An eventful journey for all as Compton celebrates 40 years of care

This festive season, Compton Care will support hundreds of local families through their first, and in some cases their last, Christmas with an incurable condition.

The Duchess of Kent officially opened the base for Compton Care and has been a supporter of the care charity
The Duchess of Kent officially opened the base for Compton Care and has been a supporter of the care charity

The charity has been there for its patients at Christmas for the past 40 years.

Compton will celebrate its special birthday milestone in 2022, as the charity celebrates 40 years of care in Wolverhampton.

Since its official opening by the Duchess of Kent, Compton has been there for thousands of patients, not only ensuring that their final moments are peaceful and dignified, but also helping families to make the most of their precious time together and make the most of life.

Compton Hall, originally built in the 1840s by hardware merchant Thomas Elwell, received its first patients in February 1982.

Jeremy Hobbs meets The Duchess of Kent at the official opening of Compton Hospice in 1982

Its conversion to a care centre for terminally ill people was thanks to a campaign led by Councillor Stephen Morton – the room named in his honour is beautifully preserved to this day, providing a comfortable meeting space for members of staff.

Those entering the room are naturally drawn to the large William Morris prints which dominate the left wall.

Indeed, those familiar with the building’s history may already be aware of the link between the famous designer and Compton Hall.

One of its previous owners, Laurence W Hodson, a partner at Springfield Brewery, was an acquaintance of Morris, whom he commissioned to redesign the hall’s interior. This included the creation of a brand new wallpaper, which was to be Morris’s last wallpaper design and is known simply as ‘Compton’.

The paper can be seen on the ceiling of the Stephen Morton room and is now also a feature of the recently refurbished café on the site, Crumbles.

The tree at Compton Hall

It was noted that the original medical director at Compton, a Dr J Croudace, did not take a day off for the first three months of Compton’s existence as the pressure of work was so great.

There was one administrator who took on fundraising duties such as talking to local societies, clubs and associations. And, with no catering staff in the very early days, the highlight was Friday lunchtimes with fish and chips from the Compton chippy.

It was all a far cry from the Compton Care of today, with its team of 250 staff and 400 volunteers.

And yet even back in 1982 it was made clear that Compton did not exist just to relieve pain but also to support the patient in every possible way, through social workers, physiotherapists and chaplains; a holistic approach, just like Compton in the present day.

Compton has seen gradual expansion, refurbishment and improvement over the years.

Its 22-bed inpatient unit was converted into 18 private bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, in 2011.

Its care coordination centre building opened in 2020 thanks to £1.5 million in funding from the Unite Union branch of Goodyear Wolverhampton.

Compton is asking its supporters to get in touch with any stories they have about the charity to help it celebrate 40 years of care.

If you would like to share your memories of Compton, please email marketing@comptoncare.org.uk

For more information visit comptoncare.org.uk

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