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Mercury enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic to study graphic design, but it was music which entranced him, shifting from the Indian tunes he had played in Bombay.

Mrs Bulsara, 89, said: "He would write songs from an early age.

"In the end, he thought it was too much because he was in his bedroom most of the time and an elderly neighbours were complaining about the noise and he decided to leave home." Mercury formed Queen with Brian May, Roger Taylor and John and the band's first major concert was as a support act to Mott the Hoople at Hammersmith Odeon in 1973.

His parents were the very antithesis of the glam rock movement which was sweeping the nation, but they were there, somewhat to the surprise of members of the audience.

I kept on saying, as all mothers do, carry on with your studies and clean up your bedroom.

"Once when I went into his bedroom at our home in Feltham, I told him I was going to clear up all the rubbish including the papers under his pillow. He was writing little songs and lyrics then and putting them under his pillow before he slept.

But it was never something he forgot himself, his family say; being Asian was part of his life. Being a Parsee meant he identified more with his Persian ancestry than India, where his parents were brought up and he was educated.

Hurtfully, there were people who said he was burying his Asian roots.

Roger Cooke, his brother in law, said: "To an English mind, Asian means Indian.

It doesn't in Freddie's particular case, he was Persian by ancestry. I don't think he ever did, but if he did, it would have been because he was Persian." His mother added: "Freddie was a Parsee and he was proud of that, but he wasn't particularly religious." At the height of his fame, Mercury would want nothing more than to sit in the kitchen as his mother cooked for him. "Business was on one side and his family on the other.

He would send postcards from around the world." This week his mother and sister will attend The Asian Awards in London to receive a posthumous honour, The Founders Award, for Freddie's life and outstanding contribution to music, on his behalf.

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