RNLI receives surge in donations after Storm Ciara lifeboat video goes viral

Will Taylor
News Reporter

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has seen a huge surge in donations after a dramatic video of one of its boats being thrown around in Storm Ciara while rescuing a surfer went viral.

The RNLI has received nearly £25,000 in donations in the two days since the clip of one of its boats being rocked onto its side by a powerful wave was posted online.

The organisation posted it to its own Facebook page, and the extra money represents almost 25 times what it would usually expect from a fundraiser posted to the page.

Russell Tarr, the RNLI’s head of marketing, media and creative, told Yahoo News UK: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has shared the dramatic footage of our Hastings lifeboat crew battling the stormy conditions to search for a surfer and donated following this.”

An RNLI boat is brought ashore at St Ives, Cornwall (PA)

He added: “When asking for donations on our Facebook posts, we would normally expect to receive around £1,000.

“So, to have raised around almost £25,000 through this video footage being shared on social media is fantastic and we really appreciate this incredible level of support.”

The surfer that the crew in Hastings, East Sussex, were called out to was able to make their own way to safety and the lifeboat and crew were all unharmed.

Elsewhere over the stormy weekend, the RNLI in Falmouth, Cornwall, evacuated a person who needed medical attention from a tanker in gale force seven conditions and a Llandudno lifeboat was tasked to help a fisherman struggling to return to shore.

“The member of public who supplied us with the video, and our supporters who have shared it with their friends and family have been instrumental in giving us the ability to show people the conditions our volunteer crews can face when saving lives, and convey an important safety message on the sheer power of the sea in storm force conditions,” said Mr Tarr.

“On this occasion, it has also had a direct impact on donations.”

He added: “At a time when our lifeboat crews and lifeguards are busier than ever, this “real time” opportunity to engage with our supporters and generate essential funds is extremely beneficial to our crews as they face the seas to save everyone.”

A total of 95% of the RNLI’s income comes from donations. Click here to donate to the group, which is a charity staffed by volunteers.