Meet The Board

Meet The Board

The Operation Florian board consists of twelve members, nine Trustee Directors and three Non-Executive Directors. These volunteers oversee the running of Operation Florian Ltd and ensure compliance with all standards and legislation.

In addition to the joint responsibility of managing the charities governance and activities, each board member has specific references. You can learn more about our Trustees and their work below. Should you wish to contact our Trustees, please use our contact page.

Michael Doherty

Chair – International Representative – Safeguarding

Mick joined the Fire Service in 1975 following a short career in the Insurance industry as an underwriting clerk with an Insurance Broker then latterly with Sun Alliance and London Insurance Company. A keen mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast spent much of his spare time as volunteer with his local Mountain Rescue Team in the Preston area of the North West (Northern Rescue Organisation)

First posting to Preston Fire Station followed his recruit course at Washington Hall Chorley; he progressed through the service for 32 years culminating as a Station Manager at Leyland and Bamber Bridge Fire Stations. During this time he expanded his international interest in Rescue work by getting involved in a post earthquake mission to Armenia in 1990. A Lancashire initiative to transport three flat pack houses by air and land via Moscow down to Armenia where the Team built and handed over the new homes to three Families who had been made homeless as a result of the earthquake.

In 1991 Mick was chosen to lead a small Team from Lancashire in the fire service mission to Northern Iraq (Operation Safe Haven) which was a joint humanitarian project to assist the Allied Forces in rescuing the Iraqi Kurdish population who had fled towards the Turkish Border fleeing from the aggressors of Saddam Hussains military Forces.   On his return, together with other volunteers  he was asked to formulate the Lancashire Unit of the newly formed United kingdom Fire Service Search And Rescue Team (UKFSSART) This Team still operates today and is now known as International Search and Rescue (ISAR) Mick was awarded the British Empire Medal for his Teams work in Iraq. He gained much experience in Training and Mobilising for natural and manmade disasters.   In order to extend his Teams expertise he teamed up with Steve Owen Hughes in 1994 where the vision of SOH inspired the formulation of the Charity to be formerly registered with the Charities Commission and to be known as “Operation Florian”. The name was adopted from the Patron Saint of Firefighters in Europe.

The rest is history, and this is the second time Mick has been Chairman in the history of the Charity.

“I am so proud of the achievements we have collectively delivered over so many years, in so many places, to so many people. There appears To be no sign of a lull in the future either, so keep well fed and rested”   Michael A Doherty BEM GIFE Chairman Operation Florian

Anthony Burscough

Treasurer – Budget Planning – Project Financial Advisor

Member of the charity since 2004

Currently Charity Treasurer and Project Manager for Zimbabwe

Project countries worked in: Bosnia, Belarus(project manager), Kosovo(project manager), Montenegro, Macedonia, Zimbabwe(project manager),

Countries visited with the charity: Croatia, Bulgaria, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Serbia and Hungary.


Born in Lostock Hall Preston, primary and secondary school educated in Lancashire.

Started working life as a farmer also attending Agricultural College. Left farming and joined the Fire Service in 1978.

Completed recruit training at Lancashire County Fire Brigade (as it was then) International Training Centre at Washington Hall, then posted to Chorley. Worked on a number of stations in Lancashire. Returning to the Training Centre in 1987 initially as an Instructor then Course Director for International Training.

Completed a number of roles in the Fire Service including Training Officer, Station Commander at Ormskirk and Lancaster and Supervisory Officer.

Joined Operation Florian in 2004. My first role was Project Manager for Belarus. Selected for this role due to the fact that i had taken a party of Young Firefighters to the International Games there in 2003.

Since then have been on a number of missions. In Kosovo as Project Manager i worked closely with the UN, MOD, NATO and KPC.

In 2006 I retired from the Fire Service.

I have been treasurer of the charity since 2009 and became a Trustee in 2012.

At the present time I am Project Manager for Zimbabwe.

I am married with three children. One of which is a Community Fire Service Practitioner and a member of the charity who has worked on several missions abroad.

Roy Barraclough

Company Secretary – Membership Secretary

Roy is the Membership Secretary responsible for updates renewals and maintaining the database of our members.

In his day job, Roy is the Central Operations Group Station manager with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service where he has worked for over 40 years.  He is also an elected Councillor in his home town of Worthing. West Sussex.

In 2007 he assisted in the delivery of a project in the Kursk region of Russia and then in 2009 he became involved with Operation Florian working on the Macedonia project supporting the Project Manager in delivering various aspects. Roy was elected as a Board Director of the Charity in 2013 and since then been involved in the Zimbabwe project instructing on Fire Investigation and Incident Command. also in the delivery of the Moldova project.

Mark Brisco

Training – Website – IT

Mark has been a member of the organisation since 2002 and was elected to the Board as a trustee/Director in 2018

He is a part time fire and emergency response consultant and has worked on projects in the UK, Europe, The Middle East, India and Africa.

Prior to that He spent 32 years with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service retiring in 2010 from his post as Head of Training Delivery.

Mark first got involved with Operation Florian in 2002 when he led the initial team out to commence the Bosnia in Herzegovina soldiers to saviour’s project. He has since supported the Zimbabwe project as a team member and got involved with organising equipment.

His references on the board are training and website co-ordination.

