A campaign to save an iconic paddle steamer has exceeded half a million pounds in funding.

The Paddle Steamer Waverley has been in operation since 1975 but was withdrawn from service in May following serious structural defects in its boilers.

Now, supporters and fans of the popular excursion, which carries around 130,000 passengers a year, have banded together to raise £500,000 to put towards its repair.

The works will cost an estimated £2.3m, but the replacement boilers are expected to extend Waverley's operational life by around 20 to 25 years.

Since its launch in June, the Save the Waverley campaign has gathered support from across the country, and over 4,000 individuals have donated to repair the boiler. 

READ MORE: Bosses withdraw Waverley paddle steamer boat from service for 2019

Fundraising events have taken place in tourist hot spots across Scotland which Waverley serves.

A four-year-old boy made it his mission to raise money for the attraction by making the ten-mile trip around the popular Isle of Cumbrae in his wheelchair.

Evening Times: Four-year-old Ethan Pringle before his ten-mile fundraising trip for WaverleyFour-year-old Ethan Pringle before his ten-mile fundraising trip for Waverley

Ethan Pringle took to the road last weekend and helped raise over £1,600, and said: "The Waverley is broken. We need to fix it."

Waverley’s general manager Paul Semple said: “Thanks to the fantastic public response to our Save The Waverley Boiler Refit Appeal we have reached a key milestone in our fundraising campaign.

"To date over 4,000 individuals have donated with some of our core supporters giving a ‘once in a lifetime donation’ knowing that we urgently need funds to secure Waverley’s future.

"In addition, we have received offers of help from several organisations and companies, but we will need further help to get Waverley’s paddles turning again.”

The Waverley is currently berthed in Glasgow, where volunteers and engineers are preparing to carry out the essential works needed to get her back in the water.

READ MORE: Two new boilers ordered for Paddle Steamer Waverley to get it sailing again

Earlier this week, the first section of deck was cut open to enable some large components in the ship's boiler room to be lifted free.

Mr Semple added: “With the new boilers already on order we must increase our efforts to secure further funding to allow our plans to progress which will see Waverley undergo major surgery commencing in January.

"I am exceptionally grateful to everyone who has come forward to help us Save The Waverley and with continued support, she will sail again.

"We simply can’t allow her to remain static. She is the sole survivor and I know so many people are willing her to succeed.”

Donations to the Boiler Refit Appeal can be made online at waverleyexcursions.co.uk or by calling 0141 243 2224 or by texting STEAM £20 TO 70085.

All donations made directly to Waverley Excursions will be recorded on a Donor Wall onboard Waverley.