AN antiques expert who formed one half of a formidable business duo has left an estate worth more than £1 million to Dorset Community Foundation.
Jose’ Hampton, who died aged 97 last September, was married to antiques dealer Gerry Hampton and their business, Hamptons Antiques in Purewell, Christchurch, was well known all over the South West for more than 50 years.
The family’s Hampton Fund will provide an enduring resource to help the community foundation fund grass roots voluntary groups and community groups, said its director Grant Robson.
Family friend Rosemarie Groves said Mrs Hampton loved Christchurch and the surrounding area. “She and Gerry enjoyed their life together in the area and it doesn’t surprise me that she wanted to do something to support it,” she said. “she had mentioned this many times over the years, and it is lovely knowing her wishes have come to fruition.
“They were never blessed with children but Jose’ had a strong sense of community and also hated seeing children suffer, supporting charities as often as she could.”
Mrs Hampton was born in Southampton in 1924 and met her future husband while ice skating in Bournemouth. Mr Hampton, who was nine years older, ran his antiques business from what had been his family’s grocery shop
After a long courtship the couple married in 1964 but by then Mrs Hampton had become a vital part of the business as manageress and a furniture restorer. “They were socialites of Christchurch because they used to have tremendous parties in their garden,” said Mrs Groves.
“Gerry took great joy searching for antiques, travelling far and wide. He liked to buy furniture, decorative screens and pottery but clocks were definitely his passion. Living and working with Gerry gave Jose’ the opportunity to develop her interest in furniture. She had a natural affinity with the materials she worked with and became very skilled at restoring furniture.
“He and Jose’ were well respected in their community and also within the antique world, both in the UK and Europe.”
Jose’ and Gerry enjoyed their life together in the area and it doesn’t surprise me that she wanted to do something to support it
Mr Hampton died in 2011 aged 96. After his death his private collection of antique watches and clocks was sold at auction. “We have learnt that some of those clocks hadn’t been circulated for many years and their sale caused considerable excitement among collectors,” said Mrs Groves.
Mrs Hampton donated a Robert Cox long case clock to Christchurch Borough Council in March 2013 in his memory. It still sits in the Mayor’s Parlour.
Her friend described Jose’ as a fiercely independent and a very dignified lady with a wicked sense of humour who enjoyed company. “Jose’ was quite tall and slim, very stylish, and always took great pride in her appearance. She was very kind and caring,” she said.
She and Gerry are now reunited in Christchurch Cemetery.
Mr Robson said the fund will provide a secure and resilient stream of income for grass roots groups and charities for decades to come. “This wonderful legacy will ensure that Jose’ and Gerry and their love for each other and the place they called home will never be forgotten.
“The fund is there forever and it will go on providing money to make peoples’ lives better. What better memorial than that?”