THE iconic paddle steamer Waverley could be returning to visit the Isle of Wight next year.

The Waverley was withdrawn from service two months ago after it was discovered it needed two new boilers costing £2.3 million.

However a fundraising appeal has raised enough money to put down a deposit for the new parts.

Waverley Excursions general manager, Paul Semple, said: "Thanks to the appeal we have put down a deposit for the two boilers.

"This is the first vital step in returning Waverley to steam and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has donated to the appeal so far as they have allowed us to progress so quickly.

"The new boilers will be built and ready for delivery early next year."

Several other components in the boiler room including electric generators will also be replaced.

The Waverley is the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer and a regular visitor to the Island for more than 40 years.

She was ordered after the Second World War by the London and North Eastern Railway to replace her namesake lost at Dunkirk, she entered service on the Firth of Clyde in 1947.

The paddle steamer later sailed under the flag Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd until 1973.

The following year she was sold for just £1 to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, which set up Waverley Steam Navigation Ltd to operate the vessel.

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