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ITV's 'Inside The London Fire Brigade' hero speaks

SAVING LIVES: Edric Kennedy-Macfo

EDRIC KENNEDY-Macfo has become a recognisable face in light of his involvement in trying to fight the monstrous fire during the Grenfell Tower disaster and further exposure via ITV's Inside the London Fire Brigade.

Q: Tell us little bit about your upbringing?

Edric: I was born Edric O'Holi but took my mothers maiden name as she had requested weeks before she passed December 17th 2005. I grew up in Willesden Green until the age of 8 and then ended up in Harrow where I spent most of my childhood life.

My mother raised me stern but fair. I felt unconditional love from her from the moment she gave me life to the moment in which her own came to an end. To say I was a mummy's boy would be a massive understatement. My mother raised 3 of us single handedly the best way she knew how; she played mother, father, sister, brother, and best friend to me. She raised me with the core values and skills I have depended on to get through in life without her.

Q: When did you realise that becoming a firefighter was the career you wanted to pursue?

Edric: I heard a recruitment advertisement over the radio whilst at work one day. I was 20 at the time. I stopped and thought, The London fire brigade, now that seems like a cool job! Helping others, saving lives, learning new skills, working closely with a team, being a role model and educating the community. This was something I would willingly do for no payment. I'd always thought that finding a job you'd do for free was the ultimate winner and realised this could be it.

Q: What would you say are some of the key highlights and challenges of working as a firefighter that many people wouldn't know about?

Edric: Giving your life and your time for a worthy cause. I truly believe my purpose in life is to lift people up and bring happiness and joy in to the lives of others.

One of the biggest challenges has to be dealing with tragic incidents. Bearing witness to death, pain and suffering is never an easy thing. Especially if you're a sensitive sausage like myself. The shift pattern can also be challenge. You can miss moments you'll never get back; your child's first steps, words, etc.

Q: As you had to raise your brother from a young age, caring and looking after people is something that you've had to do for a while. Would you say becoming a firefighter and looking after people's wellbeing is something you became passionate about during that difficult time following your mother's death?

Edric: I've been the way I am from an early age. I'll help anyone I can and I'd help everyone if I could. I always stretch myself thin trying to do the best by everybody. This is just the way I am, I'm my Mothers son – I love people as she did. I've brought homeless people into my home and cooked for them, let them shower and freshen up, and clothed them. Nothing gives me more satisfaction then helping those in need.

Q: How did you get involved with the ITV documentary 'Inside the London Fire Brigade'?

Edric: I just happened to be working on one of the Watches that the production company wanted to film, Battersea Blue Watch. I call it fate. The events that lead to be ending up at Battersea blue watch makes it difficult to dispute.

Q: What was your experience within the Grenfell Tower fire and how did it feel not only to witness it, but to speak about it for the documentary?

Edric: Unfortunately there's not much i can say, but what I will say is that Grenfell Tower was a very challenging incident. The conditions as I advanced became unbearable, and the things I witnessed whilst completing my brief will remain with me for eternity. Never in my career have I come across anything on that scale. Not even a close comparison. My heart bleeds for all those affected by The Grenfell tragedy.

Q: Now that you have experienced being in the TV industry, is that something you'd like to pursue more?

Edric: As I said, I believe in things happening for reason and ending up exactly where I'm supposed to be. Where that is, I really don't know at this moment.

Being in front of the camera is something that doesn't come natural to me. It took some serious warming up to get use to the camera in my space, but when I got comfortable with the crew I absolutely loved the experience. I felt like a film star. It was so exciting!

Q: Tell me more about the Firefighter Fit Squad and how that came about?

Edric: I have always been into not fitness and also having a healthy life style and balance. Throughout the many struggles I've faced in my life, exercise and faith are the tools that have kept me sane. Mental health issues is a big issue that many face today and regular exercise combats this as well as many other conditions. This is the reason my team and I came up with the Firefighter Fit Squad.

We promote not just a healthy body but a healthy mind. We create accessible fun workouts to ensure people are 'always ready', both mentally and physically for whatever challenges they may face in life. Our motto is, You don't have to be a firefighter to be firefighter fit!

You're currently working on your debut book 'How To Be A Vegan' which is due out next year. What can we expect from the book, and how will it differ from other self-help/healthy eating books?

Edric: Magic is the answer to this question! You can expect magic. It's the guide I wish I had when making my transition. It will outline everything whilst dispellingthe myths of veganism. It'll be the vegan bible you won't leave the house without, and this book is not just about veganism it's a shared journey, a spiritual one, it's enlightenment and unity.

Q: What more can we expect from you in the future?

Edric: The future is looking brighter and brighter each day as I am being extended more and more opportunities. I have the first draft written on my children's book based on the fire service and I'm very excited about this project as sending a message out to the children about not just fire safety but life skills, respect, compassion, courtesy etc is something I'm very passionate about. It also gives me a chance to get creative and think like a child which is something that I love and am great at.

There are so many prospects for the future. Watch this space.

Tune into the third and final part of ITV's Inside The London Firebrigade tonight at 9pm

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