Portrush man Michael Hassan is no fool as he prepares for life as a Castaway on the uninhabited Skeeries islands off Portrush in a bid to raise money for the Mercy Ships.
Michael was originally due to start his Robinson Crusoe adventure back in September, however, he was forced to postpone his charity fundraiser with a difference when his father had a serious fall.
“Just before I was due to go Dad fell and broke six ribs, punctured his lungs, broke two bones in his back and was in hospital for a month so I was taking my Mum back and forward to see him,” said the 52 year old Portrush man. “I felt that it wouldn’t have been right for me to spend a week on the Skerries with all this happening.”
Now, with his father home from hospital, Michael’s challenge is back on track and he is preparing for a week on the basalt islands starting on April 1.
“I go on April Fool’s Day,” said Michael. “I was getting so much slagging at work I thought that would be the perfect day to go!
“At the moment the long term forecast doesn’t look too bad, however as we all know, the weather can change so rapidly here. At the moment it’s as good as I could have hoped for.”
With just the seabirds and seals for company on the rocky basalt islands Michael plans to use his time to do some work for coastal zone.
“I will be counting the seals and seabirds and plan to clean up the islands while I am there, gathering up whatever has washed up so that should help occupy my time,” added Michael.
As the time for the start of his castaway adventure draws closer Michael and his daughter Maisie visited the islands on Saturday to do recce of his new temporary home.
“Maisie and I checked out the big islands to see where I’m going to put the tent and set up my camp,” said Michael. “I feel good and I’m prepared and ready to go.”
As Michael, who works at Bushmills Distillery, prepares to travel to the islands with the most basic of rations he is hoping that the public will get behind him and donate to his chosen charity.
“I watched a TV programme and it showed the work of the Mercy Ships and this really moved me so I decided to spend a week on the Skerries to raise money for this charity.
“Before the trip in September was postponed I was getting plenty of support but that tailed off, hopefully it will pick up again now and people will sponsor me. “
Michael is aiming for £7,000, £1,000 for each day he is on the islands. To sponsor him go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michael-Hassan1