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The Double Blue International

Wesley College Colombo - Sri Lanka

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

By Christina Georgina Rossetti


In Memoriam - Mr. Raju Hensman - By Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

February 2001

RAJU HENSMAN —(Retired teacher, Wesley and St. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia), beloved husband of Pathma (National Christian Council), precious father of Rapti (Canada), loving father-in-law of Christie Ratnam (Canada), loving brother of Thalatha Lovell and of late Thabo Perera, expired. Remains will lie at the residence from Thursday to Saturday morning and thereafter at A. F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour. Service at 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 3rd. February followed by burial at 5.00 p.m. at the General Cemetery, Kanatte.No. 4, Somasunderam Road, off Station Road, Wellawatte. 

It was with great sadness I read the obituary of Mr. Hensman just a few weeks ago. I first came across Mr.Hensman in 1956 when he taught us Chemistry in that airy classroom at the end of the corridor before turning into the stairs to the Library. He was an excellent teacher kind, considerate and gentle and knew his subject well. Mr. Hensman was always well dressed and powdered with the clothes immaculately creased. His dry sense of humour amused us when the going was rough. The "honkers" from the back of the class had little chance to disturb when he was on, in spite of his kindly manner. As a teacher he was far from pompous. His slight shyness belied a quiet self-confidence, and he was a lively and gregarious character, with a constant sparkle in his eye. He was invariably good company as we realised when we became senior.

He had all the gifts necessary for a teacher– intelligence, knowledge, warmth, friendliness, caring and also devotional seriousness which helped in the pastoral care. As a result he was a popular figure wherever he went and was both a sensitive and a generous counsellor to many students.

He was a man of extraordinary intellect, who cared deeply about teaching students. He was also a person with great kindness and humanity. The two so rarely go together. He made us feel we had something to offer even when we were callow and simple. As we were beginners in Chemistry he shone his torch for us as we groped towards examinations. He listened attentively to our weekly essays and marked them considerately. I can speak from personal experience of his dedication to his pupils and concern for their welfare.

After 34 year a teacher at Wesley he retired in 1988 and decided to remain in his old haunt at Wellawatte. Although I had Mr. Hensman as a teacher for just one year I will always remember him for the excellent grounding he gave me in Chemistry and for his caring ways. I wish he knew that one of his students in his chemistry class of 1956, R.Somanathan is now the Associate Prof. of Organic Chemistry at the University of San Diego, USA.

May his Soul Rest in Peace.


Raju Hensman by Keith De Kretser

Teacher at Wesley College from 1956-1988

It is with sadness that I pen this tribute to the late Mr Raju Hensman, retired Teacher who served Wesley College with distinction for thirty two years and passed away at the end of January this year. Those of us who were at Wesley from 1956 to 1988 will I am sure have many memories of Mr Hensman. The image that I have of him at Wesley is of a short, very dark complexioned bald man that had a high pitched voice and who possessed some effeminate mannerisms. He was always impeccable dressed in white short sleeve shirt and long white trousers with the creases crisply starched and as sharp as a razor. From this description you would instantly gather that if he was to have a “nickname” it would be because of a physical attribute rather than anything else. And so it was that in Mr Hensman’s case it was “Cheese Ball” because of his bald head. Little did we realise that he was pioneering a fashion trend that is popular all over the world today.

Schoolboys could be quite mean and I am sure that when the name was coined there was no consideration given to Mr Hensman’s feelings. He was also known as “Koli” and “Kikkili” – “nicknames” that were derived from his surname.

Mr Hensman was a qualified Teacher (Inter-Science Calcutta English Trained) specialising in Maths and Sciences. Very early in his time at Wesley he taught Chemistry in the senior school. I had the priviledge of being taught by him in a number of classes in Maths and General Science as I progressed from the Kindergarten to the Senior School.

He had a thorough knowledge of his subject and was a strict disciplinarian but also considerate and kind in his manner. I recall one occasion during an interval when my classmates and I would relish a game of “King”. I happened to be the chaser and in my eagerness to get another person out I took this firm shot at a classmate hiding behind a pillar. The ball missed my friend and also whizzed past Mr Hensman’s shiny head as he ducked for cover. The ball was confiscated and I was summoned to his classroom. I subsequently had to front up to Mr Premawardhena and had to apologise to Mr Hensman for my actions. However the ball was not returned much to the disappointment of my friends and I As a consequence I must have appeared to be insincere in my apology to him. Later that afternoon/early evening when Mr Hensman arrived at my home for my tuition he mentioned the incident to my mother who in turn mentioned it to my father when he got home from work. I was marched down to Mr Hensman’s home by my father and I had to apologise again and also got two of the best from my father for my trouble. On reflection it was part of my personal development and growing up to be a responsible citizen and gentleman.

