RNLI raises £200,000 in 24 hours after hitting back on ‘taxi service’ claim

30 Jul 2021 News

RNLI Portrush crew member. Credit Nigel Millard.

The RNLI has raised more than £200,000 in one day, following its response to criticism from Nigel Farage.

Farage had accused the RNLI of becoming a “taxi service” for migrants.

The RNLI released footage from its work in The Channel and in the 24 hours following the communication it had seen a 2,000% increase in donations on the previous day. 

On Wednesday the RNLI also revealed that volunteering inquiries have almost quadrupled, with a 270% increase in people viewing volunteering opportunities on its website, and it has received thousands of messages of support on social media.

Mark Dowie, chief executive of the RNLI, made clear that the charity operates under International Maritime Law, and does not judge peoples circumstances.

“We do not judge a casualty on what circumstances have found them in trouble,” Dowie said. 

‘This was never a fundraising campaign’

Receiving £200,000 in charitable donations is around 30 times the RNLI’s average of £6,000 to £7,000 per day. 

Jayne George, RNLI’s fundraising director, said: “This was never a fundraising campaign – we simply wanted to tell the story of our crews and make it clear that our charity exists to save lives at sea.”

Donations have come from a mixture of one-off payments, new supporters and people increasing their regular contribution.

It normally costs around £180m each year to run the RNLI charity.

George said: “We are overwhelmed with the huge level of support we have received in the last couple of days,” adding “our mission is to save everyone. Our supporters’ kindness means so much to us. Without them we could not save lives at sea; everyone is a lifesaver.”

She added “this is a polarising issue and people have strong opinions on the subject”, adding that a small number of supporters have contacted the RNLI to withdraw their support.

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