GARVEL Clyde drydock of Greenock have landed a contract to repair a unique Clyde turbine steamer.

TS Queen Mary is the last of her class in the world and was rescued from being scrapped by a charity set up to save her.

Garvel have beaten off strong competition to get the vessel shipshape so that she can be towed from her current London berth to Greenock for further repairs.

The charity, ‘Friends of TS Queen Mary’, said they received several tenders from across the UK, but Dales Marine, Greenock — the owners of Garvel Clyde — offered the best value.

Garvel will send down a team to Tilbury this month to carry out an eight-day ‘pre-tow’ repair contract to make the ship seaworthy, but no date is available yet on when the tow will start or when she will arrive back on the Clyde. 

The charity, whose patron is actor Robbie Coltrane, say they are delighted that Cunard will be donating spare furnishings and fittings from their liner Queen Mary 2, to her ‘wee sister’ for a refit.

The aim is return the steamer to a new permanent berth on the Clyde.

However, money is still being raised for the tow from Tilbury, and no Clyde permanent berth has been decided yet.

Iain Sim, secretary and a trustee of the charity, said the ship would be a floating museum and educational resource, and would also be available for functions like weddings.

Many companies, including Ferguson Marine of Port Glasgow, have given advice to the charity.

Iain said: “Companies have been very generous with free advice in our quest to bring the Queen Mary back to the Clyde.

“We raised £20,000 to buy her at auction last October, and we’ve had a total of £300,000 worth of ‘in kind’ corporate support, which shows the strength of feeling there is about this ship.”

Iain, a lecturer in commercial law, said he has a family link to shipbuilding through his grandfather, Malcolm Sim, who built radios for ships.

He said: “We want to breathe new life into the Queen Mary. I felt something had to be done to save this ship.

“The charity has built up a network of supporters who feel the Queen Mary should be brought back to the Clyde.”

The 252ft steamer was built in 1933 by Denny of Dumbarton and operated day excursions in the Firth of Clyde until 1977.

She was laid up in Greenock’s East India Harbour for four years, and later operated as a successful bar and restaurant on the Thames at London before being towed to Tilbury in 2009.

Anyone who would like to donate to the charity should visit