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RNLI launches lifeboat funded by £8.5m Ferrari auction

A new Shannon-class lifeboat, named Richard and Caroline Colton, has been launched by the RNLI, following the biggest legacy in its history

The RNLI is no stranger to receiving generous gifts from people’s wills, but this gift from a rare Ferrari collector takes some beating.

Classic car enthusiast Richard Colton left a pair of rare 1960s sportscars to the lifeboat charity in his will when he passed away in 2015.

The cars sold at auction for a combined total of £8.53 million – part of which was used to build a new Shannon-class lifeboat, which was launched in Hastings last month (April 27), named Richard and Caroline Colton (for the owner and his wife).

The elder of the two cars sold was a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB (pictured below in red), which was ordered by Col. Ronnie Hoare to launch his UK distributor Maranello Concessionaires. It was sold at auction for £6.6million.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

Slightly younger but no less vintage in looks, the second model is a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (pictured below in silver) – one of only 27 ever built for the UK market – and it fetched £1.93 million when it went under the hammer in 2015.

Both models started life as demonstrators at Maranello, before Mr Colton snapped them up in the 1970s and drove them across the UK and Europe.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB-4

RNLI Hastings Coxswain, Phil Jones, said: “The naming ceremony and service of dedication is a very special day for everyone associated with the lifeboat station, and we are so grateful to the legacy of Richard Colton, for making this happen. His legacy will enable the station to carry out our lifesaving work and serve the community of Hastings.

“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 pay for the training and equipment we as lifeboat crew rely on when we launch into the unknown, in all weathers, day or night to save others.”

Despite this generous donation, the RNLI stressed that it still needs regular contributions to operate, as its fleet of lifeboats costs £410,000 per day to run.

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