Mystery benefactor buys van for shop

THE owners of one of the remotest shops in the country were celebrating yesterday after a "mystery millionaire" bought a new £16,000 delivery van to ensure the community does not run out of stock.

Staff at the Uig Community Shop on the Isle of Lewis – thought to be the most north-westerly in Britain – feared the worst when its five-year-old Citroen van was on its last legs after clocking up the miles doing 80-mile round trips to Stornoway to get supplies.

Uig, on the west coast of Lewis, has a population of under 400 people. The van also delivered to residents.

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At the last minute an anonymous donor bought the community-run shop a new refrigerated van which should be delivered within a couple of weeks.

"It is like a scene from The Secret Millionaire," said David Newton, chairman of the trust that owns the shop, yesterday.

"We were past the 11th hour over replacing our van – without which the shop could not be properly stocked.

"Then out of the blue this person offered to buy us a new van. We can't believe it. It is one of those wonderful things that happen but you never think is going to happen to you. We can't thank our mystery benefactor enough."

Three years ago a 500,000 extension of the Uig Community Shop was officially opened by the UK chairman of the Co-op Group, Len Wardle, who said it was a "shining example for other communities to follow".

The shop, which is also a petrol station and post office, provides a lifeline for residents.