Mansion of colourful millionaire killed in helicopter crash on sale for £10m

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Newtown Park
Newtown Park was the home of late millionaire Charles Burnett III

A PALATIAL Georgian property at Portmore that was home to the late, colourful multi-millionaire Charles Burnett III has gone on sale.

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Offers in excess of £10m are being sought for Newtown Park, a Grade-II listed Palladian house that sits within 405-acre estate near Lymington.

Included in the deal offered by Knight Frank is RAF Lymington – an adjacent field American pilots used as an airstrip during the Second World War, as well as three cottages, an estate office, farm buildings, tennis court, swimming pool, formal gardens, a walled garden, parkland, arable land and woodland.

The estate, which features 11 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in total, had been rented for many years by Mr Burnett before he died aged 61 in a helicopter crash in the US in January 2018.

Born in the UK, Mr Burnett held British, American and Canadian citizenship, and was known as a fun-loving man who enjoyed parties and entertaining extravagantly.

Newtown Park
Charles Burnett III at his birthday party at Newtown Park

He was heir to family interests in Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Primark, and reported to have received an allowance of £25m a year from his mother Miriam Weston-Burnett, until her death when he inherited the family fortune.

Mr Burnett caused controversy while living at Newtown Park. An event held there for his 51st birthday in 2007 sparked trouble after neighbours were annoyed by the noise of low-flying aircraft and mock bombs during battle re-enactments to entertain guests.

But the keen military and aviation enthusiast not only used the base to indulge his passions, he also preserved heritage and raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

He bought and restored the Second World War airfield nearby, known as Lymington Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), and used three hangars there to house his collections of cars, tanks, planes and boats.

In 2009 Mr Burnett paid for two American veterans of the 50th and 81st fighter squadrons, who had served at the ALG during the war, to be flown over to take part in an event to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the airfield. It raised tens of thousands for Help for Heroes, the Poppy Appeal and a charity nominated by the Red Arrows team which performed a display.

His passion for speed helped him attain records on water and land, and that year he broke a steam-powered-vehicle record at Edwards Airforce Base in California that had stood for more than 100 years, aided by a team from the Lymington area.

He achieved an average of 139.8mph over two runs in Inspiration, nicknamed ‘the fastest kettle in the world’ – celebrating the success with a lavish party at Portmore, for which he once again hired the Red Arrows and donated the cost of doing so to charity.

A later Second World War aviation event at Newtown Park in 2014 raised more than £25,000 for Help for Heroes, featured fly-pasts by a number of veteran aircraft including two Spitfires, as well as another appearance by the Red Arrows.

Among Mr Burnett’s other achievements was his breaking of offshore speed records while piloting his Skater powerboat, Culture Vulture, between 1993 and 1996.

He also made sizeable donations to the National Motor Museum Trust and the Burrard Neale monument restoration, and supported South Baddesley Primary School.

As reported in the A&T, Mr Burnett died while on board a helicopter which came down near the border between New Mexico and Colorado. All but one of the six people on board – Mr Burnett’s long-term partner Andra Cobb – were killed.

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