SULLY Island has been sold for ‘considerably more’ than the £95,000 price tag - to a mystery sailing enthusiast who was one of the donators to the ‘Keep Sully Island Free for Everyone’ campaign.
Worried that the consortium group - who had ambitiously planned to persuade 950 people to stake a £100 share in the 14.5 acre rock - might not be able to raise the money, the new owner tabled an
11th hour bid.
And it blew away all other interest, according to Cooke and Arkwright estate agent Chris Hyde, who called it 'genuinely amazing'.
The sailing enthusiast joins the likes of billionaire Richard Branson in owning his own island.
Unlike Branson though, whose Caribbean hideaway was severely damaged by a recent fire, the new owner of Sully Island won’t be allowed to build so much as a garden shed on the landmark, which was
last year valued at £1.25 million.
Boasting a Viking-era hill fort and a shipwreck, the island - which is also alleged to have been a pirate hideout for Alfredo de Marisco, a medieval pirate who went by the name of Nighthawk - is an
Ancient Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest, with tough restrictions on any development.
While the buyer’s identity is being kept a secret, Mr Hyde, who handled the sale, confirmed that the successful offer was for more than the asking price.
"I can’t say much at this point, only that they are a sailor and that the bid was well in excess of guide price," he said.
"It would appear that they cared a great deal about the island and as I told them ‘Richard Branson has an island, now so do they’.
"They outbid a genuinely amazing level of interest, including plenty of offers from abroad."
Initial news that the island had been sold had dashed hopes that the consortium group, which set up savesullyisland.com and gathered more than 650 supporters on its facebook site, would secure the
future of the island.
But campaign leader Steve Shields said any disappointment quickly turned to elation when he received a phone call from the new owner.
"They rang me and informed me that they had actually been one of the donators to the campaign, at which point my fears morphed into delight," said the businessman from Dinas Powys.
"They have the best intentions for it. They said they were really taken with the campaign and felt very passionately about what we stood for.
"They said they had concerns that the amount needed would not be raised however, despite our best attempts, and did not want to see the island fall into the hands of someone with lesser intentions,
so they tabled an 11th hour bid.
"I’m delighted to be able to confirm it will be in safe hands."
The new owner also talked about forming a committee to govern the island and ensure its upkeep.
"It’s really a win-win for us, as we got the outcome we wanted and everyone who donated will get their money back!" added Steve.
"It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but in the end the future of Sully Island is secured for the public.
"I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who had become involved in this campaign, and an especially big thank you to those of you who donated."
It is thought the buyer will make themselves known to the public once the deal, which is subject to contract, is fully finalised.