Teachers of Mr Hensman’s calibre were loyal and dedicated to their craft and their remuneration was a pittance when considering what they had to put up with. Our parents entrusted us to their care and they in turn inculcated in us a set of values, discipline and knowledge that has helped us over the years. As diminutive as Mr Hensman was, he can stand tall as one of Wesley’s loyal teachers who served the College with distinction and devotion.

I probably shared many more experiences with him than the other students as he lived only a few streets away at Somasunderam Place off Station Road, Wellawatte. Though he gave the impression that he was a very serious person I saw his funny side on many occasions as teachers and student gathered outside the Gas Company Showrooms on Galle Road to catch the school bus each day. The late Mr Watson Wijewickrema and the Late Mrs Sheila Arndt (previously Wijeyekoon) and Mr Hensman would carry on a lively chat which often continued on board the bus much to our amusement and inquisitive ears. He tutored me in Maths for a short period of time and I recall he would have much delight in joining my mother for a chat over a “cuppa” as I plodded through the sums he had set me. I am indebted to his efforts as it contributed to my good grounding in Maths which resulted in my obtaining a University degree with Double Maths majors.

He became firm friends with my parents and when he married in the late sixties my parents and I attended his wedding. If I recall correctly, my mother made his wedding cake. When my family and I migrated to Australia he purchased many items of furniture and household items some which he still had when I met him in 1999. Though we lost touch over the years, when I returned to Colombo in 1999 for the 125th Jubilee Celebrations he made it a point to seek me out for a chat at the Jubilee Dinner held at the Oberoi. I had a photograph taken with him that day. Mr Hensman had aged which was to be expected but his mannerisms were still the same and as expected he was impeccable dressed for the occasion.

He was very keen to find out how some of his former students were faring in Australia. Teachers like Mr Hensman took a keen interest in theirs students not only in class but long after they had left school. He was pleased to hear that many of this former students were getting along well in Australia. He invited me for a meal and I had the privilege of taking my family to his home at Somasunderam Place for afternoon tea. His wife and he who were both retired were looking forward to joining their only daughter and her husband in Canada in the near future. Sadly it wasn’t to be.

Thirty two years as a teacher at Wesley College is a long time. To spend such a significant part of one’s life dedicated to Education and Wesley College is indeed laudable and hundred of students had the benefit of Mr Hensman as their teacher.

We are indebted to teachers like Mr Hensman who we have met along life’s journey and have contributed in their own way to moulding a rich mosaic of knowledge and character which is uniquely ours. Thank you Sir for your loyal and dedicated service to Wesley College and all her sons. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to be taught by you.

May God grant you eternal rest.

Sincere sympathies to Mrs Pathma Hensman, daughter Rapti and son-in-law Christie Ratnam.

Keith de Kretser

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Walter Jayasooriya

Obituary 1999

The Doyen of Sri Lankan Hockey - No More

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Walter Jayasooriya was recognised as the Father of Ceylon Hockey and is deeply respected by the Hockey fraternity in the Island. A thread of simple decency ran all through his hockey career; it was perhaps his defining characteristic, and he became a much-liked and respected figure. Walter cut a strikingly handsome figure on and off the field. He was a dignified sportsman at all times.

In his day Walter was a brilliant hockey player and later a respected referee. He was known for his technical skill, creative vision and tactical awareness. Receiving and passing the ball precisely was a skill he seemed to possess naturally. He was a supreme tackler scoring many goals. His reputation rested not only on his individual skills but also as an extraordinary team player. He became a glamorous symbols of style and success. Walter brought an authority and experience which raised our game tremendously in the international arena.

Walter is also remembered by several generations of Wesleyites as a loyal old boy of the school. He was a high profile, flamboyant character well known to many. Walter will be deeply missed at the old boys gatherings, OBU meetings and lunches. He was an entrancing raconteur who saw the funny side of life. His speeches were laced with plenty of wit and humour that elevated the mood and lit up the proceedings. Without his live wire and spark the old boys' gatherings will never be the same again.

His demise is an enormous loss to Sri Lankan hockey and Wesley. Walter lived a long, interesting and rewarding life and will always remain as one of the acclaimed legends of Sri Lankan Hockey. He will be fondly remembered at Wesley with great honour and esteem.

