Helene Maude Rust (1914-2004)
Helene Maude Rust was born in India in May 1914 and was the youngest child of four. Her father Julian Rust was a kinsman of the Duke of Nottinghamshire and a man inclined to the arts, whose chief passion was photograph.
The Rusts owned properties on different continents. They had estates in England, India, Sri-Lanka and probably somewhere in Africa. Helene with her family went all around the world, from Paris, to India, Australia and Vietnam. When the family visited India, their friend the Nawab of Ranpur had a special train sent to pick them up.
The young Miss Rust was taught by a governess as was the custom of the time and Helen had a succession of dancing teachers as well, Russian, French, English from whom she imbibed the various disciplines. Since then she really set her heart on dancing career and when the family was in India Helen performed there, dancing as always for charity and received a medal in appreciation of her efforts from the Begum Atiya, dated 4.2.1928. Helen had many photographs of this time, including several of herself and her sister draped in the fine Indian silks, adorned with jewellery. The Begum wanted to stage a show for her in London but a serious accident dashed the young dancer’s hopes of making a career of it. However, she never lost her passion for dance. Many years later, in 1984, she was to dance the hula in Colombo at a show titled ‘Hawaiian Paradise’ for the National Council for Child and Youth Welfare. A performance in Kandy the same year was for the Cancer Society.
All three Rusts never married, preferring to keep themselves to themselves, though after their mother’s death, her oldest brother insisted on Helene and their sister Violet getting married. Helene was last member of her family.
Her last years she lived along in humble surroundings, bringing back her memories about the old days: “It was a carefree, idyllic existence in the country the family had all come to love and happy days when the sisters had friends aplenty and the means to entertain them in the lavish manner they were accustomed to. Their house was chock-full of paintings and antiques, most of them brought down by her brother Cecil from their family home in Huntingdon.”
She regretted bitterly about her decision to sold the house. Everything was sold for a song, all antique furniture, e.g. a grand dining table some thirty metres long, paintings and etc. As her fortunes declined Helen was compelled to move to what was once the ‘cowshed’ as she puts it, a little cottage renovated to suit her simple needs. One family retainer, M.G. Jayaratne still works for her and only some of the strikingly beautiful paintings on the walls and a few treasured mementos of the family and her dancing days remain to tell the story of the last surviving member of the Rust family in Ceylon.
She worked for some years as a nurse in Africa during the Second World War.
HELENE MAUDE RUST of Mount Franion, Muruthalawa. British resident in Sri Lanka for fifty years. Sister of late Cyril (Times of Ceylon) and late Violet Rust. Funeral at Mahaiyawa, Kandy on Saturday 27 March 2004 at 10 a.m
Helene in first H.C. frochHelene Maude
Pyrethrum fields, or mountains of it! Lovely.Helene Maude
9000 ft on KilimanjaroHelene Maude