Unique Property Bulletin’s Charity Appeal To Assist

TS Queen Mary

TS Queen Mary on the Thames

TS Queen Mary At The Thames Victoria Embankment Under Ownership of Bass PLC

You may not be aware, but you and other reader’s of the Unique Property Bulletin, and certainly the subscribers of this website have been actively engaged in the acquisition and preservation of a classic ship, the TS Queen Mary.

News and updates will be added in the second half of this webpage after the asterisks*** as events unfold in the next, exciting, weeks and months.

However, in this first part, we are respectfully seeking donations from Bulletin readers to go directly to the TS Queen Mary charity for towage from Tilbury docks (on the River Thames) half way around Britain and back to the Clyde where she was built.

Just a fiver or tenner will help a lot. Please…

Click Here

…to view the charity’s donation page information.

Whether £5, or £25.

Perhaps £50 or £500. Whatever the amount, please can you consider chipping in? Thank you.

FOTSQM Fundraiser

TS Queen Mary – To Be Towed From The Thames at Tilbury To The Clyde, Glasgow

PROGRESS OF THE TOWAGE FUNDRAISER CAN BE SEEN BY CLICKING: HERE

The involvement of Unique Property Bulletin and it’s readers/subscribers has, so far, been low key. However, we are now looking to increase efforts to help the TS Queen Mary charity.

We’ve already been delighted to have supported the successful fundraiser to purchase the TS Queen Mary by the Friends of TS Queen Mary charity.

Plus helping to lift and extinguish the Prohibition Notice from the previous owner’s time (here) and make the vessel ready for tow.

With the latest chapter of this iconic old ship, we are hoping that the Unique Property Bulletin readers, subscribers and owners will assist in this latest fundraiser to tow the TS Queen Mary

FOTSQM TS Queen Mary - Approaching Tower Bridge Photo By Richard Lane

An Iconic Ship Through An Iconic Bridge – The Earlier Tow From Victoria Embankment To Tilbury

Photo Courtesy of Richard Lane

TS-Queen-Mary-Photo-Ben-Mann

Safely Past Tower Bridge

TS Queen Mary – An Earlier Tow From Victoria Embankment to Tilbury

Photo Courtesy of Ben Mann 

The Next Tow for TS Queen Mary

…from London, back home to the place where she was built in March 1933, and where her new role as a static refurbished piece of Clydeside maritime history awaits…

FOTSQM Destination1

TS Queen Mary – Final Destination – The Clyde

For now, please can you consider donating £5

of even a fifty spot to the cause?

Please Click Here To View TS Queen Mary Donation Page

Larger Donations Are VERY welcome.

We can make a direct introduction to the charity trustees – via: Here

Main Charity Website – Here

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To find the official webpage just Google the acronym based on the initial letters charity:

Friends Of TS Queen Mary

FOTSQM

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News, Background & Updates Added Regularly…

‘After the asterisks’

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TS Queen Mary – Background

FOTSQM TS Queen Mary - Photo By degahk

TS Queen Mary  – Sailing From Dunoon With Many Years of Fine Service

Back in 2011, I received a telephone call from a lawyer called Iain Sim. For the record, I love calls from lawyers; contrary to first impressions a reader might have of such contact, they are usually good news not bad. It generally means a settlement cheque is on it’s way from a unique property property adventure. But this call was different, and neither Iain nor I could have envisaged what would come to pass.

Iain was seeking information about the best way to rescue a classic ship; to restore the vessel and all stops between the two points. A very pleasant hour’s conversation ensued about the TS Queen Mary, which at that time had just evaded the ignominious end via oxy-acetylene scrapyard torch. A huge personal thanks to Mr Gordon Stewart of the Paddle Steamer Info website (here). It was Gordon who suggested Iain and I have a long chat about the TS Queen Mary. Iain had an unfathomable belief that folk from the Unique Property Bulletin Ltd/Argyll Group plc end of things could assist. More to do with accidental adventures and good fortune in our purchasing a Denny ship some years earlier. That of course was MV Southsea and the experience was informative to the TS Queen Mary rescue and restoration enigma that was fast unfolding. The TS Queen Mary being a Denny built vessel too.

