THE appeal to save the historic Paddle Steamer Waverley, a regular visitor to the Purbeck coast, has raised more than £850,000.

More than 5,000 people have donated since the news broke in May that Waverley would not operate in 2019 and would miss her annual trips along the south coast and the Solent.

However, with an appeal target of £2.3 million to re-commission Waverley for service next summer further funds are urgently required.

Waverley Excursions general manager Paul Semple said: "The continued support for the Boiler Refit Appeal has been heartening, we are receiving support from across the UK with many donating who are keen to see Waverley back cruising from Swanage and Weymouth next year.

"We are delighted that the total raised so far is over £850,000 but time is tight if we are to reach our target and have Waverley back in service for next summer.

"I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated so far as this has given us the confidence to order the boilers and electrical equipment required.

"The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society has continued to support our efforts and recently made a grant of over £150,000 to the appeal.

"With so many people donating there is clearly strong support for this special ship.”