ISLANDERS were left high and dry when their local fuel station closed last year.

But now the 1,000 people who live in the south end of Islay are celebrating after the keys to Port Ellen Filling Station were handed over to a new community-run group.

South Islay Development has taken over the business, meaning locals will no longer need to drive to Bowmore, a round trip of 38 miles away for some outlying residents, to fill up their tanks. As one of Islay's two ferry ports, Port Ellen welcomes thousands of visitors every year.

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Jackie Thomson, chair of South Islay Development (SID) said: "SID are taking all the necessary steps to get the petrol pumps flowing again and to focus on trying to develop the business and the site."

The Scottish Land Fund has given £50,000 towards the project and Highlands and Islands Enterprise has awarded £17,500 towards the costs of buying the building and associated legal fees.

Eleanor MacNab, development officer in HIE's strengthening communities team, said: "The filling station is a crucial resource in the area and its loss even for a short time is keenly felt locally.

"The community group have worked extremely hard to put together a business plan and attract funding for the project. Now they are in control of an asset which should not only prove sustainable but also in time help support additional projects in the area."