'I was given a 10% chance to live'
TERRY Merrick's passion for helping the sick get healthy comes from his own brush with death when he was diagnosed with a tumour on his brain.
"I was given a 10% chance to live," Mr Merrick said from his kitchen table in Laidley Heights.
"I spent six and a half weeks in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, and when I could finally leave all the staff said I'd be back - well, that was back in 1999.
"Then and there I decided I was going to help other people get healthy and I do that through colonic irrigation."
Mr Merrick went on to explain if you had a dirty colon, you would have a dirty liver, which meant dirty blood.
And he said if you had dirty blood, you could have anything from a cold to cancer.
As a younger man, Mr Merrick worked in the trade of farm irrigation, so the Merrick family joke is: "He is still in irrigation."
At 81 years old, Mr Merrick is still fit and healthy and works his colonic irrigation business from his home in Laidley Heights with his wife Val.
"The procedure essentially cleanses the toxins out of people's bodies," he said.
"After the tumour I couldn't farm any more so we bought a motorhome and went travelling for five and a half years, during which I went to every second-hand bookshop we saw and asked for books on health," he said
"I started studying natural medicine and everything came back to life and death starting in the colon."
After ringing a few famous doctors for advice, Mr Merrick was asked by one particular doctor why he was doing it.
"I told him it's the fastest way to take the toxins out. He told me they would come back," he said.
"And I said, 'Well what if they change the way they eat?' He said, 'Well, that's a whole different story'.
"I became qualified in 2006 and I'm the oldest guy ever to do this."
Mr Merrick said the clients he saw were either super fit or very sick, in which case he would sometimes draw on iridology, which is looking at people's eyes to determine their physical health.
"It's great to see people stumble in and skip out - colonic irrigation changes your life," he said.
Terence (Terry) Frederick Merrick was born in the Merrick family home in Strathfield in Sydney on September 11, 1935, where he lived until a young man.
"There probably should be more home births," Mr Merrick said.
"You had the doctors and the midwife and she stays for two or three days.
"It's coming back into vogue now."
He attended South Strathfield Primary and Ashfield Boys High School and became an electrician.
"It was my first job and I hated it because I didn't want to be under houses, I wanted to be out in the bush," he said.
"One Christmas I was offered a job down the south coast on a dairy farm. Well, my mother cried for a month because I'd just passed my first year in electronics.
"I loved being outdoors, it was great, so I dairy farmed for a few years."
As a young man, Mr Merrick embarked on a trip with the group to Tamworth, where he met a lovely girl named Val.
"We were introduced by a mutual friend and went to a ball together," Mr Merrick said.
"It was love at first sight."
But Val had booked a trip to New Zealand for five months, so the love-struck pair wrote each other letters during their time apart.
They were married in 1959 in Tamworth in a Methodist Church, which is now called the Uniting Church, and the friend who introduced the couple ended up being a groomsman at their wedding.
The Merricks eventually went into business together when they bought a newsagency in Tamworth.
"We owned both our farm and our newsagency for four years," Mr Merrick said.
"A lot has changed with farming now, you hardly do any manual labour at all.
"We had a tractor with three gears, now you have ones with 30.
"Hay was all lugged, all by hand. Even if you had a pick-up, you still had to load it on the truck. Now they pick up 15 bales at a time."
The Merricks went on to have five children, two girls and three boys.
"So far we have 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren," Mr Merrick said.
The Merricks decided to settle in the Lockyer Valley 11 years ago to fulfil a long-held dream to live in Queensland.
"We have travelled a lot together around Australia and abroad and have always loved the area," Mr Merrick said.