THE fund-raising campaign to get the Maid of the Loch sailing on Loch Lomond for the first time in almost 30 years has received a further funding boost.

The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society has agreed to donate £50,000 to the cause.

The funding boost will not only take the regeneration campaign closer to its end goal of £5.5 million to restore the ship back to its former glory, but will also go towards a match-funding target to gain a significant £3.8m donation from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Currently moored at Balloch Pier as a static tourist attraction, a group of dedicated volunteers from the Loch Lomond Steamship Company charity have worked tirelessly since 1996 to transform and restore the ship, with the aim of bringing her ‘back to life’ and fully operational once again.

The PSPS support follows recent backing from the Scottish Government, and comes at a critical time with the HLF match-funding deadline fast approaching.

John Beveridge, chairman of the charity that owns the Maid, said: “The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society has supported us from the beginning, and to now give us £50,000 shows the faith they have in us to get the Maid sailing once again.

"Their support takes us yet another step closer to our goal, and it is a huge boost to have the country’s leading preservation organisation demonstrating this commitment. We are most grateful, and look forward, with confidence, to the Maid’s first sail."

Paul Semple, national chairman of the PSPS, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the PSPS is able to offer this level of support to help ensure that the Maid of the Loch returns to service.

"I look forward to joining the historic steamer for a sail on Loch Lomond in the near future and I am sure that a fully restored paddle steamer will become a very popular attraction with locals and visitors alike.

“I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the stunning Scottish scenery along the bonnie banks than from the decks of a Clyde built steam ship.

"I urge other organisations and individuals to back this project and ensure that future generations can enjoy a great example of 20th century Scottish engineering.”

The Maid currently operates as a tourist attraction, with a tearoom, children’s quizzes and teddy trail.

Donations to return the Maid back to sail can be made through their dedicated website,, with the aim of offering cruises from Easter to October, and being open for events and function hire the rest of the year.

Built at the Glasgow yard of A. & J. Inglis, the Maid – the last paddle steamer to be built in Britain – was deconstructed and taken by road to Balloch before being reassembled and launched on Loch Lomond in 1953.

The paddler last sailed on the loch in 1981.