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RNLI hoping to gobble up the competition in animated Turkey Dash charity race

Lifeboats News Release

PayPal has joined forces with Aardman and Channel 4 for a unique Christmas campaign that will boost donations to eight of the UK’s most loved charities – including the RNLI.

Turkey Dash will see an elite field of CGI turkeys – one representing each charity – undergo vigorous training powered by online donations from the charities’ supporters, climaxing in a prime time race broadcast during Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast on Channel 4 on Friday 15 December, commentated by TV presenter Steve Jones.

Turkey Dash started on Tuesday 28 November to mark Giving Tuesday – a global event that has been dubbed the antidote to Black Friday, and encourages people to do a good deed for charity. The campaign will run nationwide across broadcast, online and social media for two weeks, during which the British public will be asked to get behind a good cause by making a donation online to one of the eight turkeys. Each donation will in turn help the chosen turkey in their training regime before the big race.

After running a poll on social media to choose the turkey-come-athlete’s name, the RNLI’s supporters chose to call the feathery runner Captain McStuffing. Complete with the RNLI’s trademark yellow wellies, Captain McStuffing was designed at Aardman’s studio in Bristol along with the other seven turkeys.

John Bines, Director of Fundraising at the RNLI, says: ‘We’re delighted to be involved in Turkey Dash this Christmas. It’s a really fun way to raise money for some great charities, and hopefully Captain McStuffing will cross the finish line first for the RNLI on Friday 15 December! But the only way that will happen is if lots of people donate online at So please support us and help our feathered friend win this race, while raising vital funds to help us continue saving lives at sea.’

Alison Sagar, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Consumer at PayPal UK, explains: ‘With Turkey Dash, we wanted to show the power of online payments to do good. Last Christmas, more than a million people in the UK made a donation to their favourite cause with PayPal. This year, we want to encourage even more donations! We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to inspire our customers and show them the breadth of what PayPal has to offer. We think we’ve got something really special this year thanks to the combined efforts of eight incredible charities, Aardman and Channel 4.’

All donations will be processed through PayPal Giving Fund UK, a registered not-for-profit organisation that uses technology to help charities find new supporters and raise funds in a safe and secure way. PayPal Giving Fund UK does not charge charities any fees for enrolling or receiving donations, ensuring they receive all funds including Gift Aid.

Aardman director Darren Dubicki comments: ‘Who doesn’t love the idea of animated turkeys? With Turkey Dash, we’re playing to the great British sense of humour we all share, while encouraging people to dig deep for a good cause. We’ll be working on the animation right up until race day, which will be a little nerve wracking!’

The eight charities participating in the Turkey Dash are:

For more information on Turkey Dash visit:

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Luke Blissett, RNLI National Media Manager, on 01202 66336497 / Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email

The RNLI's CGI turkey running with it's name underneath


Captain McStuffing

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland