Bhasha Mukherjee, crowned Miss England in 2019, will cancel her scheduled humanitarian work abroad to return to her job as a junior doctor for the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) in response to the unfolding coronavirus crisis.
“It was incredible the way the whole world was celebrating all key workers, and I wanted to be one of those, and I knew I could help,” she told CNN.
As the pandemic situation became increasingly dire, 24-year-old Mukherjee began receiving messages from former colleagues overwhelmed by the battle with the deadly virus.
“I felt a sense of this is what I’d got this degree for and what better time to be part of this particular sector than now,” she said.
She decided to put aside plans to act as an ambassador for various charities working in Africa, Turkey, India, and Pakistan, and return home.
“When you are doing all this humanitarian work abroad, you’re still expected to put the crown on, get ready…look pretty,” she said.
Since the beginning of March, the beauty queen had been working in India on behalf of the Coventry Mercia Lions Club, offering donations to schools and money to a home for abandoned girls.
“I felt unfair getting dressed up in a place of safety while my colleagues were laying their lives on the frontline…I wanted to come back home. I wanted to come and go straight to work.”
Mukherjee moved from Kolkata at age 9, landing in the English city of Derby. She holds two medical degrees from the University of Nottingham and is fluent in five languages.
While modeling and participating in pageants, Mukherjee spent time training as a junior doctor on a respiratory ward.
And recently, she appeared in an ad for the NHS:
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Sharing the ad, she used her platform to encourage people to stay home, posting, “Health care staff are risking their lives for us, so let’s risk our mere leisure for a little while to say thank you to them.”
Mukherjee returned to England last Wednesday where she is self-isolating for fourteen days before she can return to work at the Pilgrim Hospital.
As of today, the U.K. has reported 61,497 confirmed cases of coronavirus.