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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Praise for island homes campaign
Isle of Gigha
The island was formally handed over in March
Tribute has been paid to the residents of a tiny Scottish island who made their dream of owning their homes come true.

Gigha's residents last year mounted a massive fund raising campaign, which allowed them to buy the island for 3.85m from its previous owner Derek Holt.

The sale finally went through in October, thanks partly to a National Lottery grant of more than 1m, and the 3,400-acre island was formally handed over in March.

Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace, on Tuesday, paid tribute to the islanders.

Jim Wallace
Jim Wallace said the islanders were an "inspiration"

He visited Gigha to lay a commemorative stone from the site of the new Scottish Parliament building to symbolise the partnership between the islanders and the Scottish Executive.

He also said that the Land Reform Bill currently making its way through the Parliament will allow similar community buy-outs in the future.

He told the islanders: "You have seized the opportunity to take control of your own destiny and I wanted to come here and pay tribute to your confidence and hard work in making this happen.

"You know better than anyone that it will not always be easy but it will always be a responsibility that you can be proud of having taken on - for yourselves and for future generations.

"I am pleased to hear that things are now progressing well because I know that it was a difficult time for everyone when the island was put up for sale."

The minister said he was confident that other communities in Scotland would "take inspiration from what is being achieved here on Gigha".

See also:

15 Mar 02 | Scotland
30 Oct 01 | Scotland
30 Oct 01 | Scotland
12 Oct 01 | Scotland
18 Aug 01 | Scotland
13 Aug 01 | Scotland
10 Aug 01 | Scotland
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