A DEVASTATED family is in "shock" after a popular Kidderminster baker and mum-of-two died suddenly.

Helena Maffei died after 'waiting on the phone for nearly two hours' to book a GP appointment, her heartbroken family claims.

The 55-year-old woke up feeling ill on Thursday (September 23), and contacted Church Street surgery after experiencing breathing difficulties.

Her daughter Gaetana Maffei said she was waiting on the phone from 8.30am to 10.15am. It is alleged her mother collapsed as she was told she would receive a call back at 11.30am.

Mrs Maffei's son Giuseppe quickly began performing CPR and an ambulance was called. Sadly, paramedics were unable to revive her when they arrived. 

Kidderminster Shuttle: Helena Maffei with her husband Tony Helena Maffei with her husband Tony

Mrs Maffei ran the business Continental Bakery on Stourbridge Road with her husband Tony for 35 years.

Gaetana Maffei told The Shuttle: "Her life has gone way too soon. It's a big shock. It's a tragedy.

"We don't know the cause of her death - we are waiting for this."

Kidderminster Shuttle: Helena Maffei with her daughter GaetanaHelena Maffei with her daughter Gaetana

Paying tribute to her late mother and describing her as the "soul of Kidderminster", she added: "She was constantly on the go - she was Wonderwoman. Not only a businesswoman, but a mother and a wife.

"She was like a PA for everyone, we all went to her.

"She was well known and well liked. We are overwhelmed by how many people have got in contact.

"She was so kind and I want people to remember her like that."

Kidderminster Shuttle: The Maffei family The Maffei family

A spokesperson from Wyre Forest Health Partnership said: “As is usual in General Practice we do not comment on individual patient cases, however we will always speak with patients, their families or representatives and investigate with them, where there are concerns or complaints.

"We have worked hard throughout the pandemic to offer an accessible service to our patients, and we have seen patients face to face throughout this time.

"Although we are seeing a higher volume of calls, our phone message advises that if patients feel they have a life threatening medical emergency to hang up and dial 999. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”