The appeal to save the Paddle Steamer Waverley is approaching £1million in funds raised.

More than five thousand people have donated since the news broke in May that Waverley would not operate in 2019 and would miss her annual trips from Ilfracombe, Clevedon and Minehead.

So far, more than £850k has been raised but the appeal target is £2.3 million to recommission Waverley for service next summer so further funds are urgently needed.

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 operating on the Bristol Channel 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."

Work is progressing on board Waverley at her berth in Glasgow with volunteers assisting in the task of removing components from the boiler room following the decision to withdraw the ship from service and fit new boilers. If further funds can be secured the work to recommission the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world will begin in earnest in January.

Mr Semple said: "All involved with this project are totally focused on the fact that Waverley must sail again and can't remain static. Our aim is to keep Waverley alive, but to achieve that aim we will need further support."

The charity which owns Waverley has applied for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a decision expected by November.

Donations can be made to the appeal here or by calling 0141 243 2224 or by texting 'STEAM £20', for example, to 70085.