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Newmarket firefighter Mick setting off to Australia to help in the aftermath of devastating wildfires

A Newmarket firefighter is setting off for Australia tomorrow to help in the aftermath of the fires which ravaged vast swathes of the country earlier this year.

Mick Lowther, who has served as an on-call firefighter for 22 years, will be among volunteers from the UK joining up with the Australian charity BlazeAid, which works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods.

It is linked with Tunnel2Towers, a UK voluntary group composed mainly of serving and retired firefighters, which put out a call in this country to anyone prepared to take up the challenge on the other side of the world.

Mick Lowther, Newmarket firefighter going to Australia(30205139)
Mick Lowther, Newmarket firefighter going to Australia(30205139)

“They wanted people who could leave at 24-hours notice, stay in Australia for four to five weeks and had the skills needed to lead teams with re-building houses, rounding up animals and basically doing anything that is needed to help the communities there on their feet again,” said Mick. “About the only thing we won’t be doing is fighting fires.”

As the owner of Cambridge-based Huttie Building Services and with his long experience with the fire service, Mick met all the criteria and, despite problems with Quatar Airlines, whose offer of free flights had to be withdrawn because of issues over Coronavirus, Etihad Airways stepped in to take Mick and 14 other volunteers to New South Wales tomorrow.

Mick, 48,knows the trip is not going to be a holiday and is prepared for a lot of hard work.

“I understand there will 13-hour days and I will be working continuously for five weeks.

“Since the fires there have also been floods so there is a lot of damage to deal with. I am fairly confident I can deal with anything that needs doing, although I’m not sure about the wild animals,” he said.

Mick said he had ‘permission’ from his wife Sarah, his business partner, and the Fire Service to be away for five weeks, returning on April 5.

“Sarah said she would miss me but she’s very proud of what I’m doing,” said Mick, who is dad to Henry, 12, and ten-year old Molly. He will also be absent from the next couple of meetings as a school governor at Paddocks Primary and Newmarket Academy and Newmarket Town Youth Football Club will have to manage without its coach.