John Beveridge awarded MBE in King’s Birthday Honours

John Beveridge MBE — an award that recognises his unrelenting efforts to preserve Maid of the Loch over the past four decades. John helped to save the Loch Lomond paddler from demolition and put all his efforts into restoring her

CRSC congratulates John Beveridge, one of our longstanding members, on the award of an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

The official citation says the award was given ‘For Services to Paddle Steamer Preservation and to Charity’.

The award is long-overdue recognition of the campaign John Beveridge led to save Maid of the Loch from demolition, secure her place on the shores of Loch Lomond and set her on the path to operational preservation. John led the decades-long campaign with unflinching determination and perseverance, lobbying official bodies, encouraging a small army of volunteers and sacrificing his other interests for the sake of the ‘Maid’.

In a first reaction to the award, John said he was “thrilled — it hasn’t quite sunk in.” He said the honour reflected on everybody who had lent a hand and given their time to the ‘Maid’ over the years. “It’s nice to have a spotlight thrown on the project, to see all the work by volunteers being acknowledged. And of course it’s still ongoing.”

John first joined the campaign to save Maid of the Loch in 1982, a year after Caledonian MacBrayne withdrew the paddler from service.

That year he was involved in an unsuccessful attempt by the charity owning Waverley to purchase the ‘Maid’: instead CalMac sold her to a commercial company. When it went bankrupt in 1992, John ensured that Dumbarton Council — coincidentally his employer — stepped into the breach. They set up a Trust in 1995, leading to a transfer of ownership in 1996 to a new charity, Loch Lomond Steamship Company, which to this day spearheads the campaign to return Maid of the Loch to operational preservation.

John stepped down from official involvement in the ‘Maid’ campaign in 2021. In May this year he became a director of Waverley Steam Navigation Company Ltd.

Everyone in the ship enthusiast community will surely join us in welcoming news of this well-deserved award.

Maid of the Loch — a January 2018 talk by John Beveridge

On the Spot: John Beveridge

A youthful John Beveridge (right) with Douglas McGowan (centre) and David Munro (left) on Waverley in May 1978

John (fourth right, in pink shirt) led the campaign to secure Heritage Lottery Funding in 2015, and is pictured with volunteers on the stern of the ‘Maid’

John (right) at a CRSC meeting in January 2018 with two former members of the Maid of the Loch crew — Robert Cleary (left) and Tom Nellis (centre)

John Beveridge (left) celebrates Maid of the Loch’s return to steam on 2 November 2019, pulling the engine room levers in company with Ken Blacklock, Alex Forrest and other supporters of the ‘Maid’ campaign

Maid of the Loch on the slip at Balloch in 2021

Foretaste of the future? Maid of the Loch casts her reflection on the water near Tarbet, in a view from the 1960s — copyright photo CRSC John Thomas Collection

Published on 15 June 2024