CAMPAIGNERS have launched a fundraiser to keep the world's last seagoing paddle steamer afloat.

As reported, the Waverley will not operate any of her sailing programme as she has been withdrawn from service.

Work on the ship has been ongoing since February and operators have now announced that following an “extensive” consultation and investigation, the boilers must be replaced if the Waverley is to have a future.

It is understood that some £2m is needed to repair the problems.

Paul Semple, general manager of Waverley Excursions, said engineers have been forced to admit defeat due to the complexity of the ship's problems.

"We are all deeply disappointed," he said.

"I know it will be a huge disappointment for the tens of thousands of passengers who would have sailed with us this year, but we have to replace the boilers if we are to give the ship a future.

"Raising the money will be challenging, but I'm hopeful we'll be able to do it.

"Waverley is an iconic vessel with a strong customer base around the UK.

"If every passenger donated the cost of a ticket price, we could have her back in service next year.

"We can't let her go."

Serina Annie Anderson's late father Alan Rogers was a regular aboard the steamer before he died in 2017. Serina, who lives in Dorchester, said: "My dad was a lifelong steam fanatic.

"It would break my heart if she was dry docked."

The Waverley made her first maiden voyage in June 1947. In 1974, she was sold to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for £1 and the Waverley Steam Navigation Co charity was set up to operate her.

She is usually based in Scotland but tours, the UK. Last September, she visited Swanage Pier, taking in The Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Dockyard and the Jurassic Coast.

A recent economic impact survey said the Waverley contributes over £5.6m to the UK economy and the equivalent of 136 jobs per year.

To contribute to the appeal visit