RNLI opens lifeboat station paid for by Northamptonshire boot and shoe businessman's legacy of £8m Ferraris

Richard Colton left the two classic cars to charity because he was "nervous" of the sea

Mr Colton's two Ferraris raised around £8million for the RNLI when they were sold in 2017
Mr Colton's two Ferraris raised around £8million for the RNLI when they were sold in 2017

A Northamptonshire boot and shoe businessman's legacy in donating two rare Ferrari cars worth £8.5million led to the opening of a new lifeboat station in Wales at the weekend.

Richard Colton's godson Charles Denton cut the ribbon on a new RNLI boathouse at Pwlhelli paid for with the help of the former footwear manufacturer's generosity.

Mr Colton, a partner in the Irchester-based Colton Brothers company who died in 2015, aged 82, was also a member of the Ferrari Owners Club and the cars were said to be his pride and joy.

But he was also said to be Mr Colton “nervous” of the sea himself despite regular ferry voyages to take his prized cars to Europe and wanted to leave a gift for the charity to help future seafarers in danger.

The red 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB he left to the RNLI was sold at auction for £6.6m and a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 raised £1.93m.

Some of the legacy funded a new lifeboat named after Richard and his wife Caroline, who lived in Stanwick, while £2.8m of the legacy helped fund a new boathouse at Pwlhelli which officially opened this weekend.

Mr Denton said: ‘The donation Richard made through his will was incredible and we’re delighted that it is being used for such a good purpose.

Pwllheli RNLI chair Alan Jones and Charles Denton, godson of Richard Colton unveil a plaque at the new boathouse

"We’re thrilled to be working with the RNLI in keeping Richard’s memory alive. It’s humbling to know that this RNLI boathouse, and Richard’s name, will be here for many, many years to come."

The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB is one of just ten supplied new to the UK, ordered by famed car dealer Colonel Ronnie Hoare to launch Maranello Concessionaires.

It has been described by auctioneers as one of the “most beautiful cars in the world” as well as one of the most valuable. The second, a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, was one of 27 of its kind in the UK.