Two rare Ferraris left in a will by a Northamptonshire businessman have raised more than £8.5 million for the RNLI.
Richard Colton, who lived in Stanwick, left a 250 GT SWB and a 275/GTB/4 to the charity, which sold for £6.6 million and £1.93 million respectively at auction earlier this week.
Money raised from the sale will be used to build a new lifeboat called Richard and Caroline Colton, named after Richard and his late wife.
Mr Colton had a distinguished career in footwear distribution and who for 40 years collected and actively campaigned sensational classic cars.
Described by close friends as “a shy and private man”, he was known to be somewhat nervous of the sea, which may have added to his great respect for the men and women who risk their lives daily around Britain’s coast. When deciding on which charity to leave this splendid legacy of two classic Ferraris, there was only one choice, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Wilson Browne Solicitors, based in Northampton, helped Mr Colton to draft his will.
A spokesman for the legal firm said: “The real story is perhaps not the cars themselves but the fact that a local entrepreneur and businessman would leave such a fantastic gift to charity.
“We are proud to not only have been instrumental in helping Richard Colton draft his Will but to have been entrusted to ensure his wishes were effectively executed,” he added.
“In addition, Wilson Browne Solicitors ensured that Mr Colton received the expert advice from us to ensure his substantial legacy was planned in a tax efficient way.” the spokesman said.
Joint executor, Jim Kearns, worked closely with the auction house, ensuring that the estate of local businessman Richard Colton was executed in line with his wishes, with the proceeds going to fund the RNLI.
He said: “It is a remarkable and generous legacy. All of us at Wilson Browne Solicitors are proud to be part of such an exciting and wonderful bequest and it’s testament to the faith Richard had in us as experts in the field that he not only relied on us for his Will but asked us to ensure that we got the best possible price (as joint executors) so the money could be put to work for the RNLI.”
He added: “The exquisite cars really were the ‘impossible gift’. To leave them to an individual would have incurred 40% inheritance tax meaning that the cars would most likely have to be sold to pay for it. Leaving them to a charitable cause as noble as the RNLI means that they get the maximum value.”
RNLI 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 Mr Colton and his late wife Richard and Caroline Colton.
“Six out of ten lifeboat launches are only made possible by legacies, large and small, left to the RNLI in people’s wills. These gifts help pay for the training and equipment our lifeboat crews rely on when they launch into the unknown, in all weathers, day or night to save others.
“We are deeply grateful to Mr Colton for his generosity which will be felt most by our volunteers and the people whose lives they save.”