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The Aston Martin Heritage Trust


In the latter part of 1996, the then Committee of Management (CoM) tasked Michael Urban to form a sub-committee to find a method to safeguard and protect for the Membership the Club’s assets from any legal situation that might arise from the Club’s activities. The sub-committee consisted of: Bruce Coles, Angus Dent, Clare Gardner, Michael Urban (chair), Robert White with James Whyman in attendance.

By 4 February 1997 the sub-committee reported back to the CoM that they considered the best way forward was to form a Charitable Trust, similar to the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation (which held the assets and archives supervised by the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club). The CoM was asked to decide if an application was to be made. After a lengthy discussion it was agreed that Robert White should approach the Charity Commission to see if the proposal met their guidelines.

To conform with the application, it was also agreed at that meeting that there should be five trustees; three from the CoM (Brian Joscelyne, Neil Murray and Keith Piper) and two independents, Michael Barker (long term Club Member and curator of the Midland Motor Museum) and Walter Hayes (Vice-President of Ford Motor Co and Chair of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.).


Originally, the name of the Trust was to be The Lionel Martin Trust but it was later changed to The Aston Martin Heritage Trust, which was felt to be more inclusive.

By December 1997 approval had been obtained from the Charity Commission and a prospective produced by the CoM to be sent to all Members with details of a referendum to decide on the formation of the Trust and the transfer of certain assets.

On 15 April 1998 the result was announced that 81.06% of the Members worldwide who voted (1,637) were in favour to establish and endow a Charitable Trust. 

On 5 August 1998 the Aston Martin Heritage Trust was formed - Registered Charity No. 1072410.

At the first meeting of the Trustees, Walter Hayes was unanimously voted chair. A programme of ‘fund raising” was implemented to assist the Trust with its remit.

There followed two EGM’s to agree with the Membership which of the Clubs assets were to be transferred to the Trust and which should not.

Part of the transfer of assets, which the Club financially supported, included the Register (which then was produced every four years) the Club’s fifth publication ‘AM Review’ (renamed ‘Aston’) and a small contribution towards the upkeep of the Ulster and secretarial costs. This amounted 23% of the then membership fee, which is still being paid.

At the same time the Club was also purchasing the current HQ, a 12th century Grade II listed Tithe Barn located at Drayton St. Leonard in Oxfordshire. To show unity with the Club, the Trust purchased a 17% stake in the building. It was agreed that the building usage would favour the newly formed Trust and so a 70:30 space allocation was agreed.

Restoration of the current HQ then began in earnest, with David Crook project managing and John Browning as the architect. A mezzanine floor was built to store the Trust’s archives and a magnificent glass display case, designed by John Browning, was created to form an impressive centrepiece at the staircase. Walter Hayes secured a very kind donation from Peter Livanos of an AMR1 and a Lagonda to start the collection.

In February 1999 Christine Sharrock was appointed Hon. Secretary followed in July by James White (no relation to Robert White) being appointed Hon. Treasurer. The first copy of ‘Aston’ was also underway.

Walter Hayes regrettably passed away in December 2000 (The Trust now hosts the annual Walter Hayes Lecture in his memory). Neil Murray then became the acting chair and Kingsley Riding-Felce, Director of Works Service at AML, was appointed a Trustee.

In 2001 the Trust decided to purchase A3 (then the oldest known Aston Martin). Kingsley set about finding a sponsor to assist with the restoration of this vehicle which was undertaken by the generous sponsorship of His Excellency Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah.

In October 2001, Neil Murray stood down and Gerry Acher was appointed chair of the Trust.

On 5 April 2002, the Joint Club and Trust building was officially opened by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

The collection has since grown, with notable items including the photographic collections of Roger Stowers and Louis Klemantaski and car build sheets from AML.

In April 2019, the AMHT charitable trust (1072410) was removed from the Charity Commission list. A new charity type, CIO (charitable incorporated organisation) was created in replacement with the number 1182793 and the assets were transferred from 1072410.

MU - 14 July 2022