HISTORIC Clyde steamer TS Queen Mary has been given a boost to help it survive the coronavirus crisis.

The famous ship – currently being restored at Glasgow’s Pacific Quay in Govan - has received a “substantial donation” to combat the devastating effects of the health emergency.

Friends of TS Queen Mary said the charity has lost vital funds through cancelled tours of the ship.

But now a cash injection from The Watson Foundation will replace this money.

Iain Sim, chairman of Friends of TS Queen Mary, said: “John Watson OBE has been a very generous patron of TS Queen Mary since she returned to Glasgow.

"I am delighted that The Watson Foundation has made this substantial gift.

"It is especially important since all of the charity’s capital is committed to delivering the detailed design phase of the restoration project."

Public tours ground to a halt at the start of the lockdown - wiping out a vital income stream that helps pay for the ongoing restoration of the renowned vessel.

The Watson Foundation was created by philanthropist and businessman John Watson OBE following his retirement from Glasgow-based printing dynasty John Watson and Company.

The Foundation has been an ongoing contributor to the restoration work of the ship, which carried tens of thousands of Glaswegians “doon the watter” during its many years of service.

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Once completed, it will be permanently berthed at Govan.

John Watson said: “The restoration of this magnificent ship will bring huge benefits to the city of Glasgow and the Govan community where it is berthed both in terms of education and heritage.

"It is essential that this goal is reached and The Watson Foundation is pleased to be helping to make this happen."

Previous donations from The Watson Foundation have included funding to restore TS Queen Mary’s teak decks and for window repairs in what is a huge restoration task to bring the ship back to her former glory.

The donation ensures that Friends of TS Queen Mary – tasked with the restoration due to be complete in 2021 - can meet all of the ongoing costs normally be covered by revenue from the cancelled monthly tours.

These include berthing fees and also the significant cost of insuring the vessel.

Crawford Paterson, vice chairman of Friends of TS Queen Mary, added: “The challenge which covid-19 has presented to all charities has been monumental.

"We do not receive any public funding and rely entirely on donations to fund our revenue costs.

"The substantial reduction of that revenue due to the cancellation of our monthly tours would have had a very negative impact on our project, were it not for the quite wonderful generosity of The Watson Foundation."

Last year it was revealed that HRH The Princess Royal had become Royal Patron of the ship.