Queen of the Clyde kept afloat amid coronavirus pandemic

The charity working to restore the TS Queen Mary received a 'substantial donation' amid cancelled tours.

Queen of the Clyde kept afloat amid coronavirus pandemic

An iconic Clyde steamer has been given a major cash boost to help it survive the coronavirus crisis and complete restoration work.

The TS Queen Mary, currently being restored at Glasgow’s Pacific Quay, has received a “substantial donation” to combat the financial impact of the pandemic.

Funding from the charity The Watson Foundation will replace money lost through cancelled tours of the ship which ground to a halt during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The ship was built on the Clyde in 1933 and carried famous passengers including the Queen Mother until it was retired, then returned to Scotland in 2016.

It is the last remaining turbine steamship built in Scotland.

The Watson Foundation was created by philanthropist and businessman John Watson OBE following his retirement from label-printing firm John Watson and Company.

Previous donations from foundation have included funding to restore TS Queen Mary’s teak decks and for window repairs to help bring the vessel back to her former glory.    

The donation ensures that TS Friends of Queen Mary – the charity tasked with the restoration, due to be complete in 2021 – can cover all costs for the vessel including berthing and insurance fees.

The charity’s chairman Iain Sim said: “John Watson OBE has been a very generous patron of TS Queen Mary since she returned to Glasgow.

“I am delighted that The Watson Foundation has made this substantial gift.

“It is especially important since all of the charity’s capital is committed to delivering the detailed design phase of the restoration project.”

Mr Watson said: “The restoration of this magnificent ship will bring huge benefits to the city of Glasgow and the Govan community where it is berthed both in terms of education and heritage.

“It is essential that this goal is reached and The Watson Foundation is pleased to be helping to make this happen.”  

Crawford Paterson, vice chairman of TS Friends of Queen Mary, said: “The challenge which Covid-19 has presented to all charities has been monumental.

“We do not receive any public funding and rely entirely on donations to fund our revenue costs.

“The substantial reduction of that revenue due to the cancellation of our monthly tours would have had a very negative impact on our project, were it not for the quite wonderful generosity of The Watson Foundation.”

TS Friends of Queen Mary has raised more than £3m in cash and in kind in its work to preserve and restore the famous vessel.

Last year it was revealed Princess Anne had become royal patron of the ship.

Once the work is complete, the steamer will be berthed permanently at the Glasgow Science Centre and will be connected to the SSE Hydro and SEC complexes.

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