MERSEY Ferries' Royal Daffodil has new owners after a deal was secured with a leisure-based company.

The vessel, which ended 50 years of service in 2013, is now owned by local company Liverpool City Sights Ltd.

It will now be moved from Duke Street Docks in Birkenhead where it has been since coming out of service and will be refurbished and then re-homed in the Canning Dock area as a leisure attraction.

The deal represents a £40,000 annual saving for the Combined Authority, which will retain the name Royal Daffodil for the new generation of Mersey Ferries – currently being procured by the organisation.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, said: "I wanted to ensure Royal Daffodil was saved from the breaker's yard.

"So I made a final call for expressions of interest from commercial organisations and interested parties in June 2018 and I am very pleased to be able to make this announcement today.

"The Mersey Ferries have a special place in all our hearts and this deal should give Royal Daffodil a new lease of life which I know people will be pleased to hear."

Cllr Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio Holder for the Liverpool City Region, said: "It is good news that we have secured new owners for one of our beloved Mersey Ferries in a deal that is hoped will provide a sustainable future for her right here in the city region."

A Merseytravel spokesman said the procurement process for a new Mersey Ferry was underway with announcements expected in the coming months, as part of a 20-year strategy to secure their future for generations to come.