Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Donations to rescue charity soar

Whale rescue
Rescuers tried to keep the whale cool as they moved it by barge

A previously little-known charity has received 10,000 in donations since it co-ordinated an attempt to rescue London's lost whale.

One volunteer told BBC News it would usually take an entire year for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) group to receive as much.

But mass media coverage turned the spotlight onto the 18-year-old rescue team, and money began to pour in.

The extra cash will ensure the group can foot its 5,000 rescue bill.

Thousands of Londoners lining the riverside, and it is thought, millions of viewers around the world, watched the volunteers battle to save the disorientated 11-year-old northern bottle-nosed whale.

Faye Archell, from the group, said: "We have had 10,000 of donations direct to our website - that is as much as we would usually raise in a year."

The entire costs of the operation were estimated at 100,000, had the group had to hire the rescue barge and pay people's salaries.

But the Port of London Authority donated the barge and its help, meaning costs were kept to a minimum at just 5,000.


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