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RNLI and others to benefit from auction of £1.1M classic car collection

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is one of many beneficiaries set to benefit from the sale of a collection of classic cars from the late banker Robert Furniss Riding.


Some of the cars pictured outside Ramsey RNLI Lifeboat Station

The 15 cars – headed by a selection of Rolls-Royce and Bentleys – were offered for sale ‘without reserve’ by H&H Classics at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, last week [Wednesday 19 October] racking up a total of £1.1M.

The collection spans various decades of the twentieth century, with the oldest being a 1924 Bentley 3 Litre Vanden Plas Tourer which sold for £140,000.

Helen Hopkins, Head of Legacies at the RNLI said: ‘We are incredibly grateful to the late Robert Furniss Riding for naming the RNLI as one of the beneficiaries of his estate, along with many other beneficiaries.

‘The sale of the classic car collection will form a part of the donation as the RNLI is the residuary beneficiary, so we’re very grateful to see it raise so much money.

‘Six in ten lifeboat launches are only possible due to gifts in Wills. Any gift left to the RNLI, large or small, makes a huge difference.’

Paul Cheetham who consigned the collection for H&H Classics, said: ‘This fabulous selection is evidence of Bob Riding’s wide-ranging taste in classic cars.

‘It is a marvellous cross-section of some of the best of the last century’s most sought-after cars, and their sale will benefit one of Britain’s most beloved institutions, the RNLI.’

Colette McKay, MD of H&H Classics, said: ‘We were delighted and honoured to be chosen to handle this distinguished collection, the second time in ten years that we’ve been selected to market a major bequest to the RNLI who will doubtless put it to the very best use’

Born in 1940 as an only child, Bob was educated at Stockport Grammar School then read natural sciences at Christ Church, Oxford. He joined William Deacon’s Bank, and made a rapid ascent through it and its subsequent iterations ending up as Group Treasurer of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Bob was a passionate sailor during his time in the City, but on retiring to the Isle of Man, Bob switched his focus to collecting cars, and he had to move to a large country house to find garaging for the ever-growing collection.

As a charity, the RNLI relies on donations, and gifts left in Wills make six in ten lifeboat launches possible. Gifts in Wills help the RNLI fund the kit, training and lifeboats that help the charity save lives at sea.

During October, anyone interested in leaving a donation to the RNLI in their Will can write or update theirs for free with the RNLI’s free Will writing service either online, over the phone, or face-to-face. Visit for more information.


The late Robert Furniss Riding


1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sedanca Coupe

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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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.