THE RNLI has been criticised for its role in rescuing migrants in the English Channel with Nigel Farage saying it is being used as a "taxi service" for illegal gangs.

But this Northern Echo reader has defended the charity's role in saving lives and has hit back at those suggesting they should be operating any differently.

James Scott, Sunderland

Thank you for highlighting in your newspaper and website of 18 December, our efforts in raising funds for the magnificent volunteers of the RNLI lifeboats.

I am pleased that all those generous people who put a couple of quid in our collection buckets during the year can see where the money ends up, in this case with the lovely people of RNLI Amble station.

It is never easy to encourage the public to hand over their hard-earned cash, and this year we have received plenty of flak from some bigoted, heartless people who severely criticise the RNLI for rescuing immigrants in the English Channel.

Read more: County Durham man makes huge model lifeboats - and you’ll be impressed

The organisation is committed to saving all lives at sea, and the plight of these desperate, vulnerable and exploited people has brought tears to the eyes of many hardened lifeboatmen.

Of course, they should not be there, but that is the job of Governments to sort out. The RNLI avoids involvement in politics…...there are always more immediate issues for the volunteer crews, shore staff and supporters.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. The RNLI has 238 stations operating 444 lifeboats around the coasts of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as some inland waterways.

Most members of the crews are unpaid volunteers. RNLI lifeguards patrol more than 200 beaches during the summer months and there are Flood Rescue Teams to operate nationally and internationally.

The RNLI is principally funded by legacies and donations.


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