A community share initiative hoping to raise £30,000 is already well on its way to hitting that target, thanks in part to an endorsement from Borders actor Jack Lowden.
Oxton Community Shop has raised more than £8,000 in community shares since it launched the initiative at the start of this month, and Jack was back in the village on Monday to do his part to support the campaign.
The 29-year-old returned to the village he grew up in with parents Gordon and Jacqui and brother Callum to buy shares in the shop and promote the scheme, being overseen by community councillor Francois du Plessis.
The actor – seen in films including 2017’s Dunkirk, 2018’s Calibre and this year’s Mary Queen of Scots – hopes showing his support for the initiative will encourage other villagers to do likewise.
“This is such an amazing initiative,” he said. “There was a shop here since I was kid waiting at the bus stop, and we’d always be in there buying our sweets.
“My best pal from the village’s mum worked there too, so I was in the old shop a lot.
“It would bizarre not to have a shop and pretty sad too.
“Francois and everybody have done an amazing job reinventing the shop and keeping it going. The shares initiative is another way of doing that, and people have been so supportive this far.
“It’s a mark of how good Oxton is as a community that it can make something like this happen. It’s nice to see a place to fervently protective of its community.
“The group has big plans for the shop.”
The former Channelkirk Primary and Earlston High pupil first hit the small screen in 2009 in an Irn Bru Christmas advert.
He went on to graduate from Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2011 and is amongst the front-runners being tipped to be the next James Bond.
Jack is now living in Edinburgh after having spent almost seven years in London but still regards the Borders as home.
He added: “I come back here as much as I can, which is great for helping with something like this as I can be useful. I moved to Leith as I missed home.”
Jack’s dad Gordon added: “We moved to the village when Jack was two and his brother Callum was a couple of months old. Callum lives in Stockholm as he’s a ballet dancer for the Royal Swedish Ballet, but Jack is in Leith and is home as much as he is there.
“He comes down here quite often between jobs and loves coming home.
“Jack has always been very positive about the village and the initiatives it tries to get up and running, so getting him to come support this was an easy task.”
The current village shop, situated in a portable cabin next to the village hall, opened for business under community ownership just days after the old one closed in April 2018.
Funding from local wind farm trusts allowed for a seamless transition between the old owners closing their shop and the new one opening its doors to the village’s 650-odd residents.
A team of volunteers and committee headed by Mr du Plessis now have aspirations to move into part of the village hall if its planned redevelopment goes ahead.
Mr du Plessis said: “I am really happy to say that our situation this morning after the past week is we have sold just over £8,000 worth of shares, and that’s unbelievable. I think the £30,000 target is definitely achievable. I’m sure you will agree it’s a lovely shop and you should all be proud of it.
“Most of those buying shares are from within the village so far, but it’s not uncommon to attract support from people who have moved away and see it as a nostalgic investment. Jack coming today will be a big boost. He’s been really supportive.”
Shares costing £10 are available to buy until January 31, 2020. Application forms are available at the shop or by emailing shares@ oxtoncommunityshop.co.uk