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Tributes to chef who died three days after 60th birthday party

Rosaline Arthur cooked meals at the Raglan Day Centre for two decades

27 July, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Rosaline Arthur at her party

A CHEF who resolved to celebrate her 60th birthday after a battle with breast cancer, died just three days after the party.

After being diagnosed in 2008, Rosaline Arthur – better known as Roz – was unable to properly mark her 50th due to an operation and treatment. She had always told friends and family that she was determined to have a party when she reached her 60th.

Her daughter, Funmi Thompson, 30, said: “We had a big celebration for her life when she had been told just a few days before that she only had a few days to go. She’d been planning this for 10 years.”

Ms Arthur was given the all-clear in 2010 but complications arose 18 months ago. She retired from work, but still did her best to attend services at St Silas Church in Kentish Town and to carry on with life as usual.

For 20 years, she had worked as a chef at the Raglan Day Centre in Kentish Town for elderly people with dementia, which was closed by the council last year in a shake-up of services.

Funmi said: “She made things from cuisines all over the world but she always did fish and chips on a Friday. Everyone always loved her.”

Last week, Ms Arthur travelled from University College Hospital to the Redmond Community Centre in Manor House for her 60th birthday celebrations with her friends and family on Saturday. She died on the following Tuesday.

Father Graeme Rowlands, from St Silas Church, said: “I’ve known her since 1994. As well as simply doing her job, she took general care of everyone – the staff and the clients. She became part of the choir that I directed and rehearsed every week. She always threw herself in with great enthusiasm.”

He added: “She was always immensely well turned out, always smart and was slightly daring in fashion sense.” Ms Arthur was born at the Whittington Hospital in 1958, the ninth of 12 children. She lived on Delancey Street and Castlehaven Road as a child, and lived on Grafton Crescent for 30 years where her children grew up. She enjoyed going to church, parties, singing and family gatherings.

Roz Arthur

Funmi said: “We are half-Nigerian so mum adopted the Nigerian culture as a theme for her party with influences from the Caribbean and cuisines from both cultures.”

She added: “She gave a speech [at her 60th party] thanking everyone for being there and thanked the people who have helped her for the last couple of years.”

Ms Arthur leaves behind grandchildren Harley and Sarah, both age two, and daughters Funmi, Kemi Thompson, 29, and Denise Arthur, 40, who were among 15 family members at her bedside in St John’s Hospice, St John’s Wood when she died.

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