Dr Joe McKendrick – A Tribute

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

Dr Joe McKendrick – A Tribute

It was a sombre Waverley which lay at Ayr Harbour on the morning of Tuesday 21th August with her red ensign at half mast. After a very heavy downpour Waverley left Ayr at 10am with three long blasts given as she started her last scheduled Ayr to Long Goil cruise for summer 2012. Shortly after Waverley had cleared the harbour Captain Clark made a special welcome to those on board and explained why the red ensign was at half mast.

On arrival at Brodick a wreath made at Eleanor’s Flowers, Brodick was taken aboard and lay in the wheel-house until arrival at Blairmore pier at 1540. By Largs the weather had improved and a good crowd joined her for her afternoon cruise to Dunoon, Blairmore and the lochs.

Waverley returns to Blairmore where a short ceremony took place as a tribute to Dr Joe McKendrick

Since Joe’s funeral began at 3.30pm in Clydebank Waverley’s crew were unable to attend and so a short ceremony took place at Blairmore pier. Captain Clark was joined by Iain Quinn in saying a few words. Waverley’s officers and crew joined Captain Clark on the pier along with regular passengers and pier staff to share thoughts and a moment of reflection for the life of a much respected friend.

Captain Clark started the short tribute before handing over to Iain Quinn. 

Joe was a director of Waverley Steam Navigation Company for over 30 years as well as being a director of Waverley Excursions Ltd. His contribution to the Waverley companies can never be fully stated and very few will ever know how much he did to help ensure Waverley and Balmoral continue to sail. Joe died following a short period of illness and his death came as a shock to all who knew him. He was a very private man but his passion for Waverley was visible to all. Joe’s other passion in life had been teaching in Jordanhill School which he did for 35 years before retiring. He taught chemistry but was also Principal Teacher of Guidance. His funeral was very well attended by many former colleagues as well as many of Waverley’s regular passengers. It was Joe’s love for Clyde steamers that got him involved with Waverley in the early 80’s. Indeed Joe held the position of shop manager for over 30 years ensuring that the souvenir shops on both Waverley and Balmoral produced a tidy profit each season.

Joe was also Vice Chairman of Waverley Excursions, Waverley Steam Navigation Co Ltd shareholder, Kingswear Castle Trustee, Former Chairman of PSPS Scottish Branch and a Past President of the Clyde River Steamer Club. He was a prime mover of Blairmore Pier Trust, its first Chairman and only Trustee to run the 8 year course for its second life. He and fellow Trustees have given us a legacy for all to enjoy and a tangible link to Waverley’s maiden voyage in June 1947.

For a few minutes those at Blairmore, on Waverley and Clydebank gathered to show their final respect to a man who done so much for others. Indeed we have all lost a great friend and one of the greatest supporters Waverley will ever know.

Waverley having just arrived at Blairmore, both flags on the pier and at the stern can be seen at half mast.
The wreath was left at Blairmore pier and cast into the water after Waverley departed.

P Semple

All pictures provided by Roy Paterson