A fundraiser organised to buy the RNLI a rescue hovercraft and call it “The Flying Farage” has now reached more than £115,000.
The charity received a surge of support recently after it was dubbed a “taxi service” for migrants by Nigel Farage, and the fundraiser was sparked by these recent comments.
The initial target for the new RNLI hovercraft was £100,000 but after hitting that target, the organiser of the GoFundMe page, Simon Harris, adjusted the target to £150,000.
Harris posted an update to the page stating that it might not be practical to purchase a hovercraft, partially because they are only for use in areas of large mudflats, and for the English Channel an in-shore vessel might be more suitable.
The update also says that feedback suggests that calling it The Flying Farage “is going to be tricky”.
“For starters, there is a risk that Nigel will just sit back and bask in the glory of his named vessel being out saving lives, and there’s also the fact that I’ve been told by serving volunteers in no uncertain terms that it’s just generally a terrible idea,” it says.
The update adds: “However, there’s nothing to stop us being a little more subtle with the name, such as ‘The Flying Milkshake’...”
'There are many other things that we need to help run our service aside from lifeboats'
In a statement RNLI said: “We are incredibly grateful for the donations we receive to enable us to continue saving lives at sea and the outpouring of support we've received recently has been overwhelming. It is so important that we have the right lifesaving assets in the right locations to meet the demands of that stretch of coastline.”
It adds that money may need to be spent elsewhere. It states: “We must always ensure the kind donations we receive are spent wisely to ensure we can save lives as effectively as possible.
“There are many other things that we need to help run our service aside from lifeboats and hovercraft, including volunteer kit, training and fuel for our lifeboats – our supporters fuel our rescues and this money will go towards helping us with our mission to save every one particularly along the South East coastline. Their kindness means so much to us, without them we could not save lives at sea, every one is a lifesaver.”
It normally costs around £180m each year to run the RNLI charity.
After Farage's “taxi service” comments, the RNLI released footage from its work in The Channel. In the 24 hours following the communication it had seen a 2,000% increase in donations on the previous day.