Nine days after her triumphant arrival in South Pembrokeshire, the iconic Waverley paddle steamer has a new patron in the form of HRH Princess Anne’s husband, Sir Tim Laurence.

Sir Tim has himself enjoyed a distinguished career with the Royal Navy and is also a keen yachtsman who sails the waters of the west of Scotland every summer.

“Those who work hard to preserve and operate Waverley deserve my support as this is a unique vessel of exceptional importance,” he said.

“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”

Sir Tim recently visited Waverley where he met crew members and Trustees of the Waverley Steam Navigation Co Ltd. which took ownership of the World’s last seagoing paddle steamer after she was gifted for £1 back in 1974.

Derek Peters, Chairman of Waverley Steam Navigation Co Ltd., said “We’re honoured that Sir Tim has agreed to become Patron for Waverley and we look forward to working with him 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.”

Over the past four years in excess of £4m has been raised beyond any operating income to help carry out refurbishment and maintenance works on Waverley. The basic annual maintenance cost now exceeds £600,000.

Early this year a public appeal raised £180,000 to cover the cost of the annual dry docking ahead of her summer sailing season.

Waverley 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, Pembrokeshire and North Wales.

Such was the level of interest and demand for tickets that almost all sailings on the Bristol Channel were sold out. Waverley will now operate on the Clyde until late August before heading for the South Coast and the Thames.