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'Real-Life Castaway' Spends £8,000 On Tropical Island So He Can Live As A Recluse

'Real-Life Castaway' Spends £8,000 On Tropical Island So He Can Live As A Recluse

Brendon Grimshaw dropped his life in West Yorkshire to transform the island of Moyenne

A man who’s been described as a real-life Castaway bought his own tropical island so he could live as a recluse. 

Brendon Grimshaw, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, did what most of us dream of doing on a stressful day by dropping his high-pressure job and leaving to live out his days in paradise

Spending much of his working life as a newspaper editor for major publications in East Africa, Grimshaw decided to visit the island nation of Seychelles and he instantly fell in love. 

Brendon Grimshaw left his high-pressured job to live in paradise.

In 1962 when he was in his late 30s, Brendon decided to buy Moyenne, a half-mile-wide island, for the price of £8,000.

Despite passing away aged 87 in 2012, his legacy lives on through the work he carried out to transform the location into a haven. 

Speaking about his first visit to Moyenne in a 2009 documentary about his venture, he said: "It was totally different. It was a special feeling.

"This is the place I'd been looking for." 

But once he’d signed the deal, Brendon had his work cut out for him – other than a family of fishers who lived on the island, it had been abandoned for decades. 

The Seychelles island of Moyenne had been left abandoned for decades.

Before he arrived, it had become so overgrown that falling coconuts never reached the ground. 

Given the amount of tourism and hotel resorts being built in Seychelles, the new owner wanted to avoid this from happening to Moyenne – he wanted to maintain its natural beauty.

With the help of René Antoine Lafortune, the 19-year-old son of a local fisherman, they got to work clearing the shrub, planting 16,000 trees and creating 4.8km of nature pathways. 

Speaking to the BBC, Suketu Patel, a lifelong friend of Brendon’s, said: "His vision was to leave an unspoiled island for future generations of Seychellois and the world.

"He wanted a mini-Seychelles. He wanted to try and replicate what Seychelles and its islands were like before tourists came." 

It was hard work, but all worth it for the beautiful home Brendon built for himself and the local fisherfolk, and for the protected paradise he left behind. 

Brendon and René Lafortune set to work restoring the island.

As well as planting trees and building himself a small wooden home, the ex-editor set about nurturing the local wildlife. 

Together the pair encouraged around 2000 native birds back to the island by feeding them, and introduced the indigenous giant tortoise to the area. 

In the documentary A Grain of Sand, named after a book written by Brendon about his experience, he said of the exhausting work: “My hands were covered in blisters.”

But it paid off, with trees slowly growing and fruiting and animals enjoying the natural habitat. 

After decades of persistence, Grimshaw and his assistant Lafortune achieved their goal of making Moyenne a National Park separate to the surrounding islands. 

Brendon is often compared to Robinson Crusoe and Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away, having chosen to live a solitary life in exchange for his great work and the beauty that surrounded him. 

Since he had no children to hand the island to when he passed away, Brendon signed it over to the Seychelles' Ministry of Environment in 2009 and to this day it remains the smallest island in the world to be an official National Park. 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Travel