Phil Gratrix

Charities Guidance and Compliance Coordinator

I have been a supporter of Florian since attending a presentation by a member of the Charity to The Greater Manchester Fire Authority setting out the great work they undertake in all parts of the world. As a result, this has given me the opportunity to visit several projects over the years to observe first hand, the wonderful work undertaken by our volunteers. I am immensely proud now to be a Trustee/Director of the Charity.
Even though I have no experience as a firefighter, I fully understand the great scope that the Charity is still achieving even in these dark times of the Global Pandemic.

Nicholas Ellis

Health Safety and Environment – Fundraising

Nick joined the board as Trustee in January 2019.  He is a serving member of West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and has almost 30 years’ experience in the Fire Service, both as an Operational Watch Commander and Training Instructor at Brigade Headquarters.

He is the Charity HSSE lead, dealing with all Health, Safety, Security & Environment issues.  Nick is an experienced Health & Safety Professional, having worked with numerous organisations and possesses both NEBOSH and IOSH qualifications.  He is confident in planning, developing and implementing Health and Safety policies and procedures, then ensuring organisation-wide compliance.

Nick has first hand experience of being deployed with Operation Florian Ltd and has delivered ‘RTC Extrication and Trauma’ training to Firefighters on projects around the world. Holding the PTLLS 730 Teaching Certificate and the Assessors Award he is an accomplished Instructor and assessor with references such as RTC, casualty care, breathing apparatus, hazardous materials and manual handling.

He is currently the Project Manager for Kenya.

Bernie Lees

Vehicles and Transport

I joined Greater Manchester FRS in 1975 and served has a firefighter for thirty three years, becoming a member of Operation Florian in 2005. I became a member of the board eight years ago serving as our vehicles officer since then.
During this time I have been active in fundraising and in the sourcing and collection of vehicles and equipment.
I have been involved in various overseas projects in Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Zimbabwe, acting as convoy leader on a number of occasions whilst delivering vehicles to the Balkans. I have also acted as a Regional Coordinator in Macedonia.

Shephard Ndlovu

Project Advisor – Corporate Standards – Education Research and Training – IFE Liason

Shephard has over 19 years’ experience in the fire industry, he joined the University of Central Lancashire in 2000 and is currently a Lecturer in Fire Safety Engineering and a course leader for a number of fire programmes at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and at various partner institutions, such as, International College of Engineering and Management, Oman.

His teaching covers a wide range of areas in fire and safety engineering. He has worked as a fire officer at the Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Services, Zimbabwe.

He has been a member of Operation Florian since 2010, has played a key role in facilitating the donation of fire and rescue service equipment and the training of fire-fighters from various cities and towns in Zimbabwe. He is a Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and Specialist Member of International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (SIIRSM) and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Steve Owen Hughes

Non-Executive Director – Organisation Advisor

Steve Snape

Risk Register

Steve is a retired firefighter who served with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for 32 years. During this time he carried out a variety of roles including operational, technical fire safety, community fire safety and urban search and rescue. His final role was Service Delivery Manager where he was responsible for the running of 3 fire stations as well as the Urban Search and Rescue capability.

At the turn of the millennium he was involved with the Princes Trust assisting with running a leadership course as part of a 3 month course for young and disadvantaged young persons. As a result of this he was asked to assist Operation Florian with a project they were developing in Bosnia. In 2002 he was part of the first team to visit Neum and to start setting up the training that eventually took place  over a number of months.

Since then he has taken part in a number of projects including Paraguay, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Zimbabwe. He has also been involved in numerous fund raising events and assists where possible in activities such as container loading, stores tidying etc.

In 2009 he took on the role as project Manager for a small mission to Northern Bulgaria. He organised the fundraising events, secured a fire engine and equipment, led the team in driving across Europe and finally delivered training to a number of fire stations in the region.

Bethany Shorey

Non Executive Director - Marketing

Bethany started volunteering with Operation Florian in 2022, primarily to assist with the marketing and communication activities of the charity. She has experience of working in
both the fire and charity sectors, and currently works in the unexploded ordnance sector as a Marketing Coordinator.
Beth graduated from the University of South Wales with a first class honours degree in Photojournalism and has a level 4 qualification in Marketing from the Oxford College of Marketing.

Examples of work done for Operation Florian:

• Assist with managing social media accounts and creating content
• Re-designed the Operation Florian newsletter and introduced the 2023 schedule
• Assist with website updates
• Project liaison and liaising with international embassy’s when required
• Writing press releases and news articles
• Advising the board on marketing and communications matters

Matt Bedford

Non Executive Director - Web Development
Matt has been working as a volunteer for Operation Florian since 2021, when he designed and built the charity’s website.
He is a Full Stack Web Developer by trade, with over 15 years’ experience in the digital sector. He managed a web agency from 2009 to 2019 and was Marketing and Digital Director at the Swiss eCommerce Association before starting his new, UK business providing web development and systems integration.
He did a GNVQ in the public services at college, focused on the Fire and Rescue service, including a 2-week work experience stint at High Wycombe station with Green Watch. Matt narrowly avoided joining Hertfordshire F&R before moving to Italy aged 19.
Matt’s work for Operation Florian has included:
• Designing and building the new  Op Flo website
• Helping move the organisation’s digital assets and member lists from local to cloud storage
• Creating several integrations with site and external tools to help create efficiencies in the organization’s workflows
• Maintaining, monitoring and supporting the site since it’s completion, adding new features whenever required as well as working to safeguard site and data security

Get in touch

Please use this form to contact us with any questions you may have. We aim to reply within four working days.