THEY may be £100,000 short but Culross is full of cheer as locals are on the brink – with support from around the world – of saving the last pub in the village.

It's hoped the final details confirming the community buy-out of the Red Lion, which was backed by Outlander star Sam Heughan, will be completed in time for a grand opening next month.

The asking price was around £800,000 and West Fife Community Trading Limited was set up, as a community benefit society, last year to raise the cash with the aim of ploughing the surplus income back into the ancient burgh to fund local projects.

Secretary Tim Collins said: "It's a running business that's proved very popular, the pub doesn't need anything done to it and we've got a tenant ready to take up residency.

"If we get it all done some time in May, we should be open by the end of the month."

When the deal goes through it will be a cause for celebration and the first community-owned and operated pub/restaurant in Fife, and one of only half a dozen in Scotland.

But there was a blow earlier this month when their application to the UK Government's Community Ownership Fund was not successful.

Tim explained: "We're about £100,000 short but we have plans to get a loan to cover that shortfall.

"In the meantime, we're finalising the deal with the sellers and applying for funds from other bodies.

"You don't really want to start a new company with debt but it looks like we're going to have a level of debt that, while easily sustainable, will mean it'll take longer for the community to benefit.

"We wanted to quickly start putting money back into the community, that's why people have invested, and we hope to do it sooner rather than later.

"We've had a lot of setbacks, this is the latest one, but everything else is almost in place."

The category B-listed Red Lion dates back to around 1570 and was originally a merchant's house.

In the mid-1700s, it was among 11 'ale houses' in Culross but by 2011 it was the only one left.

In recent years, the village post office, butcher's shop and local store all closed and there was a possibility the pub would go too.

Current owners David Alexander and Ann Dowds, who had enjoyed a roaring trade at the Red Lion for more than 30 years, are retiring.

And there was a fear that, if locals didn't act, their local could fall into the hands of property developers.

The share offer was launched and a smart move to cash in on the global pulling power of Outlander – Culross was used to depict the village of Cranesmuir in the hit TV series – paid off with celebrity endorsements and shareholders from around the world.

It did no harm that Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, revealed on Twitter that the historic pub was where he and co-star Caitriona Balfe first shared a drink during filming.

And, in December, there was an early Christmas present with a £504,000 grant from the Scottish Land Fund.

They applied for £250,000 from the Community Ownership Fund but discovered earlier this month they had missed out.

Tim said: "We've had good comments and great support from people that have sent us money from around the world.

"We've had backing at Holyrood from our MSP (Shirley-Anne Somerville) and our MP (Douglas Chapman) put down an early day motion in Westminster supporting us but our own Government didn't think we were worthy

"It's hard but we're quite a resilient group and we're remaining positive."