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Each week we do a Banana Chat and we feature people from all walks of life. This week our inspirational person of the week is a person who has been a true inspiration to me. She was the Head Teacher at my nursery and primary school so I knew her really well between the ages of 2 and 11. I had the best primary education I could have wanted and “Mrs Kerrie”, as all of her pupils knew her, has been such an inspiration to me and I am so sure to many of her former pupils. She instilled in us the love of learning, of investigating things, of trying our best and always trying to do as well as we possibly could. She encouraged us to do sport, music, art, drama and anything that could benefit us and she let us be children in the best way possible. I can remember the best ever sleepovers we had at school and the teachers even made us breakfast the following morning. Mrs Kerrie really is an inspiration for which I will forever be grateful. Mrs Kerrie won’t have seen this photo for years but I thought that she would like to see it again!!
Hi, I am Kerrie Malandreniotis, a teacher who fulfilled my dream of opening my own school, Oakfields Montessori School in Upminster, Essex.
One of the joys in my life is seeing or learning of the achievements of my past pupils, Matt Austin and his brother Daniel amongst them. I continue to be so very proud of them.
I now live in the beautiful New Forest with my husband, 3 dogs and 7 soon to be 8 miniature donkeys.
I am a prolific reader and feel lost without a book by my side. I try to find time to paint, and sing in a choir called Sweet Charity.
I go on safari in South Africa at least once a year and it is from those visits I have learned of the plight of the wildlife and now campaign for rhino, elephants and lions to help ban hunting and in support of the anti-poaching efforts.
On my first visit to South Africa eight years ago, I had the fortune to visit a small rural community adjacent to the Sabi Sands nature reserve. There in partnership with a charity called Pride ‘n Purpose I built and equipped a nursery/infant school for 80 children. I love visiting to see the happy, smiling faces of my African children who I hope will continue on the road to a full education. Giving them the best chance of future success, in a country still trying to find its feet after so many years of inequality and oppression.
What is your favourite joke?
I don’t have one, jokes are not really my scene.
What makes you smile?
Happy children playing.
What is your favourite good news story?
The recent successful rescue of the young boys and their coach from the cave in Thailand.
What inspires you?
Seeing ordinary people doing good in this world, giving of their time and energy to help others, wildlife or the environment. Showing that every individual can make a difference.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I would like to go back 40 years and stop the invasion of plastic into our lives.
If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
The power to see into the future.
What is your favourite food?
Fish – any fish – all fish.
What is your favourite drink?
Water, closely followed by a good red wine.
If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
Always hair straighteners – I hate having a bad hair day.
If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
I would make a worldwide law to ban the hunting and exploitation of all wild animals.
What is your favourite phrase or saying?
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference” (Nelson Mandela)
What cause, project or event would you like to promote?
Rhino poaching has reached a critical point throughout Africa, at this rate the population will be decimated in a few years. Care for Wild Africa is a sanctuary caring for orphaned rhino in South Africa. The traumatised babies are often injured and in need of intensive care when rescued. The sanctuary, where they are nurtured back to health and where they learn to be rhino, secures them a future back in the wild. A truly wonderful place run by Petronel Nieuwoudt and her amazing team.
Who is your favourite music artist?
I don’t have one favourite as I like so many different types of music, but the musician I admire the most is Jenny Deacon our choir leader. She is so inspirational, talented and can not only arrange the most fabulous music but she brings out the very best in every singer in her choir. She also has the voice of a songbird, amazing girl!
Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
Must be my parents.
Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know?
I am a tea lady for our Sweet Charity choir.
PJ’s or Not?
Hot or cold? Current heatwave – cold, but if you had asked me in the winter when I was mucking out in the snow it would have been hot
Cat or dog? Dog – unless it is a lion or leopard
Blue or pink? Blue
Tea or coffee? Coffee before noon – then tea
Glass half-empty or glass half-full? Glasses should always be half-full
Pyjamas or not? Pj’s
Night out or night in? Night in – I am a home bird
Pizza or pasta? Pasta
Biscuits or cake? Cake
Wine or beer? Wine
Football or rugby? Football
Cinema or theatre? Theatre
Gym or TV? TV
Naughty or nice? Nice
Silver or gold? Silver
Tent or hotel? Hotel
Bath or shower? Bath
Starter or pudding? Starter. Sometimes skip the main and have both.
Sheets or duvet? Sheets
Love Island or Game of Thrones? I love Game of Thrones
Finally, apple or banana? Banana of course – nice spotty ones