A CUNARD captain who was master of the famous QE2 will be one of the guest speakers at a major conference in Clydebank next month which will celebrate the liner’s 50th anniversary.

Captain Nick Bates took command of the world’s most famous ship in 2004 and sailed her on voyages to some of the world’s most glamorous seaport destinations.

The captain, who will keep conference delegates enthralled with stories and anecdotes of his life aboard the liner, worked with the cruise company for 45 years, starting his career with Port Line, a cargo subsidiary of Cunard.

After the QE2, he was appointed captain of Queen Mary 2 in 2008. He retired in 2010.

The conference will mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the vessel on September 20, 1967, from John Brown’s.

Other speakers will include authors, cruise industry experts and Cunard employees.

Ronnie Keir, a retired Cunard chief engineer, will speak about his experience as an apprentice at John Brown’s and being a senior officer on QE2. Ronnie was a John Brown’s apprentice at the time the QE2 was built.

He worked on the vessel during his third and fourth year, when he was involved in the manufacture of the turbines and gearboxes.

Meanwhile, David Humphreys, professor of environmental policy at The Open University, will provide a first-hand account of what it was like to sail to war on QE2, as well as analysing the vital role that the ship played in the Falklands conflict.

The speakers’ line-up also includes Ian Johnston and Dr Bruce Peter, joint authors of the book QE2 Britain’s Greatest Liner.

Ian is a retired deputy director and head of the academic programme at the Digital Design Studio, which is part of the Glasgow School of Art. He also wrote Ships for a Nation, the history of John Brown’s Shipyard.

Bruce is a reader in design history at Glasgow School of Art. His research relates mainly to architecture and design for transport, leisure and entertainment. Following his PhD, he combined his interests in leisure design with cruise ship design to write a number of books.

The conference will also hear from Brian Price, who was selected as cruise director for QE2 in 1974. He had previously been assistant purser on Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth at the time when QE2 was being built.

He finished his career on QM2 and retired in 2006. Brian frequently gives talks to organisations.

Meanwhile, Scott Clegg will give an insight into QE2’s exciting first four years in Dubai. Scott was Dubai World’s project manager, who accepted the ship in 2008 on behalf of the company.

The closing remarks will be given by Rob Lightbody, founder of The QE2 Story website.

His father David worked at John Brown’s until 1995, and was involved with QE2’s steam turbines until they were replaced. Rob’s first trip on QE2 was his dad’s last, on the sea trials following the 1987 refit.

The conference will be chaired by Dr Stephen Payne MBE, director of project management for the construction of the Queen Mary 2, and by Richard Bridge who has had a career at sea spanning 35 years covering many maritime fields.

The conference, at Clydebank Town Hall on September 22, has now sold out.