From Rathlin Island to Greece: Fire Commander suppports humanitarian effort

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Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Rathlin Island Crew Commander Michael Cecil will be spending the next nine days on Lesbos in Greece to help with the humanitarian support effort for refugees on the island.

Michael will travel to assist Refugee Rescue, a non-for profit organisation as skipper of a newly donated rescue boat which will be left to assist those in need.

Michael will training crew members and leave a legacy management through training and operational regime during the relief effort.

NIFRS Crew Commander Michael Cecil has 11 years’ experience as a Retained (Community) Firefighter on Rathlin Island, as well as numerous other voluntary roles with other statutory and voluntary groups on the island.

The Refugee Rescue team recently secured a donated ex-RNLI vessel and Michael will be tasked with equipping and operating the vessel and training crew members.

As well as donating his own efforts to this cause, Michael will be covering his travel, accommodation and subsistence costs during his time on the island. With this in mind, Michael has created a Gofundit page ( for people to support the relief effort through donations

Speaking as he was about to leave for the Greek island, Michael said: “Obviously this will be a very challenging experience for those involved, as the Refugee Rescue Team will be dealing with men, women and children in life-threatening situations and the possible aftermath of unsuccessful rescues.

“Due to the high level of training I have obtained through my role as NIFRS Crew Commander which includes strong leadership skills, experience of multi-agency responses, first aid and water rescue training; I feel my skill set will be beneficial in helping the relief effort.

“I have received support from both friends, family and work colleagues which has reinforced my commitment in pursuing this initiative. As a resident of Rathlin Island, I am very aware of the importance of community and the strength it provides. By working with Refugee Rescue, I believe with experienced personnel across a wide range of different disciplines working together for a common goal, success in helping those less fortunate can be achieved.”