NEW owners have been found for an award-winning island shop and Post Office just days after The National revealed fears for the future of the community lifeline, sparking worldwide interest.

We told five days ago how David and Teenie Wilson wanted to retire after 23 years running Lismore Stores on Lismore, in Loch Linnhe, near Oban.

The premises are a focal point for the island’s population of just over 160 and shortly after our story appeared, a working group set up by Lismore Community Trust started receiving inquiries about the shop, including phone calls from as far away as Australia, the US and Toulouse in France.

David Wilson yesterday told The National: “I think it was more than a flurry of interest, a deluge more like.

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“For the last four days we’ve had a lot of people requesting information packs, but this all happened at the end of last week.

“I was always under the impression there were a lot of people who did not necessarily want to stay where they are and like the idea of coming to a Scottish island looking for a different way of life and I think that’s been borne out by the people who have asked about the shop.

“The good thing is if there is that interest we might get more people to come here and set up a business.

“I came here to look after a farm and I’d lived in Coll before this so I knew what island life was like.

“When that family sold, we decided we wanted to stay and a lot of that could still happen.

“People can find ways of surviving when they decide that this is what they want.”

Wilson added: “Your paper did a splendid bit and we were still receiving calls on Sunday, and I had a radio station phone me this morning for a chat.

“We had people due to come this week and the weekend, so we had to tell them the shop had gone.

“I don’t know if it’s actually sunk in yet – but my wife is delighted. I’m a pragmatist and an optimist and it needed that spurt that [Community Trust members] Sebastian and Julian started and you continued.”

The new owners of Lismore Stores want to remain anonymous for now, before they take over the shop in autumn.

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Sebastian Tombs, who chairs the working group, said informal inquiries had previously been made and The National’s story appeared to have spurred people into action.

“When we kicked off our campaign we thought ‘we really need a new start here because nothing’s happening’,” he said.

“It seems that one of the older interests must have been galvanised by all the activity triggered by The National.”

He said everyone was delighted that there would be continuity of service on the island, but he said he was still receiving inquiries yesterday morning.

“I had a phone call at 7am today from California. We had an email yesterday from Australia.

“I had a phone call the day before that from Toulouse in France and we ended up sending out over 30 information packs.

“Obviously the great heartening thing for us is there are people with serious talents and interests wanting to come here and invest their time, energy and love, put their children through the school – there’s been a lot of interest, which means that what this part of Scotland is offering is very attractive.

“And it’s not people necessarily who were born and brought up here although many would like to come back if there were employment opportunities. But there are a lot of people for whom the environment, this kind of lifestyle is quite a draw.”

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Tombs said the trust was looking at setting up a development of workspace units at Achnacroish to try to bring in more people to the island and a surveyor was going to have a look at land they had identified for that purpose.

However, he said accommodation was still a difficulty and something that they would have to look into for the future.

Tombs added: “This has raised all sorts of very positive things about the island, about how well we can work together and your article prompted a short slot on Good Morning Scotland, which prompted other people to Google it and BBC Alba have been in touch and STV got interested.

“Everyone has a much lighter step now, rather than being alarmed.

“You prompted the whole inundation and we got a great result.”