Mieke van der Veen neemt afscheid van ‘haar’ Eekeburen

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“Het is moeilijk loslaten. Ik wist het natuurlijk al, maar nu het echt zover is…”

OLDEKERK/NIEKERK – Na dertig mooie jaren is het straks dan toch zover. Mieke van der Veen stopt als bedrijfsleider van Sportcentrum Eekeburen. 67 jaar is ze, dus is het volgens de regeltjes tijd om te genieten van andere dingen. Toch valt het afscheid haar zwaar, stelt ze. “Dit is een belangrijk onderdeel van mijn leven. 30 jaar al. Kijk, ik wist natuurlijk al veel langer dat ik afscheid ging nemen, maar nu het echt zover is…” Eerst maar twee maandjes lekker niks doen, zegt ze. “Oppassen op de kleinkinderen en kijken waar ik daarna mijn ei kwijt kan. Want stilzitten is geen optie.”

Inmiddels is Mieke bezig aan haar laatste dagen als bedrijfsleider bij het zwembad annex sporthal dat gesitueerd is op de grens van het tweelingdorp Oldekerk-Niekerk. “Mijn opvolgster Hannie Brandsma is inmiddels al gearriveerd en wordt momenteel ingewerkt”, vertelt Mieke. “Confronterend hoor, want ik voel me helemaal nog geen 67 jaar.” Van de uitdrukking ‘lekker genieten straks’ wil ze dan ook niets weten. “Wat heb ik hier de afgelopen dertig jaar dan gedaan?”, stelt ze lachend de tegenvraag. “Zonder gekheid, ik heb hier al die jaren met volle teugen genoten van mijn werk, collega’s en gasten. Hele generaties heb ik zien opgroeien en terug zien komen met nieuwe generaties. Ik ben hier zelf gegroeid en heb het sportcentrum zien groeien. Prachtig.” Het zorgt er ook voor dat ze straks ongetwijfeld even moet slikken. “Ik ga namelijk niet alleen weg, maar moet ook afstand nemen”, vindt Mieke. “Hier vrijwilligerswerk doen is geen optie. Je blijft dan toch Mieke, de bedrijfsleider. De kans is aanwezig dat ik Hannie in de weg ga lopen en dat is het laatste dat ik wil.” Natuurlijk blijft ze langskomen, belooft ze. Voor een kopje koffie of als lid van een zwemgroep, “maar daar zal het dan ook bij blijven.” Genieten is wat al die jaren heeft gedaan in wat inmiddels ‘haar’ Eekeburen is geworden. “Er liggen hier veel mooie herinneringen. Ik ben hier begonnen met het volgen van zwemlessen en ben via de schoonmaak opgeklommen naar dus uiteindelijk bedrijfsleider. Deels door mijn eigen inzet, maar ook zeker omdat zij mij hier de ruimte gaven om mij verder door te ontwikkelen.” Niet alleen Mieke ontwikkelde ze zich stormachtig, ook het sportcentrum maakte flinke stappen voorwaarts. “Er is hier een behoorlijke verduurzamingsslag gemaakt”, weet ze. “Ik wil niet zeggen dat dat allemaal onder mijn bewind is gebeurd, want er lagen hier in 1987 al zonnepanelen op het dak. Eekeburen is altijd al een voorloper geweest op gebied van duurzaamheid en is dat ook altijd gebleven, vind ik. Alles wat hier kapot ging of aan vervanging toe was, heeft een duurzame vervanging gekregen. Dat heb ik niet alleen gedaan. Er staat hier een sterk en welwillend bestuur dat meedenkt. En dat ook altijd heeft gedaan.” Zoals dokter Meijer, die 40 jaar voorzitter van Eekeburen is geweest. “Daar heb ik een mooie tijd mee gehad. Meijer is inmiddels overleden, maar heeft ontiegelijk veel betekend voor dit zwembad. Miente (Pietersma red.) en ik hebben het nog vaak over hem.” Mieke neemt afscheid van een sportcentrum dat staat als een huis. “Een goed onderhouden gebouw, duurzaam, gedragen door vrijwilligers en een leuk personeelsbestand”, somt ze op. “Hannie komt in een gespreid bedje. Het is nu aan haar om alles naar haar hand te zetten en haar eigen stempel erop te drukken. Eekeburen is klaar voor de toekomst, dus alhoewel het afscheid mij zwaar valt, ga ik met een gerust hart in de wetenschap dat ik het goed achterlaat.” Het afscheidsfeestje met haar collega’s is al geweest. Inclusief oude Mercedes, bloemen, lekker eten en een optreden van DINDUA. “Een schitterende dag”, blikt Mieke terug. “En nu dus doorgaan met genieten. Zoals ik hier de afgelopen dertig jaar elke dag heb gedaan. Het is mooi geweest.”

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