Castle Comfort Stairlifts is a North Staffordshire based organisation serving the disability sector.
Founded in 1997 by Keith Robert Simpson, the aim of the company was twofold: to provide orthopaedic chairs, adjustable beds, wheelchairs and stairlifts to elderly and disabled people, and to raise money for local causes. Simpson's concept for the business was born from an observation that the market was driven by national direct-sales companies charging high prices; his success at providing products at low profit or cost price to the local community is a tribute to his insight.
Castle Comfort Clarion
The Clarion is a free newspaper published by Castle Comfort Stairlifts and distributed directly to the local population. It is published periodically with a circulation of around 250,000, and has an estimated 1 million readers.[dubious ]
The formation of Castle Comfort Stairlifts coincided with the launch of The Doug Brown Motor Neurone Fund named after the former Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor, the founder of the Lads and Dads football movement and himself a motor neurone disease sufferer. The charity fund receives a percentage of the group’s audited profits and benefits from voluntary donations given by those using the group’s complimentary product loan service. Keith Simpson’s own retired GP, Doctor Neil Stirling - whose own wife Marguerite had died of motor neurone disease - accepted an offer to become Castle Comfort Centre’s public relation ambassador. Now, at the age of 83, Dr. Stirling is still based at the company's headquarters, and involved voluntarily, in day-to-day activities especially those related to links with the NHS, as well as running his own mobility-related website.
The fund initially provided funds for the Motor Neurone Research Association but later adopted a policy of funding mobility products for individuals where the need was urgent and grant provision was proving slow and difficult. Newcastle under Lyme based Terry Conroy, former Republic of Ireland and Stoke City footballer throughout the 1970s and 1980s, is the patron of the charity.
William Roache, an actor of Coronation Street fame, accepted an invitation in 2008, to oversee and officiate an annual large payout from the fund entitled The William Roache Award. Roache also presided over the recent Carer of the Year awards organised by Castle Comfort Centre, and won by Cynthia Hughes of Bucknall. The fund's latest project is supporting Stephen Auker, a charity runner who raises money for Cancer Research UK..
Since its inception, The Doug Brown Motor Neurone Fund has given away over £50,000 to good causes.
Castle Comfort Stairlifts is managed from its head office in the village of Wolstanton in Newcastle-under-Lyme. It occupies Bank House, an historic building which was once a branch of the National Westminster Bank and before that, Carrs Cafe, an establishment of some notoriety frequented by the owners of pottery factories in nearby Stoke-on-Trent who resided in the village.
In 2007 a commemorative plaque was unveiled at Bank House by Inspector Steve Thirsk of Staffordshire Police in memory of Doctor Henry Faulds, the fingerprint pioneer, who lived in Wolstanton village and is now buried at nearby St Margaret's churchyard. The plaque has become a focus of interest for fingerprint enthusiasts and has aroused much local interest.
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