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Kate Middleton chuckles as she speaks with Hold Still contestant

The Duchess of Cambridge joked about buying Prince William a Spider-man costume during a telephone call with a contestant of her Hold Still competition which was released today. 

Jason Baird, of Stockport, was photographed performing a backflip while dressed up as the comic book character during lockdown last year.

The image was one of the 100 images included in Kate Middleton’s book Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020.

The royal, who is a keen amateur photographer, launched the Hold Still initiative during lockdown and asked the public to submit their images which captured the period for a digital exhibition.

She was then joined by a panel of five judges to select the best photos from more than 31,000 submitted for the nation-wide contest and said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the response and that it was ‘so hard’ to whittle the images down to a top 100.

Kate Middleton, 39, phoned Jason last autumn and the conversation was released today on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new YouTube channel, alongside heart-warming photographs of Jason and his local community.

The Duchess praised his efforts to cheer up the community as ‘very cool’, and could be heard laughing as she spoke with the martial arts teacher, saying: ‘I’ll see if it takes on the trend here at Kensington Palace. Might have to buy William a suit to go and see…unfortunately I’m not sure he’d get the air clearance you’ve got.’   

The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, joked about buying Prince William a Spider-man costume during a telephone call with a contestant of her Hold Still competition which was released today

Jason Baird, of Stockport, was photographed performing a backflip while dressed up as the comic book character outside the home of a local family during lockdown last year

Jason Baird, of Stockport, was photographed performing a backflip while dressed up as the comic book character outside the home of a local family during lockdown last year

During the first lockdown, Jason took to the streets of Stockport during his exercise time and dressed up as a Spider-man to keep local children smiling.

Kate could be heard chuckling during the call, saying that she had received many emotional images during the contest and was pleased to see a joyful image. 

She asked Jason about his work as a martial arts teacher, with the father-of-two explaining: ‘When we heard the news you were only allowed out for an hour a day, it was a case of wanting to cheer kids up.

‘I’ve got a five-year-old and a one-year-old…they can’t go out or see their friends…We wanted to bring some smiles and stuff.

The photograph, titled Stockport Spider-man Bringing Smiles to Children, is one of the 100 images included in the Duchess of Cambridge's book Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020

The photograph, titled Stockport Spider-man Bringing Smiles to Children, is one of the 100 images included in the Duchess of Cambridge’s book Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020

‘From day one, the children in the area would play Spider-man out their window and put posters up “Spider-man stop here”.’

He said he had been committed to performing ‘every day for an hour’, with an amazed Kate gasping: ‘No!’ 

The Duchess continued: ‘Jason, you’ve shown a huge dedication to your community but it’s also been infectious to other communities as well and people aspire to you…really well done.’ 

Kate joked: ‘Maybe when I’m in Stockport I might see you out and about in your er- costume. 

The royal shared a giggle with the martial arts teacher as she said she would buy a costume for her husband Prince William (pictured together last week in Scotland)

The royal shared a giggle with the martial arts teacher as she said she would buy a costume for her husband Prince William (pictured together last week in Scotland) 

He said: ‘Oh definitely, just let me know and I’ll put the suit on.’ 

Hold Still was launched by The Duchess and the National Portrait Gallery last year and invited people of all ages from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during the first lockdown.

From over 31,000 images submitted, 100 final portraits were selected and shown in a digital exhibition before being displayed across the UK as part of a community exhibition.

Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020 brings together the final 100 Hold Still portraits, providing a unique record of our shared and individual experiences as the COVID pandemic took hold. 

The Duchess of Cambridge has shared a glimpse of her photography book Hold Still (pictured) ahead of its release on Friday

The Duchess of Cambridge has shared a glimpse of her photography book Hold Still (pictured) ahead of its release on Friday

The book, which has been put together with support from the Co-op was released earlier this month, one year on since Hold Still was first launched.

Net proceeds raised from the sale of the book will be split between leading mental health charity Mind, and the National Portrait Gallery. 

The funds will help to support arts and mental health projects across the UK, including Mind’s work in local communities and the National Portrait Gallery’s education and community projects. 


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