Miss England Bhasha Mukherjee has returned home and hung up her crown to continue her career as a doctor and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 24-year-old beauty pageant winner initially planned to hang up her stethoscope after being invited to become an ambassador for several charities and to focus on humanitarian work until August 2020, according to CNN.
She was invited to many countries including Africa, Turkey, Pakistan and several other Asian countries, Mukherjee told the network.
At the beginning of March, she was in India for four weeks on behalf of the Coventry Mercia Lions Club, a development and community charity for which she was ambassador. The group donated stationery and gave money to a home for abandoned girls.
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However, Mukherjee received messages from her colleague at the hospital she formerly worked in, Pilgrim Hospital (Boston, eastern England), and was told of their difficult situation. The Miss England winner then contacted the hospital’s management and informed them she wanted to return.
Working abroad, even for humanitarian reasons, while wearing the Miss England crown felt wrong to Mukherjee, especially when people are dying from COVID-19.
“When you are doing all this humanitarian work abroad, you’re still expected to put the crown on, get ready… look pretty,” she said. “I wanted to come back home. I wanted to come and go straight to work.”
Mukherjee returned to the UK on Wednesday after working with the British High Commission in Kolkata to find a flight from India to Frankfurt, Germany and then to London.
“There’s no better time for me to be Miss England and helping England at a time of need,” Mukherjee said.
Mukherjee will need to go through self-isolation for one to two weeks before she can return to work at Pilgrim Hospital.
Mukherjee, who moved to Derby from Kolkata at the age of 9, specializes in respiratory medicine, but doctors are being rotated wherever they are most needed, she said.
“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 told CNN. “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.”
Mukherjee, who has two medical degrees, was crowned Miss England 2019 in August, just hours before she started her first day working at a hospital, according to the Telegraph.