A lifeboat paid for after a Stanwick man left two of the world’s rarest Ferraris to the RNLI has finally hit the water and is set to save lives.
The new Shannon class lifeboat was escorted to her new home in Hastings on Saturday (October 13), surrounded by a flotilla of other lifeboats.
But with a price tag of £2.2 million, this was only possible through the generosity of Richard Colton of Stanwick who left an extraordinary legacy to the RNLI.
Mr Colton, who was a major shoe distributor in the county as a partner of Irchester-based Colton Brothers and collected classic cars for about 40 years, died in March 2015.
He requested that money raised from the sale of two of the world’s rarest Ferraris after his death be used to build a new RNLI lifeboat called Richard and Caroline Colton, named after himself and his late wife.
The classic cars were sold at auction for £8.5 million, making the vehicles the most valuable items ever left to the RNLI, and part of this has been used to fund the new Hastings lifeboat.
Mr Colton’s legacy is also funding the new launch and recovery rig, which will be named Richard and Mark Colton, after his late son Mark.
Throughout his lifetime, Mr Colton was a supporter of the RNLI and he participated in the Ecurie Ecosse Historic Motor Tour in 1991 to raise funds to build a new lifeboat station at Invergordon.
Crew training has already started for the Shannon, which is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet.
Being capable of 25 knots, it is almost 50 per cent faster than the Mersey class lifeboat currently stationed at Hastings.
She is also the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.
The new boat can also be launched straight off the beach via the new and improved launch and recovery system which has already arrived on station.
Speaking earlier this year, Peter Adams, Hasting Lifeboat’s operations manager, said: “This is fantastic news for the town.
“The RNLI has shown its faith in us by allocating a brand new Shannon lifeboat to Hastings.
“The challenge for us now is learning to handle the very best that 21st century lifeboat technology has to offer.”
An official naming ceremony for the new lifeboat bought with Mr Colton’s legacy is due to be held next April.