From Edmund Dissanayake

Photo: Walter Jayasooriya - Kindly sent to me by Peter Peiris

Wesley lost one of her most distinguished and loyal Old Boys in the course of 1999. Walter needed no introduction to Wesleyites whether they be senior citizen, middle aged or young Old Boys. He will not be forgotten not only for his prowess, as a hockey player, official and an administrator in those sporting circles, but also for the unbroken stint as a Vice Patron of the Old Boys' Union, his loyalty to the school will be regarded as exemplary. Walter passed on his knowledge of the game willingly to the generations that followed. Walter's sense of humour will long be remembered especially at Founder's Day Lunches where with his closest friend A Mylvaganam he would have the Hall roaring with laughter. Hockey and Wesley have lost a favourite son.

From Dennis De Rosayro

Walter J is no more The flame of Sri Lanka hockey has been extinguished, though expected at the ripe age of 84, all lovers of hockey in Sri Lanka and abroad, especially India will receive the news with sadness. An Old Wesleyte Walter Jayasooriya was a colossus among giants and his comuterparts in India and Pakistan respected him with awe for his wealth of knowledge of the game and its rules and administration. When India dominated the hockey world for five decades, he was affectionately known as "Mr. Walter - the mighty atom of Sri Lanka hockey," and deservingly so. He was officially connected with Ceylon/Sri Lankan hockey since 1938 and one time member and office bearer of the then Ceylon Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association. Numerous times he was the senior vice-president of the Sri Lanka Hockey Federation, Chairman of both the selection and umpires' committees, and Ceylon's first international Hockey Umpire. In 1963 he went as general team manager for the 1st Ganefo Djakarta Games, hockey manager to Ceylon/Sri Lanka team in 1953, 1957, 1959, 1966 and 1969 and manager at the 5th Asian Games to Bangkok in 1966. Perhaps his greatest achievement and contribution to Sri Lankan hockey was when he and the late Mr. T.M.N. Mahamooth went to India in 1955 to witness and study the organization of the Indian Hockey Nationals. His dream dawned in August 1956, when the 1st Hockey Nationals was inaugurated, the very first in any sport in Sri Lanka. Walter was a walking encyclopaedia on all matters relating to hockey and possessed up-to-date authentic records - indeed a labour of love. He spotted me as a schoolboy at St. Benedict's College in 1954 and it was a privilege to have known and associated with Walter ever since, who virtually gave all of his time and knowledge for the game he loved so much. The Father of Sri Lankan Hockey has gone to his eternal rest!

Links to further reading

In Memoriam - A. Mylvaganam
Researched by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Photo: A.Mylvaganam

A. Mylvaganam captained the All-Ceylon Team. He was best known as “The Hockey Wizard’. Mylvaganam is considered one of the best players produced by Wesley and Sri Lanka. His goal-scoring feats were extraordinary. Being a renowned short corner specialist he packed dynamite to his short corners and penalty hits. Those shots were a nightmare for the goalkeepers. The ball was hit with such great force it whacked the rear board of the goal that boomed like a clap of thunder.

He is remembered by the Sri Lankan hockey fraternity as a hockey legend. Undeniably Mylvaganam will be remembered not only as a key member of the Sri Lankan team but for his immense contributions and love for the game of hockey on the pitch and beyond. His mastery of the stick work, commitment and loyalty to the game will long be remembered. Together with several stalwarts of the game Mylvaganam through his ongoing dedication to field hockey helped to establish it as a national and international sport. They all played such a huge role in so many capacities to help shape the sport in Sri Lanka. Mylvaganam left behind a legacy which will always be remembered and cherished. They will indeed serve as a beacon for the budding new talent in the game.

It is often said Mylvaganam was to hockey what Sathasivam was to cricket. With his bohemian lifestyle he made many friends and became a popular figure socially and in the playing field. Mylvaganam was a pioneer in hockey at Wesley. He learnt the game up at school playing at Campbell Park. Mylvaganam played 1st XI cricket for Wesley College. He made a tremendous contribution as a cricketer for Tamil Union for several years.

Mylvaganam was flashy and flamboyant. It was considered wise not to get on his wrong side on or off the field. He could be volatile and belligerent but was always quick to forgive and forget. His attitude was always dignified and conciliatory. The Tamil Union was his life which he served in many different ways. Ever present in the club house or in the playing field, it was indeed his second home. Perhaps it was his wish to breathe his last there, and so he did, when the time finally arrived. He was deeply missed at the Tamil Union Club by his many friends.

