Petronella “Nellie” Stock has been teaching swimming and winning hearts for the last 40 years at Recreation Oak Bay.
The large turnout to her lunch celebrating the 40-year mark is a testament to how many lives she has touched; the laughter and dancing – a sign of the spirit that she inspires.
“Nellie goes beyond being a swimming and water aerobics instructor,” says Recreation Oak Bay patron Colleen Force. “She looks after us. She’s been especially helpful to me over the last year as my daughter has gone through successful cancer treatment.”
Force spearheaded a plan to create a quilt for Stock, infusing it with the humour, spunk, and beauty for which Stock is known. Collecting 40 squares turned out to be an easy feat as so many jumped at the chance to give back to someone that had made such an impact on their lives.
“Recreation Oak Bay has been so lucky to have Nellie on staff for 40 years,” says Caitlin Carlson, Aquatic Coordinator at Recreation Oak Bay. “All the swimmers she has taught have really benefited from her passion, her commitment, and her joy of swimming. Some people she has taught for 30 years – that’s been a significant enhancement to that swimmer’s life.”
On top of 40 years of teaching at the Oak Bay pool, Stock had a career as a nurse, receiving accolades for her work before retiring in 2002. With the help of some friends, she also started the annual Victoria Swimathon in 1986 to benefit Victoria Hospice.
Stock is a community-builder and a giver and her clients and friends at Recreation Oak Bay said it was an honour to be able to spend some time giving back to her.
“She’s wonderful. We love her very much,” says Force.
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