How it all started
In November 2015, Joby Fox was deeply moved by reports from the Mediterranean depicting the horrendous situation on Europe’s Southern shores. Feeling compelled to offer whatever help he could, Joby recruited Jude Bennett and a small team to start volunteering on Lesvos. That winter, they saw the situation becoming more and more hazardous, with the weather worsening and boats capsizing. They saw rescuers on the beaches and on rescue boats forced to choose who to save, as there were so many people in the water. Soon they realised that first emergency help onshore at landings could only do so much.
To prevent deaths at sea: help was needed on the water.
In January 2016, Joby and Jude took the initiative to campaign for a boat. They were able to secure our rescue boat MoChara, thanks to a generous donation from the art world. With the support of many, Refugee Rescue has been operating ever since and has now been dedicated to make the Aegean a little safer for more than two years.
And in 2018 our work is still just as vital.
“We are holding the line here, dealing with serious life and death situations almost daily. This crossing has now been largely forgotten by the media but we have assisted almost 4000 people since the start of 2018. When you understand the small scale of the area we are working in, these are truly shocking figures - but of course they are not just figures, they are people, most of them women and children” - Joby
The video below shows what Jude and Joby encountered when they first were on Lesvos in November 2015. Please note that the video below might show disturbing and distressing imagery.
We are in desperate need of money now to keep the operation going. Volunteers come from across the world to give their time and expertise, but maintaining the boat and our small but dedicated staff costs money. We need help, and we need it now.
OUR CURRENT TEAM
Michael Cecil, Chairman and voluntary skipper
"I joined Joby Fox and Jude Bennett in January 2016. My initial task was to prepare our rescue boat “Mo Chara” for rescue operations and putting operating procedures and training regimes in place. Coming from a small Island in Northern Ireland and working commercially on the sea I felt an inbuilt duty to assist whenever anyone was in peril on the sea. I have been back to Lesvos many times and always come home with a great sense of achievement and a great respect for all those living, working and volunteering at the front line."
Jude Bennett, Co-founder
"I am an experienced project manager I felt compelled to help in this humanitarian crisis. Together with Joby I co-founded Refugee Rescue. Since November 2015 I have managed the mission and development of the NGO."
Joby Fox, Co-founder and Board Member
"As a human being I have held out a hand to others and helped them for a moment. That’s what life is all about. Instead of political posturing, it is about action, lateral thinking, helping, being human and looking after other people. I reached out for more people to help in Greece and Refugee Rescue was formed. Together we can help."
Richie Heard, Head of Operations and Board Member
Richard Heard is a valuable member of the SAR crew having crewed several times for Refugee Rescue. Richie manages all SAR crew recruitment and operations. He is RNLI trained and a valuable asset to the team.