Mylvaganam was a loyal Old Boy of Wesley and was ever present at the OBU meetings,lunches and gatherings with his erstwhile friend Walter Jayasooriya, another Hockey legend. They both made a tremendous contribution to the cameraderie, social life and friendships within the OBU. Their speeches, anecdotes and laughter filled the air at the OBU gatherings in the Great Hall. On behalf of the Worldwide Brotherhood of Wesleyites We thank him for his contribution to the life of the school.

From the Ceylon Hockey Federation - March 1955

A. MYLVAGANAM. Captain, Half back, 33 years. Government Servant, Captained Wesley College Hockey Team in 1941. Has been a regular member and one of the best players of the Tamil Union Team from 1939. Is now Captain of the Tamil Union Hockey Team. Was an automatic choice in the Ceylon Teams as from 1947, and has represented Ceylon against all visiting teams. Has the distinction of being the only Ceylon player selected to play with the Indians in an exhibition match in Colombo in 1947. Has Captained several C. H. A. teams. Played for the Combined Colleges Cricket Team in 1941, and is a Member of the Tamil Union Cricket Team. Captained the Ceylon . Team on the South Indian Tour in 1953

Mylvaganam is a Hockey legend and considered as one of the Hockey greats of Ceylon

May he find Eternal Peace

Links to further reading

In Memoriam - Fitzroy Muthuvaloe

Obituary 1999

We have to place on record the demise of Fitzroy formerly Vice President and one time Secretary of the Welfare Society. His attachment to the school was evident from the hard work he did. Fitzroy was an Old Boy who was always present when his services were needed.

Addendum from Nihal D Amerasekera

On one of my visits to to Wesley - Fitzroy Muthuvaloe , Fred Abeysekera and Neville Weerasekera decided to walk the long corridors and the maginifient gardens on a hot sunny day. It was a wonderul walk down memory lane as we reminisced. Fitzroy spoke softly and deliberately and his warm affection for the school was obvious. He had an unjustified modesty about his achievements as Vice President of the OBU.

He graced the OBU as an independent-minded person, and was widely acclaimed as one of the most principled old boys. In that world of monstrous egos, tantrums and shark-like competition Fitzroy was a beacon of reliability, pragmatic trustworthiness and common sense. Fitzroy was an inveterate networker known for his quiet charm but was able to collect funds and support Wesley during those financially perilous times. He was wonderful company, a marvellous friend and a magnificent person. The only tribute that he would want, the only memorial that would do him justice, is enduring application of his loyalty to his old school.

That was the last time I saw him. He was a friend to all and we will miss him.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - D.S Wijemanne - by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

I remember him from my first days at school as the Tuck Shop man selling his stuff in a shed behind the Hostel kitchen. The shed had a "takarang" roof being hot during hot weather, cold during cold weather, and noisy during rainy weather. Wije and his sidekick Jinadasa provided the sustenence for the boarders and days scholars alike. At the short interval there is mayhem in the tuck due to the brisk sale and immense traffic. He was always polite except to those who did not settle their bills. Subsequently he was in charge of the canteen at the Medical College Colombo. He treated old Wesleyites with a free "tea and punt" when times were hard. I last met him when I took my sons to see Wesley College in 1995. He didn't look a year older than when I first saw him at the old Tuck. We had a long chat about times gone by. This time he gave a free Coca Cola to both my sons. He was an astute businessman, an excellent Old Boy and a good and genuine friend. With his great integrity, his wit and his charm being in the school premises all his working life he sought solutions to problems about the old school when none were thought possible. Such dedication is a rarity and he is irreplaceable.

Links to further reading


D. S. Wijemanne by Edmund Dissanayake

He was one of the most popular old boys that Wesley has produced. He had a canteen at Wesley where boys ran up big bills. Whether these bills were honoured, one does not know. His popularity extended to other schools like Royal and St. Thomas’. Wije was a family friend for close upon 60 years. He played for Wesley as a pace bowler. The best in him was revealed whenever any person fell ill.

Once the Wesley ground boy Vincent Perera found him sleeping on the cricket matting in the middle of the ground, late at night. When he inquired as to the reason, he said that I had an argument with him and that he was at fault. Vincent came home to tell me about this problem. I assured him that there was nothing that transpired. I remember when I was hospitalized for a month, Wije was very helpful to my wife. He was there when help was sorely needed. He was a man for all seasons. At Wije’s funeral, not only Wesley, but the students of many other schools were present. Wesley gave him the highest honour.

When will we be able to see the like of him? He was a man in a million.


