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Tributes paid to "inspirational" Saima Thompson of Masala Wala Cafe

01 July 2020 by

Saima Thompson, founder of Masala Wala Café in south-east London, has passed away following a battle with cancer, her family has confirmed.

In a message on Instagram, her sisters and mother Nabeela, who ran the restaurant with Saima, said that Saima had "passed away peacefully surrounded by all her loved ones" at the weekend.

"She is the centre of our universe and we are beyond devastated. She made a lasting impact on everyone she met, and compacted a lifetime of love, work and close connections with people during her 31 years. We love you forever. You are our guiding light and always will be."

Nabeela and her daughter set out to celebrate Pakistan cuisine in their Brockley restaurant, offering evolving menus that showcased "an array of intriguing flavours and ingredients" from their cultural heritage.

Saima announced her stage-four cancer diagnosis in June 2018 and documented her treatment and journey in her blog Curry and Cancer. At the time she wrote: "I wanted to show myself and others that there are other stories to be had and that there is a life before and after a terminal diagnosis no matter what age or race you are."

The restaurant remains temporarily closed.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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