A COMMUNITY buy-out of an iconic West Fife pub is inching closer as “a dream could become a reality”.

The Press has reported in recent months that current owners of the Red Lion in Culross, David Alexander and Ann Dowds, are retiring and villagers are aiming to raise the cash needed to buy it.

The share offer launched months ago no longer has a target of £250,000, however, as the community benefit society (West Fife Community Trading Limited) created to facilitate the buy-out has identified additional funding sources to finance the project.

The business plan was revised and a new target of £75,000 was set for July 31.

That target has now been reached and tomorrow (Friday) will now mark a key milestone in the project’s timeline.

Tim Collins, from the Red Lion Culross Community Group, will submit their application to the Community Ownership Fund as soon as it goes live on Friday.

“I have quite a rural internet connection, so it could take until Sunday for all the necessary documentation to be uploaded,” Tim joked to the Press.

“The form is completed but it has to be uploaded through the UK Government’s portal for applications, along with everything else that’s required. We have until August 13 to do it, as that’s the deadline, but I’ll be doing it as soon as I can.

“One of the requirements of this funding is that you need to spend it within six months of receiving it, and we are in a position to do that.

“We’re also in stage two of the application to the Scottish Land Fund, and as we’ve had talks with the relevant people about this, that one is as good as in, too.

“The dream could become a reality.

“It’s quite difficult not to get too excited.

“It’s liking climbing up a Munro; you think you’re about there and you keep getting all these false tops!

“Little things in the woodwork could turn up, but we’re really excited about where we’re at just now.

“We started before the pandemic and when things restarted there a was a bit of a lull, but the response has been wonderful.”

The reception to the buy-out has reached many corners of the world, with Sam Heughan, star of the TV series Outlander – which had episodes filmed in Culross – doing his bit to help out.

“I remember he shared it on social media and a few of his followers chipped in with the fundraising," said Tim.

“He’s a friend to the mission!”

An update from the group on its Facebook page to its investors, said: “The share offer has reached £75,000.

“What a wonderful community effort, outstanding.

“Investors, congratulations – you are one step closer to owning The Red Lion.”

To invest in the buy-out, visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/theredlionculross#start