RNLI receives more than £200,000 in donations after Nigel Farage called them a ‘migrant taxi service’

RNLI receives more than £200,000 in donations after Nigel Farage called them a ‘migrant taxi service’

People are coming to the defence of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and have donated more than £200,000 to the charity after it was attacked by Nigel Farage who compared them to a “taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs”.

In a five minute rant on his GB News show on Wednesday evening, the former leader of the Brexit Party again criticised the RNLI after its chief executive Mark Dowie directly responded to Farage in the Guardian, saying that the institution was “very proud” of its humanitarian work and that its purpose was to save lives. More than 9,000 people have reportedly crossed the Channel in 2021.

In response, Farage claimed that he had “massive admiration” for the RNLI but believes that the French and British authorities are not doing enough to stop migrant boats from attempting to cross the Channel. Farage then doubled down on his comments claiming he was “pointing out the truth” and bragged that if they want a fight he’s “fought people bigger and uglier than you.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the RNLI had released a four-minute video, featuring bodycam footage of a rescue of a dinghy, full of people, that was stuck in perilous conditions.

Of course, Farage has had a few people parrot his remarks, such as Darren Grimes who called the rescue missions in the Channel “deeply irresponsible.” However, the majority of people have come out in support of the RNLI with many feeling that the lifeboat charity should not be having to be defend itself against these accusations and thanking them for their heroic work.

Others have pledged to donate more money to the cause and encouraged others to do the same.

It has since been revealed that more than £200,000 has been raised for the RNLI via their website in the last 24 hours which is a 2000 per cent increase from the previous day. Their usual average is between £6000 to £7000. There has also been a 270 per cent increase in people viewing volunteer roles on the site too.

In a press release Jayne George, the RNLI Fundraising Marketing and Media Director said: "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 £200K 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 everyone. Our supporters’ kindness means so much to us, without them we could not save lives at sea, everyone is a lifesaver.

"We know that this is a polarising issue and people have strong opinions on the subject. Sadly, a small number of supporters have contacted us to withdraw their support."

Farage began complaining about the migrant boats arriving in the UK last year and specifically focused on those arriving in Kent and Sussex. This appears to have whipped up a minority of people who have apparently taken to abusing RNLI volunteers when they returned to shore after rescuing migrants.

An anonymous volunteer told the BBC that they have been confronted by “angry mobs” and called it “one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever seen” with another saying that “some drunken yob threw a beer can at them” at a group of migrant women and children.

Much criticism has also been aimed at Priti Patel and the home office who have been using Facebook adverts in an attempt to stop migrants from making their way across the channel from the camps in Calais and Dunkirk.

The ads on Facebook and Instagram featured slogans such as “There is no hiding place”, “Don’t put your or your child’s life in danger” and “We will return you” – translated into Kurdish, Arabic, Persian and Pashto.

The Home Office claim that these adverts have reached thousands of people and aim to highlight the risks of making the journey across the sea. However, data compiled by PA finds that more than 7,000 people still made the journey since the five-month ad campaign ended.

Many of those who saw the campaign on Facebook and Instagram are people who have been assisted by migrant charity Care4Calais while living in France.

Founder Clare Moseley accused the Home Office of “wasting money” and called on the Government to step up to help refugees.

She added: “I’m genuinely horrified by the lengths this Government will go to to avoid helping desperate people.“Refugees risk their lives to escape from some of the world’s most dangerous countries, fully aware that this could be the last journey they make.

“It’s extremely naive of this Government to think that social media ads will deter them. This isn’t a choice.”

It costs on average £180 million to run each year. The charity has 238 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and Ireland and it does not act as border patrol. When a rescue is complete responsibility is handed over to the necessary authorities.

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