Two rare classic Ferraris which sold for £8.5m have sped up the building of a new lifeboat boathouse in Pwllheli north Wales thanks to the bequest of Richard Colton. He entrusted them to Warrington based auctioneers H&H Classics who duly delivered the biggest bequest in the history of the RNLI.
The 1960s cars were donated to the lifeboat charity RNLI as a result of a bequest by footwear entrepreneur and classic car enthusiast Richard Colton after he died in 2015. The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB was sold at auction at the Imperial War Museum Duxford by H&H Classics in 2015 for £6.6m and a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 raised £1.93m.
The money raised has already paid for a Shannon Class lifeboat and associated sea launch and retrieve vehicle based in Hastings on the South Coast. Speaking after the auction in 2015 The RNLI’s Chief Executive, Paul Boissier said: “We are overwhelmed by the sale price of the two Ferraris, a legacy so generously gifted to our charity by car enthusiast Richard Colton. His legacy will help our volunteer crews carry out their lifesaving work around the coast. In line with Mr Colton’s wishes, some of the money raised from the sale will go towards funding a new Shannon class lifeboat which will be named after his Mr Colton and his late wife “Richard and Caroline Colton.”
Simon Hope, Chairman of H&H, commented: ““We have worked relentlessly with the RNLI over the past few months, promoting the cars all over the world, to ensure that we honoured the memory of Richard Colton properly. The sale result, including potentially new world record prices when confirmed, vindicates that effort and we are more than proud to have been a part of a legacy that will help save lives in the future.”
Now some £2.8m of the Colton Ferrari legacy money has helped to fund a boathouse on the Gwynedd coast, which officially opened this weekend.
Pwllheli's crew marked the proud day in their 130-year history with a triple celebration, which also saw the naming and dedication of their new Shannon class lifeboat and a new launch and recovery system.
Charles Denton, godson of late Northamptonshire businessman Mr Colton, officially opened the new boathouse on the Llyn Peninsula. Mr Colton, a partner in the footwear company Colton Brothers, died in 2015 aged 82. He was also a member of the V12 section of the Ferrari Owners' Club and had owned other Ferraris.
Speaking to H&H Classics Charles Denton said: “If it was not for H&H’s outstanding efforts in creating the “buzz” around the auction of the two RNLI Ferraris the legacy would not have reached as far as it has. It was an amazing result which I know would have delighted Richard.”
Tributes were paid to the generosity of Richard Colton, whose Ferraris helped pay for the boat's new home. The chairman of Pwllheli RNLI Lifeboat Management Group said it was "a proud day for all at Pwllheli RNLI and the start of a new chapter in the station's 130-year history".
The boathouse is now home to the latest Shannon class RNLI boat, which was named Smith Brothers in a dedication ceremony, and presented to the man who funded the lifeboat, Roger Smith from Tamworth in Staffordshire.