Over £42,000 has been donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution after a mock fundraiser was set up to buy the organisation a new hovercraft and name it ‘The Flying Farage’.
The tongue-in-cheek GoFundMe page is already nearing the halfway mark of its £100,000 goal after being set up on Saturday, July 31.
Its playful name is a thinly-veiled shot at former UKIP leader and GB News presenter Nigel Farage, 57, who had described the charity as a ‘migrant taxi service’ after rescuing people crossing the Channel in tiny boats.
Simon Harris, the fundraiser’s creator, said he was inspired to raise the funds for a ‘lifesaving hovercraft’ after Farage’s ‘active interest’ in the RNLI’s recent activities.
Mr Harris, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, also donated more than £5,000 on his Facebook page after taking the sarcastic swipe at Mr Farage.
GoFundMe page creator Simon Harris wrote in the description: ‘I am trying to raise enough money to buy a new lifesaving hovercraft for the RNLI, and I would like it to be called ‘The Flying Farage’.
‘I feel this would be incredibly appropriate due to Mr Farage taking such an active interest in the RNLI’s activities right now.’
The tongue-in-cheek GoFundMe page, set up by Simon Harris of Southend-on-Sea, is already nearing the halfway mark of its £100,000 goal after being set up on Saturday, July 31
Controversy over the RNLI’s role in rescuing migrants began when former UKIP leader Nigel Farage wrote online: ‘Sadly the wonderful RNLI in Kent has become a taxi service for illegal immigration, to the dismay of all involved’
Ex-Ukip leader and GB News presenter Nigel Farage, 57, (above) points out a migrant boat crossing the English Channel
He joked leftover funds would be used to smash a pint of ale on the hovercraft during the naming ceremony – or even buy a second vessel and name it after political commentators Katie Hopkins or Darren Grimes.
The description continued: ‘If there is any money left over, we will purchase a pint of real English ale to smash against the front in the naming ceremony, and if there is loads of money left over we may even buy a second vessel and call it ‘The Galloping Grimes’ or ‘The Hovering Hopkins’.
‘Please give generously.’
Mr Harris added: ‘The final decision about whether or not to proceed with ‘The Flying Farage’ is entirely at their [the RNLI’s] discretion.’
Dramatic bodyworn footage of a dinghy full of migrants being rescued by the RNLI in the English Channel has been released by the charity this month
Controversy over the RNLI’s role in rescuing migrants began when former UKIP leader Nigel Farage wrote online: ‘Sadly the wonderful RNLI in Kent has become a taxi service for illegal immigration, to the dismay of all involved.’
Then at the weekend the RNLI’s Tower lifeboat crew tweeted: ‘We are shocked and saddened to report some of our volunteer crew were verbally assaulted due to their role when reporting for duty tonight.’
Farage’s comments sparked a backlash from the charity’s chief executive, Mark Dowie, as well as a flood of donations of more than £200,000 – around 30 times its £6,000-£7,000 daily average.
Volunteering inquiries are also understood to have quadrupled.
Mr Farage insisted he did not want to pick a fight with the RNLI but had spoken to lifeboat crew and local residents who were unhappy at the situation.
He said on GB News: ‘All I can tell you is a very, very large number of people in our coastal communities are deeply disquieted by what’s going on.’
Record numbers of migrants are trying to cross the Channel, despite vows from the Home Office to make the route from mainland Europe ‘unviable’.
More than 9,000 people have made it so far this year on board small boats, despite the dangerous journey claiming lives in the past.
In July so far, more than 3,300 have arrived in the UK in a new record for a single month.
A RNLI spokesman 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.
‘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.’