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 and a small team to start volunteering on Lesvos. Soon they realized that first emergency help at landings could only do so much. To prevent deaths at sea, a boat was needed.
In January 2016, Joby and Jude took the initiative to campaign for a boat. They were able to purchase our rescue boat MoChara (Irish for “my friend”) thanks to a generous donation from the art world. With the help of many, Refugee Rescue has been operating ever since and has now been helping to make the Aegean a little safer for more than two years.
In 2018, we are still there and needed - Our rescue boat MoChara and crew are out every day and 24/7 on call, always ready to launch at a minute's notice. We are the humanitarian front protecting and assisting people at sea on Europe's southern shores as they seek refuge from their war-torn countries.
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.
To sustain our operations, we have counted on the support of individual donations and civilian support- direct action work. Please continue your support to help us save lives!
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 and CEO)
"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 Member of the Board)
"In winter 2015 I went to Lesvos and saw the situation becoming more and more hazardous, with the weather worsening and boats capsizing. I saw rescuers on the beaches and on rescue boats forced to choose who to save as there were so many people in the water. In October a vessel containing 300 people capsized, only 250 could be saved.
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.