Hastings RNLI crew abused for rescuing migrants - ‘They are brave and face terrible danger. Gratitude and praise is what they deserve, not abuse.”

Hastings RNLI lifeboat crew members have been subjected to abuse from some people for rescuing migrants who have crossed the Channel, the charity has confirmed.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 10:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 11:33 am

The news comes after a resident slammed the negative comments she said the volunteer crews had received following recent incidents in which Hastings RNLI has been called out to.

Sandie Carlyon, of St Leonards, said: “I have recently heard that our local lifeboatmen and women have been subjected to abuse from the public. This is because they have been escorting and bringing to shore migrants that have crossed the Channel.

“The crew are requested by the Coastguard to help as the people on these boats need to be brought to safety. The RNLI are there to save and preserve life, not decide who deserves it or not. Politics has nothing to do with them.

Hastings RNLI. Photo by Sid Saunders. SUS-210914-094801001

“Someone was heard saying ‘It’s taxpayers’ money’. It’s not. The RNLI is a charity entirely supported by donations and gifts from wills. The Government does not pay a penny towards them.

“The crew are ordinary people who work for a living and give up their time to help others. They are brave and face terrible danger sometimes in their rescues. Gratitude and praise is what they deserve, not abuse.”

Last Monday (September 6) a group of migrants landed on the shore at Hastings.

The Home Office said there were a number of small boat crossings across the Channel on that day, with Hastings RNLI’s lifeboat being sent out to assist Border Force, the coastguard and police.

According to national reports yesterday, hundreds of men, women and children were spotted trying to make the journey across the Channel to the UK last Monday.

Yesterday (Monday, September 13), Hastings RNLI crews were called out to assist in rescue operations in the Channel.

A spokesman for the RNLI said: “We would like to thank the letter writer for their kind words and support of the charity.

“There are instances where our crew at Hastings have had negative comments made to them about their rescues of those who have crossed the Channel, and they are aware of the heated debate in the press and social media on this issue.

“However Hastings RNLI receives overwhelming support from the local community.

“In common with other coastal towns around the UK, the people of Hastings understand that the volunteer crews of the RNLI will launch at all times of the day and night, often in very difficult conditions, to save the lives of those they have never met.

“The crew do not judge the actions of the casualties they rescue, and will treat them all with compassion and respect.

“Our crews have been doing so for 198 years and are proud of this long tradition. We are grateful for the generous support of all those who donate to keep our crews safe, and to help bring those in trouble back safely to the shore.”