ICONIC Clyde steamer TS Queen Mary has been given a boost to help it survive the coronavirus crisis.
The famous ship – currently being restored at Glasgow’s Pacific Quay in Govan – has received a “substantial donation” to combat the devastating effects of the health emergency.
Cash help from The Watson Foundation will replace money lost through cancelled tours of the ship, the charity “TS Friends of Queen Mary” has disclosed.
The public tours ground to a halt at the start of the lockdown – wiping out a vital income stream which helps pay for the ongoing restoration of the renowned vessel.
The Watson Foundation was created by philanthropist and businessman John Watson OBE following his retirement from the eponymous world-renowned and Glasgow-based printing dynasty John Watson and Company.
The Foundation has been an ongoing contributor to the restoration work of the ship which carried tens of thousands of Glaswegians “doon the watter” during its many years of service. Once completed, it will be permanently berthed at Govan.
Previous donations from The Watson Foundation have included funding to restore TS Queen Mary’s magnificent teak decks and for window repairs in what is a colossal restoration task to bring the ship back to her former glory.
The donation ensures that TS Friends of Queen Mary – tasked with the restoration due to be complete in 2021 – can meet ALL of the ongoing costs which would normally be covered by revenue from the cancelled monthly tours.
These include berthing fees and also the “very significant cost” of insuring the vessel.
Iain Sim, Chairman of TS Friends of Queen Mary, 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”.
John Watson OBE 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”.
Last year it was revealed that HRH The Princess Royal had become Royal Patron of the ship.