THE world’s last seagoing paddle steamer has returned to the water for the first time in almost two years – following major repairs.

Last year an urgent appeal for funding was launched after it was announced the PS Waverley, built in 1946, would not sail in 2019.

In just seven months £2.3 million was raised by more than 8,000 members of the public and £1million from the Scottish Government.

A refit of the ship’s aged boilers has now been completed and she took to the water for the first time in 22 months on Thursday.

She set off from Custom House Quay, Greenock, Inverclyde to start trials following the major ‘open-heart surgery’, which saw the paddles turning for the first time since 2018.

It’s not yet known when the iconic paddle steamer will be able to carry passengers again.

A spokesperson for Waverley Excursions said: “Given the overwhelming support for Waverley we will strive to return her to service when it is right to do so.

“A final decision on whether she can operate this season with passengers has yet to be made.

“If Waverley is returned to service this year she will only be able to operate a short programme of cruises on the Clyde.

“She is starting to look ship shape.”