The RNLI will receive the proceeds from the sale of two Ferrari sports cars worth an estimated £8m from a supporter who left the cars to the lifeboat charity in his will.
The vehicles, a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and a 275 GTB/4 from 1967, will be auctioned at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in Cambridgeshire in October, when they are expected to raise £6m and £2m respectively. There are no official estimates on their value, but two similar cars were recently sold for £8m in total.
The sum would make the gift – which came from the Northamptonshire businessman Richard Colton, who died in March at the age of 83 – the biggest legacy ever received by the RNLI. The charity previously received a £7.4m legacy from an anonymous benefactor in 2013.
The RNLI said that Colton, who was nervous of the sea, had asked for the cars to be auctioned and for the proceeds to be used to pay for a new lifeboat named after him and his late wife Caroline.
Guy Rose, legacy income manager at the RNLI, said in a statement: "We are deeply grateful and humbled by Mr Colton’s generous gift and his decision to benefit the RNLI in this way. Six out of every 10 lifeboat launches are made possible only because of gifts left to us in wills, so they are vital to saving lives at sea.
"Mr Colton’s generosity will be felt most by our volunteer crews and the people whose lives they save."