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The Scottish Maritime Museum hopes to widen the scale of preservation work on one of Britain’s most important historic vessels following a major donation to the Keep the Kyles Afloat Crowdfunder campaign.

Just over halfway through the fundraising campaign, the Museum, which is based on Irvine Harbourside and in Dumbarton, has received a £15,000 donation from Mr John Paul DeJoria. Added to all the other donations received so far, this makes possible essential repairs to MV Kyles, the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the UK.

Mr John Paul DeJoria, who is one of the signatories on Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet’s ‘Giving Pledge’ committing billionaires to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy, is the owner (custodian) of Taymouth Castle in Kenmore, Perthshire. He read about the Keep the Kyles Afloat Crowdfunder campaign on the international Maritime Executive news website.

David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, says:

We are thrilled to receive such a generous donation from Mr DeJoria. His donation, along with the many other generous donations made to the Crowdfunder campaign, ensures we can make essential repairs to our 1872 cargo coaster MV Kyles, a rare and nationally important survivor from a formative period in shipbuilding on the Clyde.

“With such a terrific response, we can be more ambitious. Our Crowdfunder runs until 22 December and, if we can attract enough new donations, we can get the engine serviced, a major job on this 122 tonne vessel.

Kyles had a long, hard working life, being adapted for different roles across the UK by 24 different owners. It would be a fantastic achievement to complete as much preservation work as we can in time for the vessel’s 150th anniversary in 2022 and ensure that this historic vessel remains part of Scotland’s living maritime heritage for decades to come.”

Mr. DeJoria adds: 

It is important to support efforts to retain the visual reminders of our heritage – It is so important for adults to share with children and for children to have the opportunity to see, feel, and touch history.”

MV Kyles was brought out of Irvine Estuary earlier this week in advance of the repairs, which the Scottish Maritime Museum’s Scottish Boat Building School and Curatorial teams on Irvine Harbourside, hope to begin in early 2021.

Funds raised will also allow the team to repaint Kyles inside and out, restore the cabins to how they would have looked whilst it was a working vessel and create exciting new interpretation.

The new interpretation will tell the many stories this workhorse of a vessel hauled aboard over the course of more than a hundred years, as a cargo coaster, fishing tender, sand dredger and even a sludge tanker before being retired to the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1984.

MV Kyles was built by John Fullerton & Co. at Paisley in 1872 and served first as a tender for the Clyde fishing fleet up until 1881 when it moved on to 23 further owners across the UK.

Mr DeJoria co-founded two global brands, Paul Mitchell (hair products) and Patron (tequila).

Along with ongoing preservation efforts at Taymouth Castle, he has also acquired and restored a 1927 85-foot private railroad carriage and 1968 57-foot Chris-Craft Constellation. His JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation supports the DeJoria family’s commitment to contributing to a sustainable planet through investing in people, protecting animals and conserving the environment.

The Scottish Maritime Museum’s Keep the Kyles Afloat campaign on Crowdfunder has been made possible by the Museums Association and Crowdfunder UK-wide #SupportOurMuseums campaign to support museums as they face the huge challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.


Issued on behalf of the Scottish Maritime Museum by 

Joanna Harrison, Mobile: 07884 187404.

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