Brendon Grimshaw & His $50million Dollar Island

This is the remarkable story of the man who bought an Island for $10,000 dollars and instead of searching for fame and fortune gave it back to the world after his death in 2012.

Brendon Grimshaw’s life is nothing short of extraordinary.

He is a man who didn’t just say it, he lived it.

I was so fascinated by his life after reading his book and watching his documentary, I wanted to create this page to try and do a proper service to his life and teachings that seem to have been glossed over in other articles dedicated to his life and achievements.

If you want to read the book for yourself you can find it here: Brendon Grimshaw – A Grain of Sand

Ultimately, it all amounts to love story between him and Moyenne Island.

Brendon Grimshaw on Moyenne Island with his Dog

Brendon Grimshaw Early Life:

“I considered myself quite ordinary—a young boy of 15. School didn’t hold my interest anymore; subjects like math, mechanics, and physics weren’t my passions. Writing, though, had a special place in my heart. My mother, clever as she was, knew the headmaster’s son worked at a local newspaper.

It was my mother who arranged an interview for me with the newspaper’s editor. The editor asked if I wanted to be a reporter or a newspaper man. I asked him to explain the difference.”

He said, “A reporter knows how to report. A newspaper man knows all about newspapers.” With determination, I replied, “I want to know all about newspapers.” And just like that, I was starting the next day.”

Brendon Grimshaw ‘A Grain of Sand Documentary’

Leaving school at 15, Brendon went on to become England’s youngest newspaper editor. However, his dreams took him in a different direction—to Africa. Eventually, he established himself as an editor in Kenya and Tanzania.

“In those roles, I thrived. I became editor of the country’s two main newspapers, mingling with everyone from the president to the office boy. My influence reached far and wide. The job not only appealed to my personal interests but also gave me a sense of power—a power to enact positive change, rather than just command orders.”

Brendon Grimshaw ‘A Grain of Sand Documentary’ – 2009

His time in Africa was certainly undergoing a special time, and Brendon loved every second of it. Freeing the chains of colonial rule:

“Africa was undergoing transformation, a shift against colonial rule. As ideas of freedom and successful rebellions spread, a desire for change simmered amid poverty and dominance. Despite being apolitical, I couldn’t help but empathize with the yearning for freedom that surrounded me.

A dear friend of mine, Eduardo Mondrán, comes to mind. A lover of books, he was poised to lead Mozambique. He stood for his people’s well-being, but fate took a cruel turn. He met a tragic end, a victim of the turbulence. It was a stark reminder of the harsh realities in a world striving for change.

Times were difficult, and I realized my journey in Africa was drawing to a close. I saw the man I would pass the torch to—the one who would take over my job. Fortunately, a new dream began to take shape.

Two friends, both married to Seychellois, spoke of the islands’ beauty. Intrigued, I sailed from Mombasa to Seychelles. Yet, a week into my visit, I realized something profound—I desired this. I yearned for a place in Seychelles. The search wasn’t easy, spanning three weeks, and yielding no results.

As my holiday came to a close, on my last day, I visited a lawyer named Raoul. Politeness paid off that day. As I gazed out of the window, a young man approached, offering an island for sale. He proposed taking me there by boat, and I accepted. The journey was perilous, yet exhilarating, and I set foot on Moyenne for the first time.

Brendon Grimshaw ‘A Grain of Sand Documentary’ – 2009

How Brendon Bought the Island:

Brendon Grimshaw in 1962, the year he bought the island

It was a unique sensation—an indescribable feeling of having found my place. The plateau held an old, dilapidated Antietam building, untouched since 1915. This was my moment, but then came a crushing blow. The island’s owner declined to sell. It was a setback I hadn’t foreseen.

However, I refused to give up. Through a chance dinner, I won him over. Under the stars and palm trees, we connected. Philip, the owner, eventually acknowledged my commitment to caring for the island. His godfather’s legacy found a worthy custodian in me.

Brendon Grimshaw ‘A Grain of Sand Documentary’ – 2009

I inquired, “Does that mean you might consider selling it to me?” He replied, “It could be.”

With just four minutes left until midnight on the final day of my vacation, I shook hands with the man, and the island officially became mine.

Brendon Grimshaw ‘A Grain of Sand Documentary’ – 2009

Brendon Grimshaw purchased Moyenne Island in 1962, making it his home until his death in 2012.

During this time, Brendon and his close friend, Rene LaFortune, were responsible for planting every tree, creating every path, and introducing every giant tortoise on the island. This amounted to 16,000 trees, hundreds of tortoises on the brink of extinction and a huge amount of birds that are found almost nowhere else on earth. The estimated number of bird species is over 2000, however, I have a hard time believing this figure, as it seems rather high!

One of the early challenges was carving a navigable path around the island—a task easier said than done, especially for someone inexperienced like Brendon. But by the time of his death in 2012, Brendon and Rene had carved out 4.6km of roads.

Turning Down the $50million Dollar Offer for Moyenne Island?

Reports have emerged over the years of various folks trying to buy the island.

The decision to not sell the island stems from a deep conviction held by Brendon Grimshaw. He firmly believes that a wealthy offer, even one as substantial as 34 million euros, would lead to the island’s destruction. Brendon articulates this below:

“Because, uh, they’ll destroy it. They lie to you, they say they’re going to take care of it, but they don’t.”

Brendon Grimshaw in 2009 Documentary

His refusal is rooted in a resolute understanding that the island’s natural integrity would be compromised under such ownership.

Brendon’s 34-year-long dedication to cultivating the island as a natural haven holds immense personal value. He created a nature reserve, a sanctuary for the environment. His sentiment against transformation into a luxurious retreat is clear as he declares,

“No. If you, I say, over here is a five-star hotel, over there is one, on there, there’s a new one being built here. We’re surrounded by, by, by people who are wanting to build hotels, people who want to make money.”

Brendon Grimshaw in 2009 Documentary

His concern is evident — he seeks to preserve the island’s unique essence and protect it from commercial exploitation.

Brendon Grimshaw champions a vision that goes beyond money. He is willing to forgo considerable financial offers in favor of maintaining the island’s natural beauty.

In a recent documentary he was very clear on his stance:

“I don’t want to see it being turned into a five-star hotel, no way.”

Brendon Grimshaw in 2009 Documentary

Brendon’s dedication runs deep, rooted in his unwavering commitment to the island’s preservation and a desire to prevent its transformation into a mere luxury destination.

Brendon got his wish when, in 2008 Moyenne Island was declared a National Park in the Seychelles allowing the man to die happy. His buried alongsdie

Brendon Grimshaw’s House:

It’s hard to say exactly where Brendon lived, as he tended to live all over the island. This also changed drastically throughout the years:

Brendon Grimshaw’s “House”
We expect that Brendon would have lived in something similar to the above.

The best examples are above, but there are snippets in the below video that give a much better idea of where Brendon lived. It can be seen on the Island but the internet seems to have a poor selection of where Brendon lived exactly on the Island.

The above video shows snippets of Brendon’s life on the Island in the Modern day (after his death).

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