Tina Downing works at Therfield Preschool, and has lived in the local area all her life. Her dad was well known in Royston, John the photographer who had a shop in the High Street. She grew up in Royston and Sandon, spent a very happy 15 years living in Therfield as an adult, before moving to Letchworth Garden City three years ago, in support of her sons work, college and football.
She has also been fortunate enough to follow her earlier dreams and work for Rosemary Hobson in Reed as a Veterinary Nurse for years. Once she became a mum to her two boys, she fell into, and then fell in love with Early Years Childcare and Education.
What’s your favourite local place to eat?
The Fox and Duck in Therfield, particularly for our staff nights out, when they always make sure we feel welcome and looked after. Everyone’s favourite landlord Ivan has even been known to pop on a red suit and white beard to support us at pre-school.
What is the last book you read?
Realistically probably The Gruffalo! However I am currently reading ‘The Teacher’s Handbook’ by Peter Pook, a book given to me by my dad who used to cry with laughter reading it. I remember him trying to read some of it too me but he couldn’t get the words out through the giggles!
What do you love about your work at Therfield Preschool?
I began working in Early Years to work around my children whilst they were young. I have never looked back and I feel so blessed to spend my days nurturing and teaching amazing young children and being part of their journey as they develop and grow. It is the most rewarding career and no two days will ever be the same, meaning I continuously feel motivated and challenged.
What is your most valued possession?
A small hand mirror with a dragon fly on it that belonged to my nanny.
What is your favourite way to spend a Saturday?
Nothing beats a bit of Disney – so a feel- good film with tea and biscuits, walking our dog Penny with my son and ideally a fakeaway or takeaway dinner with minimum effort and washing up!
How do you keep fit?
I have always enjoyed running but am recently taking it more seriously. I am currently trying to push myself and am very excited to be taking part in this year’s London Marathon.
I am thrilled to have been offered a Charity Place for the British Heart Foundation and will be running in memory of my Dad and Stepmum. I am frustratingly behind on my training due to peroneal tendonitis in my ankle but with the support and encouragement of those around me I intend to be there on the day and to give it my all – I don’t know the predicted time for someone hopping though! You can support Tina at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tina-downing
What has been the most valuable life lesson that you have learnt?
Definitely to make the most of those around us, making sure they know how much they mean to us and making (and taking pictures of) memories with them.
Who do you most admire?
Can I have two?!
- My mum who as a single mum to three, worked two or sometimes three jobs at a time, eventually forging herself a successful career in Human Resources. When redundancy meant a rethink, my mum and stepdad purchased a property with a gite in rural France and mum and my youngest sister moved there five years ahead of my step dad, without speaking the language and somehow immersing themselves in a whole new way of life.
- And my eldest son. Football was his passion from an early age, but even without the luck or opportunities he needed coming his way he has never given up. Harry was always committed to his team, playing for Letchworth and Royston, never missing practices or matches, he continued playing football through college and is currently in Ohio, America on a football scholarship. In his first year there, he has been given the Champions of Character Award for demonstrating Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Sportsmanship. I am in awe of his bravery and of course incredibly proud.