THREE weeks have passed since Scottish songwriter Gerry Rafferty’s death at Bournemouth hospital, but the pain is still raw for Italian artist and designer Enzina Fuschini who has a gift shop in Westbourne.

Since the loss of her ‘soul mate’, the mother-of-three has attempted to channel her heartache into her work, painting a touching tribute to their relationship called ‘I Miss You,’ the last message Gerry left on her mobile.

Enzina, 56, used her artistic talents to create a striking collection of portraits of the Baker Street star after they set up home together in Poole.

To describe their courtship as ‘whirlwind’ is something of an understatement. Within hours of a friend introducing her to Gerry during “a magical encounter” at a London café in September 2008, Enzina asked him to travel back to Dorset with her.

“After leaving California Gerry was moving from one London hotel to another and very lonely. His so-called friends had deserted him and no-one took his calls. But we clicked immediately. “I wanted to help him overcome his alcohol addiction and he desperately wanted to change. When I saw the unkempt state of his hotel room I realised he was suffering like a wounded animal.

“He pleaded with me to stay. I felt a surge of compassion and just wanted to look after him.

“I’d no idea he was famous. I’d heard Baker Street on the radio a few times but I never linked it with Gerry until one day he told me to type it into my computer. I nearly fell off my chair; he was such a shy, private man I couldn’t believe he was a star. Baker Street was the story of his life.

“He stayed for a short time with me and my elderly mother in our two-bedroom flat but it was cramped and I booked Gerry into the Harbour Heights hotel in Poole. He had been drinking again and we decided to seek help for his addiction.”

The couple later booked into Bournemouth’s Royal Bath Hotel. “Sometimes he was unsteady on his feet but I never felt embarrassed. The staff knew who he was but were discreet.”

Tests at a private hospital showed that his health wasn’t as bad as initially thought and he had a good chance of overcoming his alcohol problem. But attempts to kick his habit failed.

Gerry opened his heart to Enzina. “He told me about his painful childhood. He was still grieving for his brother Joseph who was like a father figure.

“Gerry told me how he had been introduced to alcohol at the age of seven when an elderly aunt offered him some sherry at a wedding. He also spoke of his shame after being left outside the pub while his father was drinking inside. Discovering the guitar helped him through the darker periods of his life.

“Although he had bad memories of his childhood in Scotland he also had good ones and loved Christmas Carols because they reminded him of going to church with his family in Paisley. He always wanted to go back there and was still very Scottish.

“Once my daughter had finished her studies we planned to buy our own home; it could have been in Scotland. But Gerry also liked warmer climates and perhaps we would have moved to France or Italy.”

The couple lived in a rented house in Upton where Gerry spent many hours in his recording studio. One of Enzina’s most treasured possessions is the diamond engagement ring he gave her at the Ritz on Christmas Eve 2009 after they booked into a suite at a Mayfair hotel. Choking back tears, Enzina said: “We didn’t have long together but we had an incredible time.

“Gerry had a huge capacity for love and we enjoyed simple pleasures like going to the cinema and listening to Vivaldi.

“He loved to hear me talking in Italian and I called him Geraldo Mio which means My Gerald.

“He was a very sensitive man and, before my mother died, he held her face gently and sprinkled her with petals from roses he had picked in the garden.

“When the hospital said they didn’t think Gerry was going to make it I arranged for a Catholic priest to give him the Last Rites.

“On the last day I saw him Gerry couldn’t speak but was conscious. As he held my hand I told him I’d love him forever and that we would meet again. He nodded; I still can’t believe he has gone.”