Sir Tim Laurence, the husband of Princess Anne, has become a patron of the Waverley.

The iconic paddle steamer has just commenced her main summer sailings from Glasgow and around the Clyde Coast after embarking on a three-week sailing programme on the Bristol Channel and North Wales. Such was the level of interest and demand for tickets that almost all sailings on the Bristol Channel were sold out.

Read More: Kevin McKenna sails on the Waverley

Basic annual maintenance for the ship costs around £600,000, with £4m raised over the past four years for maintenance and refurbishment.

Waverley is operated on a not-for-profit basis by Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, a registered charity, and Sir Laurence has become a patron.

A former Navy captain, he recently visited the paddle steamer where he met crew members and trustees of the charity.

The Herald:

Sir Laurence said: “I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Waverley and learning what it takes to keep her sailing. Those who work hard to preserve and operate her deserve my support as Waverley is a unique vessel of exceptional importance.

"Not only does she illustrate and provide access to the engineering and maritime heritage of the Clyde and of Britain, but she provides the experience of going to sea under steam, with all the excitement, the sights, sounds and smells that involves.

"This ship is preserving heritage skills and social history as well as the fabric of the ship herself. I am very pleased to be able to help in the vital task of keeping her sailing for many years to come. She truly is a sight to behold.”

Derek Peters, Chairman of Waverley Steam Navigation Co Ltd., said “We are honoured that Sir Tim has agreed to become Patron for Waverley. We look forward to working with Sir Tim to strengthen our efforts to attract even greater support for Waverley and ensure her long-term future in operational preservation to her centenary year and beyond.”