MV Balmoral Update

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

MV Balmoral Update

Reproduced below is an abridged copy of a letter from MV Balmoral Fund Ltd. mailed to those who previously pledged funds.

Whilst the news is most encouraging additional funds will be required to achieve the Fund’s ultimate aims so please donate by downloading and completing the form below.

Note: If you are a UK taxpayer ensure that the Gift Aid Declaration part of the form is completed so the Fund can obtain maximum benefit from your gift. The wording of the Gift Aid Declaration refers to the year 2008 as this is used in the latest HMRC recommended form on their website. Please return the form together with your cheque to the address on the form.
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Dear Balmoral Supporter,

At long last I am delighted to be able to bring you some positive news about MV Balmoral and the steps necessary to return her to operational service.

Firstly, though, I would like to apologise that you have not received recent news about the project. Progress has been slower than hoped and many of the issues we have had to face have proved to be more complex – and more emotive – than anticipated for the very small number of actively engaged volunteers.

The Charity Commission has now granted MV Balmoral Fund Ltd. charitable status and HM Revenue & Customs has advised that donations will qualify for Gift Aid, so enabling us to reclaim 25p tax in the £ on all eligible donations.

In recent weeks, the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, and Waverley Excursions Ltd. have agreed statements in respect of Balmoral, posted on the PSPS website and reproduced with permission as an Annexe below. This sets the context in which this appeal letter is being written.

We now have a clear three-step plan to return her to service.

First, it is imperative that Balmoral is dry-docked for survey by April to establish what work needs to be done and at what cost to retain her certification. The resultant work programme needs to be agreed with her owners, Waverley Steam Navigation, and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). Failure to complete this phase by April will mean that she will lose her ‘grandfather rights’ and so will almost certainly not be operable in future. So immediate support now is vital.

Secondly and subject to satisfactory survey, we will need further fundraising to finance the compliance work that is found to be necessary and to achieve recertification by the MCA. We will have no firm figures for these until the dry docking and survey is accomplished. Although we are hoping for a generous response to our current appeal we are already drawing up plans to approach trusts, government/tourist bodies and individuals for help in meeting the further sums required.

Thirdly we will have to develop and implement arrangements for her operation on a comprehensive programme of cruises commencing in 2015. To this end, further funding will be needed to enable business start-up. Early work on these arrangements is under way and we are already confident that a viable operating plan can be developed. We envisage an extended summer season around our coasts, specifically in respect of the Bristol Channel, South Coast, Thames and North Wales/the North-West. There will be an emphasis on offering wide public access to the ship, to share the experience of coastal cruising and to encourage an appreciation of the maritime cultural, environmental and educational aspects involved, which have been vital elements in achieving charitable status for the Fund.

We have already identified options for dry-docking and, subject to a good and speedy response to this appeal letter, we intend to enter into a contract for the docking and survey to take place around the end of March.

So far, some £65,000 has been pledged which will be worth up to £81,000 to the Fund when Gift Aid is applied. That will be sufficient for the survey dry-docking and for initial expenses provided all pledges are honoured. But we already know it will not be sufficient to fund all the compliance work that will be required, hence the need for further fundraising during 2014.

To minimise administrative expenses, we hope you will agree that we would prefer not to acknowledge donations individually by post, but on behalf of the Fund may I thank you for your continued interest and support. If you require an acknowledgement, please tick the relevant box on the form and, if possible, provide an email address.

We would like to keep you informed of progress and will issue electronic updates from time to time if you provide us with your email address on the pro forma. We will also be updating our website

Finally, I am sure you will appreciate that this is a very critical time for a unique ship that is a member of the National Historic Fleet, being of “pre-eminent national or regional importance”. Balmoral will be the only large ship dedicated to cruising the English and Welsh coasts throughout the season. That is the importance of this appeal and why it is so important this venture succeeds and thereby greatly strengthens the operation of coastal excursions in England & Wales. If ever the ship and what she is capable of offering needs wholehearted support it is now.

Please help as much as you can.

Yours sincerely
Dave Bassett
Chairman, Balmoral Strategy Group
Director, MV Balmoral Fund Limited

Registered Charity [1155339] (England & Wales) Company limited by guarantee [08555385] (England & Wales)
Registered Office: Carleton House, 266-268 Stratford Road, Solihull, West Midlands B90 3AD
Directors: David Bassett; Ian Clark




Statements by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd and Waverley Excursions Limited, reproduced, with permission, from the PSPS website

PSPS and The Balmoral

Statement issued by Waverley Steam Navigation Co Limited, Waverley Excursions Limited and PSPS Waverley Steam Navigation Ltd, owner of the classic coastal motor ship Balmoral and her operator Waverley Excursions Ltd. have, together with the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, agreed to MV Balmoral Fund Limited’s request to allow work on assessing the feasibility of returning the ship to service to continue until the end of April, and to make a financial contribution. Provided MV Balmoral Fund Limited can raise sufficient funding, including from pledges already in hand, to meet the remaining cost, investigation will include preliminary dry docking. This will mean the ship can be authoritatively assessed for the work, and the cost in detail, required to renew passenger certificates. It will also give time for MV Balmoral Fund Limited to finalise a business plan and approach potential funders for support not only for the physical work necessary but for a new business start-up.

All parties recognise that if the work required or the start-up cannot be funded then a different future for the ship will have to be sought.

Waverley Steam Navigation will also use the period to assess options for the ship including establishing whether there are other parties who might be interested in taking over her operation. This does not indicate any lessening of its commitment but is merely what any prudent custodian of charitable funds would do. Balmoral means a great deal to many people and everything possible must be done to see if she can be returned to service.

23 December 2013

Message from PSPS Chairman

PSPS’ Council of Management has agreed to transfer approx. £6,000 directly to MV Balmoral Fund Ltd once it gains charitable status, in a gesture of confidence in those now running the project to restore the ship. This is possible because the money was collected specifically for the ship and does not involve funds given to support PSPS charitable objects which of course refer only to paddle steamers. Contact the Balmoral team directly to offer expertise or financial help.

Iain Dewar
11 December 2013