'Teaching was his life': Tributes paid to Nick, 55, after Covid battle
- Credit: The Stone family
A former Wisbech Grammar School student who would go on to help shape the lives of thousands of children has died, prompting an outpouring of love from the pupils he taught and his colleagues.
In late December, 55-year-old teacher Nick Stone, who was double jabbed, was admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 and died in hospital a fortnight later.
His love for education began early on, his sister Helen Pentelow said.
The pair were born in Sheffield but moved to Wisbech when Nick was 14-years-old.
There the siblings, who were born 18 months apart, attended Wisbech Grammar School.
Helen said: "He knew very early on that he wanted to be a teacher. It was in his blood.
"We were very close as children being born not very far apart. And it was just him, my mum and I. We all remained very close even as we got older.
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"He chose to attend the University of East Anglia because he didn't want to be too far from his family."
While attending UEA Nick, who lived in Norwich and later Garrison Road in Great Yarmouth, was offered the opportunity to spend a year abroad in the south of France.
He spent a year in Arles and as a result became very active in the Wisbech Arles Twinning Club.
Helen added: "About 10 years ago Nick took me and my children on holiday to France. The people who worked in the hotel thought he was French, he was so fluent.
"He had such a talent for languages, it was unbelievable. He also spoke German and a little bit of Spanish."
Having completed his degree Nick began a PGCE at City of Norwich School where he then continued to work for the rest of his life.
He was the longest-serving teacher at CNS and had taught modern languages for more than 30 years.
"That school was in his blood. The school and teaching was his whole life, he absolutely loved it," Helen said.
"He was always taking on extra duties. He was head of modern languages and was in charge or organising foreign trips for pupils too.
"He took them away skiing and to Paris - but his planning was absolutely meticulous. He wanted to make sure everyone was safe and enjoyed themselves," she added.
"He always went above and beyond. One of the students who got in touch said that they lost their wallet while on a trip and he just gave them some money so they could enjoy themselves. That was just him, he was so kind.
"He was strict as well - but that was a bit of an exterior.
"When you got to know him he had this absolutely wonderful sense of humour."
Nick became ill on December 13 and was admitted to the intensive care unit at the James Paget University Hospital on December 20.
Although he was double jabbed and had no Covid symptoms, what Nick believed to be a stomach bug turned out to be coronavirus.
On December 29 Nick, who was also diabetic, was put on a ventilator and died on January 2.
Helen said: "He was taken far too soon. The day before he was put on a ventilator he was asking when he could go back to work.
"He was ringing us all from intensive care saying how wonderful the staff had been and was telling us he wanted to make a donation to the ward. He was so positive.
"He was double jabbed and planned on getting his booster - but was already in hospital before the appointment.
"It happened so quickly. He had pneumonia, kidney failure, heart failure, a collapsed lung, the whole works.
"Anyone who thinks that this virus doesn't exist just needs to look at the people who are dying. He had diabetes but he was double jabbed and was young and healthy."
She added: "The messages we have had from his students have been a massive help because they've showed us the amazing impact he had on students.
"It's so difficult as well though because it just shows he was taken too soon."
As well as sister Helen, Nick leaves behind his mother Carol, his father John, niece Madeleine, nephew William and brother in law Wayne.