David Shipston and Lily Daish share a story that stands the test of time.
On a warm summer day in January 1962, Joan Shipston and her two-year-old daughter Wendy were enjoying the sunshine at the Raymond West Swimming Pool in Shepparton.
While the pool was abuzz with excited children, disaster struck when Wendy found herself in the pool unable to swim, floundering to stay afloat.
‘‘I heard a woman panicking, and yelling out that she cannot swim,’’ Lily said.
Lily was 35 and a Shepparton kindergarten teacher at the time, visiting the pool with her students.
It was Lily’s quick thinking that had her jump into the pool and pull Wendy to safety.
‘‘I saw this little girl walk straight into the water as if it was grass,’’ Lily said.
‘‘I couldn’t understand why her mother wasn’t jumping in to save her — then I realised the mother couldn’t swim.
‘‘So I jumped in the pool, swam over to her and pulled her out of the water.’’
While Lily was a stranger to the Shipstons at the time of the incident, she quickly became an important memory in their family’s lives.
Now 91, Lily stumbled across the Shipston family once again while staying at Shepparton Villages’ Banksia Lodge for respite care.
Joan Shipston’s son, David, the care manager at Banksia Lodge, said he knew straight away who Lily was when she walked through the doors.
‘‘Mum always talked about Lily as being the saviour of Wendy,’’ David said.
While David was not born at the time when Lily saved his sister’s life, he had heard the story many times from his mother.
‘‘Mum nominated Lily for a Pride of Australia Award, which recognises people who have performed outstanding events in their lives,’’ David said.
‘‘Mum was upset that Lily didn’t get recognised for what she did, because unfortunately at the time there were no records or knowledge that the incident occurred.’’
Some 56 years later, the roles have been reversed and David has been able to care for Lily at Banksia just like she did for his family member many years ago.
‘‘David is taking his turn to look after me ... he’s paying me back,’’ Lily said.
‘‘I thank him greatly for returning the favour.’’
David said it was one of life’s great surprises how a situation like this could come about.
‘‘That is one of the pleasures of this job, there is such a community feel and you meet some amazing people,’’ he said.
‘‘It has been so nice to be able to recognise Lily and thank her for what she did.’’
Lily said she was sad to be leaving respite care at Banksia, especially since it meant having to say goodbye to David.
‘‘The Shipstons have never forgotten what I did for them,’’ she said.
‘‘I would love to stay here another week if I could.’’