Today an amnesty appeal is being launched asking the public - especially people who collect shipping memorabilia - to help find parts from the paddle steamship Maid of the Loch that went missing after she was decommissioned in 1981.
The Maid is the UK’s last built paddle steamship and millions of people enjoyed sailing on Loch Lomond on the Maid between 1953 and 1981. But after the ship was decommissioned, for 15 years the Maid was left derelict on the shore of Loch Lomond and was subject to constant plundering - some of her most valuable assets were stripped.
In 1996 the charity the Loch Lomond Steamship Company took on responsibility for the ship and set out on a mission to fully restore her to sail on Loch Lomond again. They have launched this amnesty appeal for the return of missing items, to time with a final fundraising push that is currently underway.
The charity’s Chair, John Beveridge explains their aims. “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.”
“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 £3.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and we are currently working to raise the match funding for this. So the Maid has a genuine, once-in-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.”
Three weeks ago the Loch Lomond Steamship Company 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. In the film TV and film star Bill Paterson joins forces with Celtic Music legends Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain to tell the story of Maid of the Loch and the mission to see her sail again on the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.
To respond to the appeal for missing items send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Media contact Anna Marriott email@example.com or 075252 422 308