Charity Sees Massive Donations Boost After Criticism from Right-Wing Politicians

Nigel Farage picked a fight with volunteers who save people from drowning. He lost.

29 July 2021, 5:27pm

A volunteer organisation that saves people from drowning has recorded a massive boost in donations after right-wing agitators criticised it for saving migrants who are lost at sea.

The RNLI is a volunteer-run service in the UK that runs life-boats which save lives at sea. It announced on Thursday that it had received 2,000 percent more in donations on Wednesday than it had on the previous day, and significantly more than the daily average of £6,000 to £7,000.


The boost in donations followed criticism from right-wing political figures for saving migrants who are lost at sea. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who now has a show on right-wing news channel GB news, has called the RNLI a “taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs”.

The RNLI has also been criticised by Jayda Fransen, the former leader of far-right group Britain First, as well as other anti-migrant groups.

The criticism comes as increasing numbers of migrants attempt to reach the UK by making the dangerous crossing across the English Channel in boats. Net migration to the UK has fallen in recent years, however the Channel crossings are very visible and have become highly politicised by figures such as Farage. Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced measures to deter the crossings, but she has been criticised by human rights groups for not creating safe routes for migration.

The service has said its volunteers had received abuse because of the criticism.

RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie came out swinging this week, making an unapologetic media statement. “‘I could not be prouder of our amazing volunteer lifeboat crews, who launch to the aid of anyone who is in trouble in or around the water and needs our help. We have done this since the RNLI was founded in 1824 and this will always be our ethos,” he said. “Every year, our lifeboat crews and lifeguards rescue around 30,000 people. We do not judge a casualty on what circumstances have found them in trouble.”


“These same principles apply to our lifesaving work in the Channel. We do not judge those we rescue – where we believe there is a risk to life at sea, we will always launch in response to a call from HM Coastguard. We want to be absolutely clear that we are incredibly proud of the work our volunteer lifeboat crews do to rescue vulnerable people in distress.”

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The RNLI also released a video showing harrowing footage of rescues. The result was an outpouring of support for the RNLI and an increase in donations.

Jayne George, the RNLI’s fundraising director, said in a statement, “We are overwhelmed with the huge level of support we have received from our amazing supporters in the last couple of days.

“We have seen an uplift in donations, with over £200,000 being donated yesterday alone through a combination of one off donations, new regular support and supporters increasing their regular donation amount. This is simply incredible.

“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. Our mission is to save every one. Our supporters’ kindness means so much to us, without them we could not save lives at sea, every one is a lifesaver.”

The charity said it had also seen a small number of regular donors stop donating.

On Wednesday night Farage said he stood by his comments, but added that he is “a supporter of the work they do.”


immigration, worldnews, RNLI, lifeboats

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