Queen Mary boost welcomed by Govan housing associations

Housing associations have welcomed news of a huge donation to help keep a future Govan landmark afloat.

Queen Mary boost welcomed by Govan housing associations

Iconic Clyde steamer the TS Queen Mary is being restored in Govan but its finances were jeopardised after public tours of the vessel were halted during the lockdown.

The health crisis wiped out a vital income stream which is helping turn the famous ship into a heritage destination at Govan’s Pacific Quay.

Now The Watson Foundation – created by philanthropist and retired businessman John Watson OBE – has stepped in saying: “We won’t let Govan down.”

Govan, Elderpark and Linthouse housing associations welcomed the Foundation’s intervention and said local people will be delighted at the news.

A spokesperson for the three housing associations said: “The restoration of the TS Queen Mary is a vital component in the regeneration of Govan. Once restored it will be a dynamic addition to the Clyde after its many years of service sailing from the Broomielaw. The local community will be delighted at this important and much-welcomed development.”

Like the Foundation, the housing associations are doing their bit to help the community weather the storm of COVID-19.

Queen Mary boost welcomed by Govan housing associations

John Watson OBE

They have already distributed £100,000 in financial support to community organisations in Govan and this week will reveal the recipients of the next £100,000. The COVID-19 temporary emergency funding group received £200,000 in funding from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund.

The donation from the Foundation ensures that the charity TS Friends of Queen Mary – tasked with the restoration due to be complete in 2021 - can meet all of the ongoing costs which would normally be covered by revenue from the cancelled monthly tours.

These include berthing fees and also the “very significant cost” of insuring the vessel. 

Iain Sim, chairman of TS Friends of Queen Mary, said: “John Watson OBE has been a very generous patron of TS Queen Mary since she returned to Glasgow. I am delighted that The Watson Foundation has made this substantial gift. It is especially important since all of the charity’s capital is committed to delivering the detailed design phase of the restoration project.”

John Watson OBE said: “The restoration of this magnificent ship will bring huge benefits to the City of Glasgow and the Govan community both in terms of education and heritage. It is essential that this goal is reached and The Watson Foundation is pleased to be helping to make this happen.

“We know how important this ship is to Govan. It will be a showpiece visitor attraction once the ship is restored and that can only be good news for Govan.”

Crawford Paterson, vice chairman of TS Friends of Queen Mary, added: “The challenge which COVID-19 has presented to all charities has been monumental. We do not receive any public funding and rely entirely on donations to fund our revenue costs. The substantial reduction of that revenue due to the cancellation of our monthly tours would have had a very negative impact on our project, were it not for the quite wonderful generosity of The Watson Foundation.”

Last year it was revealed that HRH The Princess Royal had become Royal Patron of the ship.

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