On 29 November 2016 the charity that exists to preserve and restore the iconic Maid of the Loch as a working paddle steamer on Loch Lomond announced the appointment of a new chairman to help raise £1.7million by August 2017.
Robin Naysmith, formerly Scotland’s diplomatic representative in Washington DC and a senior civil servant in The Scottish Government, has taken over the helm of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, as it enters the next stage of a £7 million journey to get the Maid of the Loch sailing again.
Robin, who spent the latter part of his career promoting Scotland internationally, said he was delighted to be joining the charity: “Our aim is to restore Maid of the Loch as a fully operational paddle steamer with all the economic benefits that it will bring to Loch Lomond and to Scotland.
“She is a national treasure with a fascinating history and an important place in Scotland’s rich maritime history. When fully restored and operational, the Maid will be a huge visitor attraction for Loch Lomond and the surrounding area.
He added: “Having raised £1.9 million to date, the challenge for the charity now is, by fundraising nationally and internationally, to recreate an authentic 1950s cruising experience, surrounded by world class scenery on the bonnie, bonnie banks.
“Fully operational, the Maid of the Loch will create at least 25 new jobs and attract an additional 95,000 visitors a year to Loch Lomond, a significant economic bonus to local communities and businesses. This is a hugely exciting project and I hope it will appeal to friends of Scotland all over the world.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said: “I am delighted to hear that Robin Naysmith will take the helm of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company. Maid of the Loch attracts thousands of visitors every year but the works to restore her to former glory, as a fully operational paddle steamer, will mean that she’ll become an outstanding, first class attraction, drawing even more visitors to the bonnie banks.”
John Beveridge, Founder and Director of the charity, said: “This is a fantastic appointment for us, with Robin’s connections and experience of working at the highest levels in government and industry. LLSC is 20 years old this year and has the promise of £3.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, so although we need to raise £1.7 million the aim of getting the Maid sailing again on Loch Lomond is within our grasp.”