A rich and rewarding life - that's the legacy of Grayham Bickley as well as plenty of creative output. PHOT: Jim Fagan
A rich and rewarding life - that's the legacy of Grayham Bickley as well as plenty of creative output. PHOT: Jim Fagan

With a new donor lung, Grayham had real ‘lust for life’

EVERY day Grayham Bickley rejoiced he was alive and every day he thanked the unknown person whose two lungs saved his life.

Sadly, it came to an end last week when Grayham – noted Noosa wildlife photographer, author and one of Australia’s longest surviving double lung recipients – passed away in Noosa Hospital.

In a time when the average of life expectancy in Australia is seven years, Grayham’s lust for life which lasted 16 years post implant was marvelled at by his friends and all those who were involved with him in his many activities.

He was 58 when he was told in 2004, he had six weeks to live. His pulmonary fibrosis disease was now critical and he needed a double lung transplant.

A donor was found and he was rushed to the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane. He received his implant and from then on he determined to make “every moment of my life mean something.”

Grayham Bickley was in his element taking wildlife snaps.
Grayham Bickley was in his element taking wildlife snaps.

And that he did. He became an accomplished wildlife photographer, specialising in birds with his work appearing in field guides and magazines, an author, a painter, a poet, and, when he retired, in 2011 he was a consultant for lightning protection on major buildings.

He also raced his 1979 Ford Escort in motorsport events like the Noosa Hill Climb and Queensland Raceway and was also a life member and past president of the Noosa Beach Classic Car Club.

He was Laird of the Noosa Malt Whisky Society, maintaining “a couple of sniffs of single malt can’t do any harm” and a long-time member of the Noosa Writers’ group, contributing to its short story anthologies. Three years ago he published his first book — a crime thriller titled “Contained.”

Grayham, of Peregian Springs, was very much aware of his fragility, often saying “It’s pretty good if patients in terms of longevity live longer than seven years. Some people who were transplanted after me have died.”

Before he and his wife, Judy, came to Noosa in the late nineties Grayham was an actor in Sydney theatre, tv soaps and films and counted among his credits working with a young film director called Bruce Beresford.

A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced.


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