Kate Middleton praises hall host’s ‘dedication’ during call for Hold Still photography competition

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The Duchess of Cambridge praised a hospital chef’s ‘dedication’ during a phone call with the contestant in her Hold Still photo contest after she refused to take time off from work when her mother fell ill.

On the day her entry photo was taken, Gimba, a ward host at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, received the terrible news from Nigeria that her mother had fallen ill.

Despite the grief she could not fly home due to travel restrictions during the pandemic, Gimba refused to take time off, saying, “I have to feed my patients.”

She was photographed that same day eating lunch after preparing meals for all eighteen COVID-19 patients on the ward.

During a clip shared with YouTube today Kate Middleton, 39, said: ‘It’s so nice talking to you too. I just wanted to give you a call to say thank you very much for submitting your beautiful photo. It’s fantastic! You look like you really enjoy your chicken and rice, Gimba?’

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured), 39, praised the ‘dedication’ of hospital ward host Gimba, who works at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, during a telephone conversation with the participant in her Hold Still photography competition who refused to take time off when her mother got sick

On the day the photo was taken, Gimba, a ward host at Whipps Cross Hospital, received the terrible news from Nigeria that her mother had fallen ill.  Pictured eating her chicken and rising lunch

On the day the photo was taken, Gimba, a ward host at Whipps Cross Hospital, received the terrible news from Nigeria that her mother had fallen ill. Pictured eating her chicken and rising lunch

Despite being devastated that she couldn't fly home to see her mother (pictured) due to travel restrictions during the pandemic, Gimba refused to take some time off, saying 'I have to feed my patients'

Despite being devastated that she couldn’t fly home to see her mother (pictured) due to travel restrictions during the pandemic, Gimba refused to take some time off, saying ‘I have to feed my patients’

Gimba replied, ‘Yes, I had my break, yes.’

Kate, an avid amateur photographer, launched the Hold Still initiative during the lockdown and asked the public to submit their photos capturing the period for a digital exhibit.

She was then joined by a panel of five judges to select the best images from over 31,000 entries to the nationwide competition, saying she was “overwhelmed” by the response and that it was “so difficult” to narrow the images down to a top 100.

During the five-minute conversation, the royal family continued that while every day in the ward is a busy day for staff, it was a particularly tough day for Gimba.

“Yeah, yeah, that day because I got a call in Africa because I’m from Nigeria, and my mom wasn’t very well and was very sick,” she explained.

When the royal family asked how she was doing, Gimba replied: ‘She’s feeling better now. She’s home now.’

Kate (pictured) thanked Gimba for submitting her 'beautiful' photo, calling it 'fantastic'

Kate (pictured) thanked Gimba for submitting her ‘beautiful’ photo, calling it ‘fantastic’

Gimba (pictured), who will be in the hospital for 20 years in March, said she enjoys rustling everything from Chinese and Caribbean to English food

Gimba (pictured), who will be in the hospital for 20 years in March, said she enjoys rustling everything from Chinese and Caribbean to English food

Explaining how hard it was not being able to be with her, she added, “It’s been hard, but it’s a job I enjoy doing because the patients need us.”

Kate went on to say she bet Gimba made everyone’s day “a little brighter.”

Gimba, who will be in the hospital for 20 years in March, said what she likes to do zip up everything from Chinese and Caribbean to English food.

Kate added, “Well, food feeds the soul, doesn’t it?”

Then the Duchess also asked if her friend Hasaan had told her if he was going to send the photo, to which Gimba replied: ‘He told me they chose my photo and that you like my photo. They called me, told me, so I was so happy. I am very grateful, thank you very much, yes.’

When the Duchess also asked if Gimba's friend Hasaan (pictured) had told her whether he would send the picture, she replied: 'He told me that they chose my picture and that you like my picture.  They called me, told me so I was so happy'

When the Duchess also asked if Gimba’s friend Hasaan (pictured) had told her whether he would send the picture, she replied: ‘He told me that they chose my picture and that you like my picture. They called me, told me so I was so happy’

Kate continued: ‘It’s lovely to see the resilience and that glimmer of hope you showed, the kind of fun of the simple things, because I think we were all really huddled together and really enjoying the simple pleasures.

And I love the friendly smile on your face, despite it being a very hard day for you and of course how much you enjoy your lunch.’

“We’re all so proud of you and your colleagues too, you know? You showed a kind of total dedication to the patients you cared for. And even in difficult times, you are still there and you don’t want to disappoint those patients.

“So you should be very proud of the great work you do every day. And thank you for sharing your photo. It really made everyone laugh, so thank you.’

Gimba added: ‘Thank you for liking my photo. I’m so excited, I’m sad “Wow, me!”

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