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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 June, 2003, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Steamer returns to the Clyde
The Waverley
The Waverley retraced her maiden voyage
The world's last sea-going paddle steamer, the Waverley, has returned to the River Clyde after a major restoration.

Tourism minister Frank McAveety relaunched the historic vessel, which is one of the Clyde's most famous icons.

The steamer returned to its Clyde berth following a 7m refit, with almost 6m of the cash coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Waverley returned to service after a champagne reception with music from pipe bands at Anderston Quay, Glasgow.

Packed full of tourists and local people, she set off to retrace the route of her maiden voyage, calling at Helensburgh and Greenock.

Mr McAveety said: "It was a fantastic day and the Waverley looks tremendous.

"The upgrade has retained her character and she's a great-looking paddle steamer."

It was a fantastic day and the Waverley looks tremendous
Frank McAveety,
Tourism minister

The restoration was aimed at bringing the Waverley up to a condition which will guarantee another 50 years of service on the river.

It is hoped the return of the ship will help preserve and enhance Scotland's engineering heritage for future generations as well as attracting admirers from around the world.

Well known for her distinctive red, white and black funnels, the Waverley is a popular sight on the Firth of Clyde.

However, she has also sailed on the River Thames, the Bristol Channel and round the south coast of England.

She was built to work on the River Clyde and its wide estuary and launched in 1947 at the former Inglis yard on the Clyde.

In 1974 she was bought by enthusiasts from the Paddle Streamer Preservation Society for just 1 from owners Caledonian MacBrayne.

BBC Scotland's Christine McCormack
"She's been out of action for nine months"

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