Tuesday, 5 August 2014
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED — SEE STOP PRESS
The London scene has been paying tribute to one of its most colourful characters — Joy Betts, aka Mistress Demonic — who died in hospital on Sunday while undergoing treatment for cancer.
Long time companion of Master Keith and hostess of the legendary Gate BDSM nights, Joy was first rushed into hospital on June 25, the day before her birthday.
To the shock of her many friends and admirers, she posted on Facebook four days later that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and lung cancer.
“But,” she assured her followers, “I will beat this. After all, I have butts to beat and balls to kick!!”
Back home on July 7, she was clearly feeling better, promising to fight like a trooper and issuing a typical Bettsian challenge to the disease: “Do your worst, cancer, and see if you can even begin to beat me.”
On July 16, just before seeing her neuro-oncologist, she admitted she was “a little apprehensive” but added that at least she hoped to know everything by the time she left.
Sadly she learnt something she did not want to hear: “There is a chance the brain tumour will not shrink, which if it does not, means no chemo for my lung.”
However, again in typical Joy style, she decided to pre-empt the hair-loss associated with therapy and do a sponsored head-shave at July 25’s meeting of The Gate, arguing that she might as well “get rid [of it] before it falls out”.
Her treatment began the following Monday, July 28, after which she posted: “The 1st *zapping* of radiotherapy is done! Only Tuesday to Friday to go !!!!xxxxx”.
The following day she said what an awesome time she’d had at The Gate “with so many of my wonderful extended family in one place at one time”.
She thanked everyone for their love and support, positivity, cuddles and giggles “but most of all… for helping me shave my hair off”. She declared the event “one of the most fun-filled nights of my life”.
So it was a tremendous shock to learn that on Thursday, after just three days of radiotherapy, she was found to have developed pneumonia from a chest infection.
Keith and the couple’s friend Claire, aka Atrum Dea, were at her bedside on Friday 1 when, according to Claire, “her brain started to shut down and she became unresponsive”.
“All we got was about two seconds when she woke, smiled and gave a wave,” Claire said. “She asked that no one know about her hospitalisation.”
On Sunday Joy’s condition deteriorated and she was put on a machine to aid her breathing. But after 14 hours, she had not responded to this or any other treatment.
“At 7pm,” Claire’s post continued, “[the doctors] decided that the only other option was to remove the machine and IV lines, give her some morphine and let her drift away. She lost her brave battle at 11pm exactly.
“Keith and I were with her holding her hands as she took her last breath. Both he and I are devasted. It was peaceful for her and she was neither in pain nor aware of what was happening.”
Adding that Joy had been “a wonderful lady and a true inspiration to me”, Claire closed her sad post by saying that funeral details would be announced as soon as known, and in the meantime anyone who wanted to could leave messages of condolence and memories on Joy’s Facebook profile.
Numerous touching comments have already been left from all corners of the UK scene and beyond. The opportunity to add to them is also open to anyone reading this.
STOP PRESS: JOY BETTS FUNERAL DETAILS
Joy’s final goodbye will be held on Wednesday August 27 at 2pm in the North Chapel at Eltham Crematorium, Crown Woods Way, London SE9 2AZ. Details of the wake are being finalised — Gravesend Rugby Club is hoped for.
All who wish to pay their respects, whether or not they knew Joy in person, are welcome. A large turnout is expected.
Flowers are not required but instead donations can be made via the funeral directors to the Ellenor Hospice or Macmillan Nurses. Contact Horlock and Sons Funeral Services on 01474 352159 to make a donation.
Funeral dresscode: During Joy’s last few weeks she developed a fondness for lighter, brighter colours, with lemons and greens being favoured. Mourners are asked to honour this by wearing lighter or brighter colours if possible.