By Hugh Dougherty
The Loch Lomond Steamship Company has been given a grant of £122,000 from Forth Valley and Loch Lomond LEADER and Scottish Enterprise to help the charity in its final push to raise the last £1 million of the £5.5 million needed to return railway paddle steamer Maid of the Loch to sailing condition once again.
The cash will be used to buy in technical expertise for final calculations and drawings needed to get the historic paddler sailing, obtain planning permission for waiting facilities at Balloch Pier, and start drawing up tender documents for equipment procurement.
Both FVL LEADER and Scottish Enterprise have also agreed to fund a post expanding the charity’s social media presence, regarded as vital for the final funding push.
PS Maid of the Loch was the last paddle steamer built both in a Clyde shipyard and indeed Britain, and the last of a long line of Loch Lomond steamers that began about 1816. In 1950 the British Transport Commission, owner of the newly nationalised railways, made the decision to replace the Princess May and Prince Edward with a new paddle steamer, to become the largest inland waterway vessel ever in Britain.
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