A famous steam ship which once carried passengers including the Queen Mother and King George V is to sail again on the River Clyde.
The Princess Royal made the announcement on Friday during a visit to the TS Queen Mary, which is undergoing careful restoration in Glasgow.
Originally, it was planned for the ship to be permanently berthed at Pacific Quay, next to the Glasgow Science Centre, where the focus would have been on heritage and maritime training.
However, it has now been decided that the vessel will sail again on the Clyde – to support the post-pandemic recovery and boost tourism.
The Friends of TS Queen Mary charity, tasked with the restoration, said it has been “overwhelmed by the generosity of corporate donors and individuals”.
Chairman Iain Sim said it was “entirely fitting” for the Princess Royal to make the announcement, “given the strong family connection” the ship has “not just to her great-grandmother Queen Mary, after whom the ship is named, but to the wider family”.
He said: “When Her Royal Highness became Royal Patron of the ship three years ago to the day, it re-established that important royal link.
“TS Queen Mary also has a special place in the hearts and minds of those in Britain and beyond who recall this iconic ship and its unrivalled place in the life of the River Clyde.
“Thanks to the backing of our wonderful supporters, both individual and corporate, and those whose hard work is defining this restoration, TS Queen Mary will set sail once again.
“While TS Queen Mary’s incredible history can only be understood looking backwards, her legacy must be lived looking forward.”
It is hoped TS Queen Mary will be back in service by the summer of 2024.
Since restoration work began, the Friends of TS Queen Mary group has raised and invested £3.8 million of cash and in-kind support.
Substantial work is still needed and the ship requires new engines, among other things.
In its heyday, the vessel, built at Dumbarton in 1933, carried 13,000 passengers each week and was known as “Britain’s Finest Pleasure Steamer”.
Royal passengers included then-princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, while other famous people to step aboard included then US first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and music hall legend Sir Harry Lauder.
Robbie Coltrane, who remains patron of the charity, said: “I always dared to say that we could put engines back in her and sail her down the Clyde like she did in 1933.
“I believed it could be done, and I believed that it should be done.
“TS Queen Mary is as relevant in the 21st Century as she was almost 90 years ago.
“Now she is coming back to reclaim her throne.”
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