Rolls-Royce Motorcars and the British Music Legend, the late Sir George Martin CBE, have made a donation to the Charity, the Fly Navy Heritage Trust, to help keep the Nation’s rare and historically significant naval heritage aircraft flying.
The donation of £66,667 was made from the proceeds of the sale of a highly- bespoke Rolls-Royce Wraith, inspired by the legacy of songwriter and producer, Sir George Martin’s contribution to the British Music Industry.
One of a series of nine ‘Inspired by British Music’ cars, created in collaboration with some of British music’s most revered rock and vocal artists, the stunning George Martin Wraith sold at auction last month for £350,000.
Speaking of the donation James Crichton, Rolls-Royce Motorcars Manager Europe said “Rolls-Royce Motorcars is delighted to have had the opportunity to celebrate Sir George Martin’s inspirational musical legacy through his son, Giles, with a bespoke, hand-built motor car. The car particularly showcases Sir George’s legendary work with the Beatles and is a deeply personal expression of his music and personality. What this collaboration has achieved is an ultimate collectors’ piece with an unrivalled place in our national musical culture and heritage, and we are especially pleased that proceeds of the sale will also support Sir George’s chosen charity.”
Sir George Martin CBE was an Ambassador and active supporter of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust for many years and the car was offered for auction at the Charity’s prestigious Ambassadors’ Dinner in The Orangery at Kensington Palace in October.
Speaking at the dinner, Giles Martin said: “My father had a huge impact on British Music during his career and this magnificent car is a tribute to a lifetime of achievement. He did so much to influence a golden era in British music and he would have been thrilled, especially with the interior details including his number one hits listed on the hallmark Wraith waterfall! I am delighted that proceeds from the sale will go to the Fly Navy Heritage Trust.”
Sir George, known as ‘the Fifth Beatle’, served as an Observer in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy for four years, joining as soon as he was old enough, at 17 in 1943.
“My father always said that joining the Fleet Air Arm was the best thing he ever did” continued Giles. “He enjoyed the banter and camaraderie, but more than that, the ethos, professionalism and approach to technological problem solving inspired him for the rest of his life.”
Likening the skills he had acquired flying as an Observer in the Fleet Air Arm, to that of a Music Producer, George Martin said that his formative years flying in the Navy had shaped his future career. “As a Music Producer, you bring everything together in the same way that an Observer does in an aircraft.”
The car sold to classic car collector, Rodger Dudding, a former Royal Navy engineering apprentice whose father also served in the Fleet Air Arm.
Rodger, whose Studio 434 collection of vintage cars is one of the largest in Europe, said “I am proud to be the owner of this magnificent car and to support the Nation’s naval aviation heritage at the same time. I know that Sir George wanted to ‘give back’ to a cause that had personally given him so much as a young man – enabling the pioneering ingenuity and technical innovation of naval flying to live on in the flying heritage aircraft. I feel very much the same - and the George Martin Wraith will be a gem in my collection.”
The cheque was handed over at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton last week with two classic vintage carrier-borne aircraft, the Fairey Swordfish and Hawker Sea Fury as a backdrop. Commodore Jock Alexander OBE FRAeS, Chief Executive of the Charity said “The challenges of restoring and maintaining rare heritage aircraft are enormous. The scarcity of spares, particularly make it increasingly expensive and this generous donation will provide vital funds to keep the Navy’s heritage aircraft flying as a focus of remembrance and inspiration for future generations.”
Simon Hope, Chairman of H&H Classics and auctioneer at the Kensington Palace Dinner said “It was a privilege to sell a car with such a unique provenance. The rarity value of such an inspirational classic is unrivalled and I am delighted that it will have pride of place in a nationally important collection.”
For more information on the Navy Wings charity visit their website: Click Here