Lifeboat funded by Ferraris officially named at Hastings RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday 27 April, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) held the official naming ceremony of the Shannon class lifeboat stationed at Hastings. The all-weather boat has been funded by the generous legacy of the late Richard Colton who left two classic Ferraris to the RNLI in his will.

The crew of the newly named Hastings Lifeboat 'Richard and Caroline Colton'

RNLI/Kt Bruce

The crew of the newly named Hastings Lifeboat 'Richard and Caroline Colton'

Businessman Richard Colton passed away in March 2015 and left an extraordinary legacy to the RNLI of two of the world’s rarest Ferraris. Both went to auction, a 1960 red Ferrari 250 GT SWB sold for £6.6m, while a silver 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 sold for £1.93m – making the vehicles the most valuable items ever left to the RNLI in a single legacy.

Part of this has been used to fund the all-weather lifeboat Richard and Caroline Colton and launch and recovery system for the lifeboat at Hastings. Designed in-house by RNLI naval architects, the Shannon class lifeboat was introduced to the RNLI’s fleet in 2013. The Shannon class is the first of the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats to be powered by water-jets rather than traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable lifeboat in the charity’s fleet.

The special ceremony, held at the lifeboat station, was attended by a large crowd who were welcomed by the RNLI’s crew and volunteers, along with the family of Richard Colton and dignitaries.

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.’

Richard Colton, a Northamptonshire businessman, had a distinguished career in footwear distribution and for 40 years collected and actively restored 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.

Mrs Jo Adams, cousin of Richard Colton who performed the naming duties on the day, said: ‘As Richard’s first cousin and sadly the last surviving Colton, I, together with all my family and his friends are immensely proud of this wonderful gesture! It is of even greater significance personally because my husband and I have always been keen offshore sailors and recognise full well what the RNLI means to the sailing community amongst many others.’

Charles Denton, godson of Richard Colton, said: ‘What a great day! To see all those people, classic cars and ‘Richard and Caroline Colton’ looking spotless made for a very moving occasion. A fitting tribute to a fantastic legacy. Thank you to the RNLI for holding such a wonderful event.’

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Notes to Editors

The two Ferraris left in Richard Colton’s legacy were a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase (SWB) Berlinetta chassis 1995 GT, of which just 167 were made with a mere ten being supplied new to the UK market; and a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 chassis 10177 GT – thought by many to be the ultimate front-engined, Enzo-era Ferrari road car.

Thank you to the RNLI for holding such a wonderful event.’

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

  • Photos taken from the event
  • Photos of the Ferraris with the Shannon and the Hastings lifeboat crew
  • The two Ferraris left in Richard Colton’s legacy were a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase (SWB) Berlinetta chassis 1995 GT, of which just 167 were made with a mere ten being supplied new to the UK market; and a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 chassis 10177 GT – thought by many to be the ultimate front-engined, Enzo-era Ferrari road car.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07785 296252 or Paul_Dunt@rnli.org.uk or Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager, on 07827 358256 or Julie_Rainey@rnli.org.uk . Alternatively, you can content the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

Mrs Jo Adams, cousin of Richard Colton, performed the naming duties.

RNLI/Kt Bruce

Mrs Jo Adams, cousin of Richard Colton, performed the naming duties.
The newly named lifeboat is launched.

RNLI/Kt Bruce

The newly named lifeboat is launched.
Relatives of Richard Colton pictured with the lifeboat and launch and recovery system.

RNLI/Kt Bruce

Relatives of Richard Colton pictured with the lifeboat and launch and recovery system.
The £6.6m Ferrari, the newly named Hastings Lifeboat and the Hastings RNLI volunteer crew.

RNLI/Kt Bruce

The £6.6m Ferrari, the newly named Hastings Lifeboat and the Hastings RNLI volunteer crew.
Dignatories, relatives and crew at the naming ceremony.

RNLI/Kt Bruce

Dignatories, relatives and crew at the naming ceremony.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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