FOTSQM MV Southsea

MV Southsea – Effectively A Trial Run On How To Rescue A Ship For Preservation

In 1998, I made a promise to the Southsea Preservation Society that the MV Southsea would be saved from imminent scrapping and that promise was kept. The MV Southsea lasted for several more years. The MV Southsea Preservation Society had the subsequent grace to own, and work in rescuing that ship. The MV Southsea gave a great deal in pleasure, knowledge, and education. It is a strange dint of fate that the MV Southsea has a direct impact upon the rescuing of fellow Denny-built ship the TS Queen Mary. For without the earlier groundwork, the understanding of how complex such a task can be, we would never have learnt how best to address this more recent task. I firmly believe that were it not for the MV Southsea experience, the TS Queen Mary enterprise would have failed. As of October 2015 we now know that 4 years of hard work and exquisitely detailed preparation by fellow trustees Iain Sim, Calum Bruce, and new trustees Aidan O’Donnell and Ronnie Keir [page 28] along with a huge amount of good will from the Friends of TS Queen Mary [FOTSQM] charity supporters such as Jim McColl and patron Robbie Coltrane has resulted in the charity having the amazing opportunity to take safe custody of TS Queen Mary and restore her for future generations to visit, study and enjoy.

FOTSQM TS Queen Mary - Photo Ian Murray Collection

TS Queen Mary  – A Beautiful Ship. Few of This Vintage Are Left To Restore

Photo Attribution: The Ian Murray Collection

Based on the earlier MV Southsea experience, in November 2011 recommendations for Iain Sim were:-

1] Form a registered charity for acquisition and preservation of the TS Queen Mary. 

2] Assemble the best group of maritime professionals possible to take the project forward.

3] Locate charity trustees with sufficient maritime experience and qualifications to acquire and restore the ship, along with a charismatic, ship and engine loving patron to helm the fundraising dynamic required to secure the future of TS Queen Mary

4] Of critical importance, locate somewhere for the TS Queen Mary to berth. I can guarantee that it was the lack of suitable wharfage that ended the chances for MV Southsea. For I was the one who answered the telephone in the Harbourmaster’s Office in Argyll when a fellow Harbourmaster from Swansea was “looking for a guy called McLean” to help him find a way to have MV Southsea vacate one of his quay sides. Sadly there were no suitable berths in Argyll available for MV Southsea. I tried. For the love of the old girl I really did. But that is a whole other story.

5] Sort out a website and social media. In the modern age this is an incredibly important element in any project such as preserving the TS Queen Mary.

6] Engage in a dialogue with the current private owner of TS Queen Mary to let him know that there was a backup charity in place in case he encountered problems with his commercial enterprise for the ship.

Iain Sim is a qualified lawyer so already has a focus for forensic detail and a keen mind to tackle projects like TS Queen Mary. He certainly applied that to the above list – and with great heart and enthusiasm for good measure. From a personal perspective I think Iain should be elevated to a Q.C. or Advocate position as a mark of respect for his efforts. Plus an honourary doctorate. Iain has worked tirelessly pro bono for five years to put the safety net and preparation in place to rescue TS Queen Mary – in terms of 1 to 6 above and much more besides. Iain has gone above and beyond with all efforts – along with sterling work from fellow trustees Calum Bryce, Mark Yeomans and the new FOTSQM trustees (here).

Between 2011 and 2016 there has been steady, solid and inexorable progress…

FOTSQM Queen Mary saved

Milestone: At 15.30 on 21st October 2015 The Friends of TS Queen Mary Charity Purchased The Ship

Next Step – Prepare For Tow

Then Fundraise For The Long Voyage Home

In the long journey to this point, the growing group of supporters, industry professionals, donors and well-wishers have, through thick and thin, helped ensure that this genuinely iconic ship has been saved and now has a future. Updates on the 2011 plan sees many of the required boxes having been ticked during the years leading up to present day – 30th March 2016… 

1] The registered charity was born after a wonderfully enjoyable 6 hour meet-up between Calum Bryce, Iain Sim and myself at the RRS Discovery museum (here) in Dundee. After preparing and adopting the FOTSQM constitution, along with the charity registration paperwork all of these documents were submitted to the Office of the Scottish Charity Reglator (here) which is right next door to the RRS Discovery Museum. After some further fine tuning, the new Friends of TS Queen Mary documentation was accepted and registered as a fully fledged charity by the OSCR.

