Friday, 30 April 2010

Chairman's Blog No 11 - New Chairman, New Season, Same Challenge!

New Chairman

After two years as Chairman of the Scottish Branch, Stuart Mears decided to stand down at the recent branch AGM held on Friday 16th April in Glasgow. Having been Stuart's Vice Chairman for the same period the "baton" was handed to me for the next two years. For those of you who dont know me my name is Gavin Stewart, I live in Greenock though originally hail from West Kilbride on the Ayrshire coast.

I became involved with Waverley / PSPS in 2004 when myself and my partner Shelagh began attending Work Parties on the ship during the winter. I was asked to join the branch committee in 2005 and took over the role of Exhibitions Manager in 2006 - the same year as Shelagh came onto committee. 2008 saw me join the Council of Management of the Society and become Vice Chairman of the branch. My background is in Electrical Engineering and I currently work at Howden Process Compressors in Renfrew - originally James Howden & Co who are a long established Scottish engineering company.

So there you have it - a potted history of your new Chairman! Can I take this opportunity to thank Stuart for all his efforts during the last two years and thank him for agreeing to stay on as a member of the branch commitee. I also have the pleasure of welcoming Paul Semple on board. Paul is well known in Waverley circles and will be a great asset to the branch. Stuart Cameron also rejoins us after an absence of a year as does Michael Hughan who will continue to keep us abreast of happenings with Scotland's other paddler Maid of the Loch.

So who is the Vice Chairman I hear you ask?? Well none other than "Uncle" Peter Reid - one of the original group who set the whole thing going back in 1974. No pressure there then!!

Anyway - back to the present day and our ship!

New Season

You will have seen from the previous post that our paddler is now safely docked down in Garvel Drydock, Greenock for her annual overhaul. She is expected to emerge on Monday 10th May when she will head out to the Tail O the Bank for compass adjustment before proceeding back up river to her Glasgow Science Centre berth where work will continue to ready her for the forthcoming season which starts at 7am on Friday 28th May with the annual trip to Oban for the weekend.

This season will present the same set of challenges as before - fuel continues to be a major issue and the recent steady increase in cost at the pumps equates to a similar increase for Waverley even though she doesn't (thankfully!!) run on pump fuel!! Couple this with the unpredictable climate (at least she won't be affected by volcanic ash issues) and you can see why operating the World's Only Seagoing Paddle Steamer is no walk in the park.

We can all play a part in facing this challenge - by sailing on our ships and also encouraging others to come along and share the pleasures of a relaxing day out on the river watching the world paddle past. Leave your cares ashore and collect them on your return.............

So on that note I'll sign off - below are some more excellent shots of Waverley's trip to Greenock on Wednesday taken by Gerry Deegan.

Heres to season 2010 - see you aboard!!

Gavin Stewart