Radio Sandwell Local News

Rustie Lee pays tribute to 'earthly angel' mum

2012-12-19 23:49:40

Rustie Lee and Eugenie

The elderly mum of TV star Rustie Lee has died almost two months after doctors at a Birmingham hospital said she had hours to live and advised she should be put on a controversial 'pathway' plan for end-of-life patients.

Instead, Eugenie Edwards, aged 87, died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday December 15 at the Robert Harvey Nursing Home in Handsworth Wood.

Paying tribute to her beloved mum who she called an 'earthly angel,' an emotional Rustie said the past few extra weeks had given her precious quality time with her mum, who was born in Portland, Jamaica.

At the end of October, Eugenie was admitted to Birmingham's City Hospital with a chest infection and medics said she had just 48 hours to live.

But Rustie refused permission for the hospital to start the pathway treatment, which involves 'rationalising' the amount of medication given to patients thought to be near death.

She said her mum made a dramatic recovery and was able to leave hospital six days later. Her appetite returned and Rustie said she was 'dancing in the bed.'

"These last few weeks have given us such precious time with mum," said Rustie, the original queen of Caribbean cuisine, who was the popular resident chef on TV-AM in the 1980s.

"She lived longer than anyone had predicted and I think this shows that doctors need to review their practices. This pathway system might be right for some patients but it wasn't right for my mum. I'm so thankful that mum has gone in a peaceful dignified way in her own time.

"She was beautifully looked after at the nursing home and I know her last few weeks were happy there. We had been keeping a bedside vigil in her last few days but she chose to slip away when none of us were there."

Eugenie, whose late husband Archie was a former RAF officer, came to Birmingham from Jamaica in the 1950s, where her first job was a 'clippie' on the buses.

As business pioneers, they were the first to set up a black-run clothing factory in the Jewellery Quarter before going on to launch a curry patty business and takeaway on Soho Hill.

And this was where Rustie set up her first restaurant before moving into the city centre, by the Hippodrome Theatre in the 1980s.

"Mum was always so generous to people - if they were on hard times she would often give them food. She was a strong loving woman who touched so many people's lives. I think of her as an earthly angel," added Rustie, whose only sibling Dawnie, died of lung cancer eight years ago.

Anyone wanting to pay their respects to Eugenie can visit her at the Chapel of Rest at N Wheatley & Sons, Moseley Road, Birmingham (0121 440 1020).

Her funeral service will be held at 12 noon on Friday December 28 at Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church, Soho Road, Handsworth, followed by burial at Handsworth Cemetery.

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