THE family of the Honeybourne pianist who wowed Bob Monkhouse and Simon Cowell has been bowled over by an army of wellwishers following her death.

Boogie-woogie musician Eunice Rhymes died peacefully at home aged 88 on January 9 having enjoyed a “big, busy, in-your-face life” tinkling the ivories on television, radio and stage.

Eunice took part in popular show Opportunity Knocks in 1989, where Bob Monkhouse lauded her “magic fingers” and later auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent.

Even as a pensioner she was heard by the masses on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio with friends from over the years getting in touch to pass on condolences.

Daughter Elaine Cowling said: “You put down the phone and it starts ringing again.

“I have had calls from everywhere, old radio stations that she worked for and so many friends from so many different places.

“It is one of those situations where, even though mum had got older, the gap left is immense when someone has played such a big part in the lives of so many people.

“People just cannot believe it has happened. These people didn’t just know mum, they know me and my sister and the way they have rallied round has been lovely.

“All of the cards, flowers and kind words from everyone has been a real comfort. Our houses look like florists! Every day there has been a big bouquet at the door.

“She led this big, busy, in-your-face life, we knew she was a popular lady but this shows just how popular.

"She certainly lived her life. We did so much with her as well, I was one of her main drivers whenever she needed to go anywhere.

"She went all around the country to do TV, radio, stage and competitions."

It was Opportunity Knocks that gave Eunice the opportunity to travel the world but her heart was with home life and making sure the style of music that was so important to her would continue to be heard in traditional settings.

"She had agents after her to go to do continental cruises but she turned them down," added Mrs Cowling.

"It was because she wanted the piano to be where she felt it belonged, in the pubs and clubs of Great Britain.

"She did not want to go abroad, she wanted to stay at home."

On top of the support offered from far and wide, the family is also taking solace from solidarity.

"We have a very strong family network," said Mrs Cowling.

"My sister is just up the road, we have our children and it is at times like this when you stick together and help one another."

The funeral takes place at Honeybourne Church on Monday (January 25) at 2pm with Mrs Rhymes set to be buried in the cemetery.

Flowers are welcome via Martin Grinnell Funeral Services, Evesham.