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‘Island paradise’ Stronsay unveils drive to attract residents and visitors

A group hopes to double visitor numbers to the island – home to around 300 people – and increase the number of residents.

A community group has launched a campaign to attract more residents and visitors to a “beautiful island paradise”.

The group has unveiled a new website to offer an insight into life on Stronsay, Orkney’s so-called Island of Bays.

They hope to double visitor numbers to the island – home to around 300 people – and increase the number of residents.

Dianne Riley-Moore, a member of the community group, retired to Stronsay seven years ago from London and opened a craft centre on the island, the Craftship Enterprise.

She said: “We’ve invested in a new brand and website for Stronsay because we want our beautiful, wild island and its community to be sustainable and vibrant.

“Stronsay has one of the most diverse shorelines in the North Isles. We have unspoiled white beaches and dramatic cliffs, making the island a haven for walkers, families and wildlife watchers.

“Over the last few years we’ve improved facilities for tourists on the island, with more accommodation, places to eat and better way-marking. We now have the facilities for more visitors to come and enjoy the island’s wild beauty.”

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The sun setting over the Scottish island of Stronsay (Raymond Besant/PA)

She added: “We have a small, brilliantly equipped and resourced school, fantastic healthcare, a safe crime-free environment. The community is active and friendly but everyone has the freedom to be as involved or as solitary as you please. It is a truly unique place to live.”

The drive to attract more tourists is part of a larger project aimed at developing the island’s economy and encouraging more families to try island life for themselves.

Stronsay currently attracts 600 visitors each year and the community group hopes to double tourist numbers over the next three to five years.

Local nurse Shirley Whiteman moved to the island from Leicestershire in England in 2012 with her husband, Andy, and two sons, Dan and Sam, then aged four and five.

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A sea stack at Odin Bay on Stronsay (Raymond Besant/PA)

Shirley said: “In June 2012 I responded to an advertisement for an island community nurse on the island of Stronsay in Orkney. Until then I hadn’t even heard of the place, although I had vaguely heard of Orkney.

“During the five years that we have lived here, our boys have grown and developed into confident and secure little people.

“The community is very protective of the children and it is a very safe environment to bring them up in.

“Andy and I feel very much part of a lovely, friendly and welcoming community and have no regrets at making this beautiful island paradise our new and forever home.”

People should visit www.visitstronsay.com to view the new website.

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