Amnesty appeal for lost boat parts starts to deliver
They hope people, especially those who collect shipping memorabilia, can help find or return plundered parts from the paddle steamship which was decommissioned in 1981.
The charity’s chairman, John Beveridge, said: “We hope this appeal will capture people’s hearts and imaginations, and that those who may have pieces of the ship will consider returning them – especially when they know that we are genuinely in the final stage of fundraising to sail the ship again.
“After a local appeal a few years ago, the ship’s bell was returned to us anonymously. It was in good condition and had clearly been kept by someone who wanted to protect this important piece of the Maid’s heritage.
“We know that, sadly, a lot of the material taken from the Maid when she was left derelict, like brass fittings and railings, were sold off for scrap. But the return of the bell showed us that people also took items in order to keep them safe for the future. Recently, the ship’s wheel was also returned to us anonymously.”
Mr Beveridge added: “We are so grateful to the kind people who preserved and returned the bell and the wheel – such important parts of the ship’s heritage. They will be vital to our current efforts to restore the ship and we hope this example will inspire others to take a look at their collections and consider returning any items they find from the Maid.
“We have a generous pledge of £3.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and we are currently working to raise the match funding for this. So the Maid has a genuine, oncein-a-lifetime opportunity right now to sail again, and we hope this might inspire people to help us to restore the ship both by donating and helping us to recover lost pieces of the ship.”
In 1996, the Loch Lomond Steamship Company took on responsibility for the ship and set out on a mission to fully restore her to sail again. They have launched this amnesty appeal for the return of missing items, to time with a final fundraising push that is currently underway.
Three weeks ago, the charity launched a crowdfunding campaign with a target to raise £125,000 in just six weeks, to buy and install the special steam boiler that will power the engine and thus restore the “heart” of Maid of the Loch.
To respond to the appeal for missing items and the fundraising campaign go to www.maidoftheloch.org.
The charity is keen to thank Ian Gillies – who did not take the build plate, but acted as broker to ensure its return.