam operation is the biggest project of its kind in the area. An operational Maid of the Loch will bring new jobs to Dumbarton, help stimulate the local economy, and provide visitors with a unique new way to experience the outstanding beauty of Loch Lomond”.
The Right Reverend Dr Barr and his party will arrive at the Maid around 12.15pm, when a tour of the steamship and an opportunity to meet some of the Maid’s volunteers is planned.
The Right Reverend Dr Barr said: “In preserving the Maid of the Loch and its unique place in Scotland’s proud maritime history, the charity has done a remarkable service to the local community and the nation. It would be wonderful to see her sailing again and for people to experience the real beauty of Loch Lomond from the decks of such an historic steamship”.
The Maid will open to the public again, on Good Friday, 14 April, when the Balloch Steam Slipway will also be ‘in steam’. Volunteers are currently hard at work preparing for the opening over the Easter weekend. Admission to the Maid and to the winchhouse are free.
Maid of the Loch has successfully completed Phase 1 of the Heritage Lottery Fund project, worth £260,000, which involved the employment of seven separate professional consultancies. With all those reports complete and positive the push is now on to raise funds for the ship’s refit. HLF have promised a further £3.8 million if the charity can raise the other £1.7 million. Information on how to support the Maid can be found at www.maidoftheloch.org
The Right Reverend Dr Russell Barr and LLSC Chairman, Robin Naysmith, will be available for photographs on the Maid of the Loch at approximately 12.15pm
Maid of the Loch has been owned by a charity, the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, since 1996. All of its Directors and volunteers give their time free.
The Maid was built in 1953 in Glasgow, disassembled, taken to Balloch by rail, rebuilt on the bonnie banks, and launched on 5th March. She was withdrawn from service in 1981, suffered neglect and vandalism until rescued by LLSC. Since 2000, she has been open as a visitor attraction at Balloch Pier.
In August 2015, an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Maid to steam operation was successful. Details on www.maidoftheloch.org
Full details about the Church of Scotland and The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland: www.churchofscotland.org.uk