2] Iain and Calum have made a first rate job assembling a team for the charity and also surpassed hopes on so many levels. Including the persuasion of Robbie Coltrane to come aboard as the patron. Robbie says that being asked to become the TS Queen Mary charity patron was a “10 second conversation” and much delight all around when he said “yes” (here). In addition there are a significant group of friends of the charity ready, willing and professionally able to tackle all logistic aspects required to lift the previous (2011-2015) owner’s Prohibition Notice (here) through to mobilisation, towage, drydock, repairs, fundraising and eventual museum berth for TS Queen Mary in the medium term as a static exhibit.

3] The founding trustees at Friends of TS Queen Mary were Iain Sim, Calum Bryce and Russ McLean. Unfortunately, due to worsening disability, Russ McLean (here) had to retire as a trustee. Fortunately CalMac skipper Mark Yeomans (heredid the honours and took over Russ’ place. The trustees for FOTSQM have been added to over time, and the current list can be seen here.

4] Tireless work by Iain, Calum, Mark and the rest of the growing FOTSQM team has led to the likelihood of a permanent berth on the horizon (here). There is a lot of negotiation and work in process. After many discussions, it is reasonable to say that there are sufficient berths and also drydock facilities in place as of October 2015 to secure the long term future of TS Queen Mary.

5] Russ managed to create a basic website, including the adoption the SOS/CQD style of word/acronym “FOTSQM” to help ensure folk could find the charity’s internet site via an empirical “FOTSQM” search on Google. If you try and locate it via an ordinary “Queen Mary” Google search it soon becomes apparent there are hundreds of Queen Mary institutions – ranging from hospitals to universities and road names etc. “FOTSQM” is an odd word, but that is how the internet works in helping search engines become laser accurate. Enter the FOTSQM acronym into your web search and it will get you straight to the charity website. Fortunately Mark Yeomans was able to continue the work on the website and polish it to the current presentation here well as adding social media accounts for Twitter (here) and Facebook (here).

FOTSQM TS Queen Mary photo by Andrew Mackinnon

TS Queen Mary Gave First Rate Static Service on The Thames But Now Time To Come Home

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Mackinnon

As to engaging in a dialogue with the previous private owner of TS Queen Mary. All I know is that many hours were spent on the telephone to Ranj, but ultimately to no avail. Ranj deserves credit for ensuring the ship wasn’t scrapped in 2012. The result is that the charity now takes the vessel forwards to her next stage in a remarkable journey that commenced precisely 73 years ago to this day – 30th March 2016.

T

TS Queen Mary – Sailing Home Soon – With A Little Help From Her Friends

In conclusion, the foundations and collegiate effort to have TS Queen Mary safe, secure and moving towards a FULL and PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE exhibit, owned in trust by a registered charity has now reached a material milestone. She is now owned by the registered charity: Friends of TS Queen Mary. There has already been significant work carried out to ensure the lifting of the Prohibition Notice. The vessel has qualified naval officers and maritime industry professionals ensuring she is made ready for the long tow home. Work in progress include issues such as Load Line Exemption certification, and a long list of preparation measures for towage in Spring 2016 – after the winter weather. It is a very long tow half way around Britain back to the Clyde.

Then, in essence, the real work begins: to fundraise more; to start the process of drydock and renovation (already in hand) and a plethora of other issues.

Best wishes for the future of this ship, and please consider donating to the TS Queen Mary charity

Click Here

Sincerely,

Russ McLean

 

Donny Woodrow and Russ McLean with Jim McPhee

Donny Woodrow (left); Russ McLean (middle); Jim McPhee (right)