Steve Wilks and Deborah Selner remember Jill Stock, who died at the end of May. Known to many, her funeral saw the City of London Cemetery’s chapel overflowing with friends and family celebrating her life
I had the pleasure of knowing Jill when I moved to Wanstead and she introduced me to various people who were involved in Neighbourhood Watch.
Ever the community worker, she initially became a Watch Co-ordinator and then Chairman of the Safer Neighbourhood Panel, assisting the police and running the group. Having lived for over 40 years in Wanstead, she had a wealth of local knowledge. She regularly organised the annual street party for residents on Cranbourne Avenue where she lived.
Through working as a nurse and being involved in her own children’s schools as a member of Nightingale and Wanstead High PTA, she knew a huge bank of people from all walks of life. A trip down the High Street could easily take an hour with Jill; she always stopped to say hello or have a quick chat. All her neighbours knew her by name and would often knock on her door for an address, a telephone number or a bit of friendly advice, and she never turned anyone away. She cared for everyone, especially the old and vulnerable, and she hated injustice. When something was wrong and needed resolving nobody was more tenacious than Jill.
As a nod to the changing role of technology in our lives, she helped set up the local WhatsApp groups for enabling neighbours to notify others of anything going on in the local area, and this quickly spread out across Wanstead and Snaresbrook. She was also a regular contributor on the Wanstead Community Hub, acting as a point of call for advice on the reporting of crime and other issues that arose.
Jill worked as a district nurse in the local area for some 46 years. When she retired, she was able to concentrate more on her beautiful garden. In December 2013 she developed her hobby of making photographic collages into a small enterprise by taking photographs of Wanstead landmarks and turning them into jigsaw puzzles. Jill sold these puzzles at the monthly Wanstead Farmers’ Market. Entitled Wanstead – A Very Special Community, the collage contained everything about our London suburb. It turned into a quick success. She remarked: “It is quite simple but it is a real joy to sell them. Children especially are interested so that is why I have a slightly easier 200-piece puzzle for them.”
Jill always had time for anyone and was always willing to lend help to those with a problem. She will be deeply missed by the Neighbourhood Watch groups, the local police and residents, who looked at her as a beacon for a model citizen looking after her neighbourhood.
Jill passed away on 25 May 2019 following a road traffic collision while visiting family in Somerset. She leaves behind husband Mick, daughters Sam, Kate and Polly and five grandchildren.