Brendon Grimshaw, from Dewsbury, in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, bought Moyenne, a tiny island just half a mile wide in the luxurious Seychelles, for just £8,000
An ex-newspaper editor bought a tropical island for £8,000 and dedicated the rest of his life to restoring its appearance and nurturing its wildlife.
Brendon Grimshaw, from Dewsbury, in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, abandoned his high-pressured old life in the face of unemployment – before the age of 40 – and took an extended holiday.
In 1962, I purchased Moyenne, a tiny island just half a mile wide in the luxurious Seychelles, a cluster of islands in the Indian Ocean.
The ex-journalist immediately fell in love with his new home, with its tranquil silence and wild tangle of vegetation, Yorkshire Live reports.
Brendon lived almost completely alone on the island.
Moyenne had been left abandoned for decades, prior to his arrival and was so overgrown that falling coconuts were said to never reach the ground.
It has previously been likened to “a tiny rainforest erupting from the ocean”.
With the help of 19-year-old Rene Antoine Lafortune, the son of a local fisherman, Brendon set about forging paths through the undergrowth.
They also planted trees in an attempt to transform the island.
Brendon built a humble wooden home for himself.
But to truly transform the island he knew he would need to nurture it’s wildlife back to full health.
He gradually introduced giant tortoises to his corner of the Indian Ocean and eventually shared Moyenne with 120 of the indigenous creatures.
Brendon’s relentless hard work inevitably attracted the attention of wealthy investors, who viewed the Seychelles as a tropical paradise and an ideal spot for a luxury holiday destination.
The ‘real life Robinson Crusoe’ – also since compared to the Tom Hanks character in the 2000 film Castaway – is said to have turned down close to £40million for his small island.
But he wanted to ensure its future in a different way, and not to line corporate pockets.
As he had no children to pass the island to at the time of his death, Brendon signed a perpetual trust with the Seychelles’ Ministry of Environment in 2009.
The agreement marked the island’s transformation into a National Park.
To this day, it remains the smallest island in the world to hold that title.
Brendon passed away in 2012 and his grave sits alongside that of his father, who came to live with him in later life.
His tombstone reads: “Moyenne taught him to open his eyes to the beauty around him and say thank you to God.”
The island is now overseen by the Moyenne Island Foundation and remains largely undeveloped.
A restaurant serving local dishes, a small museum dedicated to Brendon’s life, and two nurseries for giant tortoise hatchlings form the only additions to the area, reports the BBC.
No more than 50 visitors are allowed on the island at any one time, even during peak tourist season.