IT is with a heavy heart and mixed emotions that I have to announce that the QE2 has been sold and will now be renovated to create a luxury 500 room hotel. I'm sad because she will not be coming back home (for the time being, but keep the powder dry) but also happy in the fact she will not now be scrapped, after all this was the main reason for setting up the group in the first place. We have to be happy that the new owners are going to invest in her and it seems she now has a bright future, for this I wish them good luck.
We have to say though that the various Scottish enterprises agencies and quangos have literally missed the boat on this.
Unlike us, they failed to recognise the potential she had in regenerating not only Clydebank and the west of Scotland (a region crying out for initiatives like this which would create inward investment, thus jobs) but the whole of Scotland - the economic benefits for the whole country would have been immeasurable.
In sharp contrast to this, our community group has achieved so much in so little time, for this we must rightly be proud !
We've had offers of support from all around the world via the internet and I thank each and everyone who has supported the campaign.
We have also been receiving support and offers of help from various groups who shared our concern for the ship. On Thursday evening I had a call for an organisation called "The Friends of TS Queen Mary", they were offering a comprehensive package of support including free legal and business advice and much, much more - again I thank them for their support. I would also like to thank our local MSP Gill Paterson and his researcher Gareth Finn for their unwavering support for the campaign, not least by tabling a motion to parliament in support of her return, a great gesture and one I'm sure the community will not forget!
It would be good if the legacy of this campaign was for more politicians to take notice of community based initiatives aimed at regenerating their communities and rely less on highly paid consultants who's only role seems to be, contrary to creating wealth and employment, lining their own pockets with much needed public cash that could be put to good use by the people who really know what's needed - the community.
As I said I have "mixed emotions" but my overwhelming emotion is one of pride.
Pride in the fact that we as a community got behind this campaign, in doing show we showed, not just the world, but more importantly ourselves. The fighting Spirit that once defined Clydebank, from the Blitz to the gallant work in of the UCS workers, is still very much alive on the Clydeside and for this we should all be proud.
The only thing left to do is thank each and everyone of you for supporting the campaign and hope that this will show all, that even though we were a late of the stating block, we can make a difference if the community puts their mind to it.
Onwards and upwards.
Charlie Sherry, via email