TRIBUTES have poured in for a proud Bankie who not only helped build the QE2 but then sailed with her for years.

Ronnie Keir was an apprentice at John Brown’s when the liner was being built – and later went on to be her chief engineer.

Born in Dalmuir and a resident most recently of Erskine, the 68-year-old had been living with cancer for some months before his passing.

Condolences from around the globe have poured in for Ronnie, particularly from passengers who met him on different liners.

After his apprenticeship with John Brown’s, he went to sea with J. & J. Denholm’s in 1972 before going on to Glasgow College of Nautical Studies.

After 31 years in the Merchant Navy, Ronnie found his way into Cunard and met the QE2 in Los Angeles in 2003 where he became staff chief engineer. He was later appointed to the build team of the Queen Mary 2.

“I had to pinch myself, this wee boy from Dalmuir – it was amazing,” he told the QE2 conference in Clydebank last year. “I was quite proud of this.”

Rob Lightbody, from the QE2 Story, said: “For those of us who were fortunate to be invited to Ronnie’s Chief Engineer table, what an enjoyable experience it was and one to remember. Whether you were a pauper or a king, Ronnie treated everyone equal.

“He had dined with Robert Powell, Trevor McDonald, George Bush senior, Thomas J. Whelan, a senior US judge, and a Scout convenor from Texas – not to mention six BA air stewardesses.”

Ronnie was down to earth, but respected and valued for his engineering knowledge.

Iain Simm from the TS Queen Mary restoration charity, where Ronnie was a trustee, said: “I had the privilege of meeting Ronnie Keir for the first time in 2014. He had contacted me to see if he could help with the project to save and restore TS Queen Mary.

“He very quickly became a much valued member of the team and was instrumental in repatriating her from London to Glasgow. He remained with us for as long as he was able to. He will be sorely missed.”

Ronnie leaves behind his wife, Mary, and two sons and a daughter. His funeral will be April 9 at the crematorium at North Dalnottar.