By Lucy Ashton

Dame Jackie Baillie was delighted to be invited to a cruise on board the Waverley on Friday to mark the 90th anniversary of Dumbarton-built TS Queen Mary.

The TS Queen Mary was built by William Denny and Brothers in Dumbarton for Williamson-Buchanan Steamers Ltd and launched from Dumbarton in 1933.

Initially operating out of Glasgow, she sailed during the summer season for the Arran coast or the Kyles of Bute but was retired in 1977.

The vessel was relocated to London where she eventually became a hospitality venue following a £2.5 million refurbishment.

In 2012, the Friends of TS Queen Mary was formed entirely from volunteers with her returning to Scotland in 2015 following threats of being scrapped.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

A campaign by the Sunday Mail, supported by Robbie Coltrane was integral in her return to Scotland and the Friends now intend for the TS Queen Mary to operate as a skills and training cadet ship, the first of its kind in the UK, which will also be available to the public to sail on.

Four years ago, HRH The Princess Royal became Royal Patron of the ship re-establishing the vital Royal link.

Among the guests on board on Friday was Greg Hemphill who praised the efforts of Mr Coltrane to save the vessel believed to the largest steamship ever built to serve the Clyde, accommodating more than 2000 passengers.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “It was a real pleasure to mark this important anniversary of the Queen Mary. She is a vitally important part of shipbuilding history in Dumbarton.

“I thank members of the Friends of TS Queen Mary and everyone who has been involved in trying to return her to service.

“I look forward to hearing more about future plans for the vessel.”

Jackie Baillie is pictured with Iain Sim, Chairman of Friends of TS Queen Mary.

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