Appeal to raise £450k launched to save MV Balmoral's future
PUBLISHED: 16:00 27 November 2017
The owner of an historic cruise ship needs to raise £450,000 in just two months to allow it to run next year.
Due to poor weather and technical difficulties the MV Balmoral, which regularly stops at Clevedon Pier and Portishead Marina, carried out just 55 of its 116 scheduled sailings this year, leaving the MV Balmoral Trust with a financial deficit whch could put the ship out of operation.
The ship, which is now dry docked in Bristol, started its summer season with bookings up almost 40 per cent on 2016, but cancelled trips due to engine failure and a rope becoming entangled in a propellor have caused ‘serious doubts’ over the vessel’s future.
MORE: Clevedon and Portishead sailings cancelled
In a letter sent to more than 12,000 supporters, the trustees said: “Despite the huge popularity and increased passenger numbers when she did operate, we have a very large deficit and serious doubts about continuing coastal excursions without financial support – and we need that support urgently.
“We need to raise £450,000 and have no more than eight weeks in which to secure Balmoral’s future for a further season.
“After that time it could be impossible to book harbours, connections and her annual survey.
“We need funds to settle outstanding accounts from the 2017 season, pay for routine maintenance and to dry dock and prepare the ship for 2018.
“This seems a huge amount. It is, but the response to appeals in the past has been superb and we are making economies and the best use of our volunteers.
“If we are unable to reach our target in the time needed, donations will be used to continue with planned maintenance, preserve and maintain the ship in operating condition in Bristol and settle any remaining accounts with our suppliers on whom we depend to keep Balmoral sailing.
“Then as soon as funds permit, she will be back in service.”
The trust is also in discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund over a long-term funding solution.
A provisional timetable has already been drawn up for 2018, which will see it visit the Bristol Channel from May 25 to June 10 and September 27 to October 1 if enough money is raised.