Waverley steams in for last year?

THE world’s last seagoing paddle steamer, the Waverley, has returned to Clevedon amid fears that 2011 may be the last year the icon will grace Britain’s shores.

A national fund-raising campaign, Save the Waverley, has been launched to raise vital funds and ensure that it will continue to sail.

A huge rise in fuel costs and three consecutive summers of bad weather has meant that a further �250,000 is needed to ensure the vessel can return for the 2012 season.

This is on top of the �100,000 raised by supporters of Waverley Steam Navigation Company, the charity that owns the paddle steamer, to pay for maintenance earlier this year.

To help with the campaign, charity members are urging people to take day trips on the steamer or by making a donation online.

From yesterday (Tues) until June 19, the Waverley will sail from Clevedon Pier across the Bristol Channel to Wales, to Minehead and the popular seaside town of Ilfracombe in Devon, and will cruise to land passengers at the magical island of Lundy.

On June 15, Waverley will be the first paddle steamer in many years to take passengers from Clevedon, Penarth and Ilfracombe to the famous North Devon village of Clovelly.

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On June 12, children can travel free and enjoy a cruise along the Welsh Heritage Coast and on June 10 an evening showboat cruise will include a live band.

To book tickets, to make a donation or for more information visit www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk or call 0845 1304647.

Prices start at �15 for adults with under 18s going for half and children under five go free.

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