A CONFERENCE will be held on Friday to mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the QE2 which was built in Clydebank.

The historic Cunard vessel, which became the most famous ship in the world, was launched by the Queen on September 20, 1967.

During a career spanning almost 40 years she completed 1419 voyages, sailed more nautical miles than any other ship, carried almost 2.5million passengers, crossed the Atlantic 812 times and sailed round the world 25 times.

Since 2008, the QE2 has been berthed in Dubai where there are plans to convert her into a luxury hotel.

The conference in Clydebank Town Hall has been organised by the QE2 Story Forum, an online group dedicated to keeping the story of the great ship alive.

It will features talks by speakers who worked on board as well as others passionate about the vessel.

Rob Lightbody, who established the trust, said: “Although it is almost 10 years since QE2 left these shores for a new life in Dubai, the interest in and passion for all things QE2 continues to make this ship one of the most beloved ever to be built.

“This milestone anniversary is a unique opportunity to gather and celebrate a maritime legend as well as to remember the Clyde shipbuilding past and its place in the world.”

During her service, the QE2 became known worldwide as a symbol of the enduring excellence of Scottish engineering.

At more than 70,000 tons and 963 feet long with a top speed of 32.5 knots she is also one of the fastest and grandest passenger vessels ever built.

John Brown Shipyard won the contract in December 1964 and in May 1969 she had her official maiden voyage to New York.

In May 1982 she was requisitioned for the Falklands War as a troop ship and set sail for St Georgia with 3000 troops on board.

During her career the QE2 sailed almost 5.9m nautical miles - more than any other ship.

Thousands watched and the town celebrated as the QE2 - the last of the great Clyde-built liners - was launched from the John Brown shipyard.

It was the type of occasion once commonplace in Clydebank - royal visitors cracking champagne against a vessel's hull and proud workers throwing their caps in the air as she slid down the slipway.

But when the great trans-atlantic liner entered the waters of the Clyde in 1967, it was an era of industrial strife and many watching knew they would never see her like again.

It was not quite the final flourish of the John Brown yard - but it was certainly its last great hurrah.