Seagull Trust looks forward to 2016 season

Ahoy there...the Yarrow Seagull was the first boat in the fleet for the Kirkintilloch branch of the Seagull Trust, now based at the town's Southbank Marina. (Contributed pic)

Ahoy there...the Yarrow Seagull was the first boat in the fleet for the Kirkintilloch branch of the Seagull Trust, now based at the town's Southbank Marina. (Contributed pic)

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A victim of its own success would perhaps be apt to describe the Seagull Trust in Kirkintilloch.

One of four branches in Scotland, it launched in 1983 with its first boat, the Yarrow Seagull, taking to the water a year later.

The Marjorie Seagull was launched in 1994, to help cope with growing demand.

And just 12 years later, chairman and skipper Allan Rattray (66) admitted to the Herald this week that the Trust needs another boat!

That’s largely thanks to the hard work of the 75 volunteers who keep the charity’s work afloat locally.

Operating from the South Bank Marina, the Trust made 708 cruises last year, carrying 6575 passengers, 880 of whom were in wheelchairs and 421 of whom were children.

This year, the majority of 11am and 1.30pm cruises from April to September are booked.

Sailings at 4pm and 6.30pm are available but Allan believes another boat is now required.

He explained: “Numbers are growing year on year but we can only take 24 out at any one time on the two boats.

“We could probably do with another boat but it would cost around £250,000 for one with the specifications we need for the groups we cater for.”

Unfortunately, the charity does not have that kind of money; it costs £28,000 each year to maintain the service.

That money is raised via membership fees of £5 per annum, fundraising events, souvenir sales and pleasure trips during the Kirkintilloch Canal Festival.

To find out more about the Trust’s work locally and its 2016 season, don’t miss the feature in this week’s paper, which is in the shops now. To volunteer or to fundraise, call 0141 777 7165.