D. S. Wijemanne The Tucks Most Unforgettable Character By D.F.Abeysekera

This article has been transcribed from the 125th Anniversary souvenir

One of the persons a 'new boy' to Wesley inevitably met on his first day, was DSW- affectionately called 'Wije' who headed what was to a schoolboy the most important infrastructure of the School, viz "the Tuck Shop" Without "Wije" there would have been no mid-day break with its Fish buns ( those delicious lumps of baked dough with savoury fish), no seeni sambol and freshly baked bread (Wije knew the art of keeping bread 'oven fresh' for several days) and no 'patties'. The cutlets which Wije produced were truly a triumph of culinary art. What they contained was the subject of much conjecture and debate.

I recall an incident (Derrick Mack and I were having tea in the Tuck) when the Hockey Goalie walked in with his gear, up and rearing to to prepare himself for a strenuous practice session at Campbell Park. A mountain of fish buns was placed before him by " Wije " ( he knew his customers exceedingly well) and the lad begun his business in earnest and calculated that he had eaten "only eight " fish buns ( how could one go for Hockey practice on an empty stomach), but "Wije" who had kept an eagle eye on Mike's deft movements reckoned that the count was eleven. In the ensuing controversy, "Wije" calm and unruffled, accepted the customer is sometimes right , and the goalie paid for eight. It has been rumoured that he had ultimately paid for the fish buns he had consumed long after he had emigrated to Australia, as expected of him. Running a Tuck Shop for growing schoolboys, (horizontally ) with rapacious appetites was no mean task. Mountains of food - that would have knocked Pidurutalagala into second place- were devoured each (lay- in the short break, in the lunch interval and after school- all in manner of fleeting seconds. And "Wije" kept a miraculous count of individual consumption despite cheek by jowl conditions, and an accounts of those buying on 'tick' being fair. To say that he kept all and sundry well filled and content would be correct.

Always a happy man, "Wije" enjoyed identifying himself with all of Wesley's extra-curricular activities. He was seen at all matches- cricket. Hockey. Rugby Football, soccer; swimming galas, athletic sports meets, OBU functions and at the dynamic Old Wesleyites Sports Club events and he did not miss an Annual prize giving. It was fascinating to have observed "Wije" on the Cricket Field, representing Wesley in the over 40's match against Royal in 1993 when the two schools celebrated one hundred years of school cricket with each other. Associated with him as a team mate was his son, Jayantha Whilst Royal (astutely, and well within their rights) fielded a side barely over 40, Wesley's spread was more generous and more attuned to the spirit of the event Wije was in his sprightly seventies. It was this great spirit of DSW that attracted people to him.

His commitment to Wesley was an intense one and he enjoyed being a Wesleyite. He was very proud of the school and to be associated with it. His death brought to an end a long association with Wesley as a College Prefect, Cricketer, and Tuck Shop Man. He provided a valuable service, and a most enjoyable meeting point to many thousands of school boys who passed through the portals of Wesley's hallowed Buildings. We shall surely miss his kindly and jovial presence at the current celebrations, when "past and present kindly meet" and in the years ahead.

May he attain the ultimate Bliss of Nirvana.


In Memoriam - Lt Col. Sumith Dhammika Perera, RWP.RSP

Highly decorated Officer and a Gentleman By Neville Weerasekera

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them

From the poem for the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Photo: Sumith Dhammika Perera

The on-going hostilities in the North of Sri Lanka has claimed lives of thousands of young men and women and amongst the bravest will belong the name of Lt. Col Sumith Dhammika Perera. He .served in the Sri Lanka Army ten years with exemplary conduct and valour and is on of the most highly decorated Officers, In this relatively short period, he was an outstanding officer leading hi men with courage in the battlefield. For these achievements, during his lifetime he received the highest honour medal of "Rana Wickrema Paddakkama", for outstanding bravery and valour. On the 10th of November, 1995 he laid down his life for his country in the course of the Riviresa Operation, and wa posthumously awarded the "Rana Suriya Padakkama' once again for outstanding bravery in face of the enemy.

This high honour is bestowed not for reasons of rank, nor wounds nor long service or whatsoever condition, save the merit of conspicuous bravery. Truly a most democratic award for a signal act of valour an bravery, in devotion to his country. Sumith Dhammika Perera was educated at Wesley College and showed early promise of his abilities as leader. His parental home, nurtured in him from earl days the love of school and country, and service to the Nation as being the prime object in life. His father W. A C. Perera indeed by his own example, encouraged his young son in the development of these and other noble traits At Wesley he was a much loved student, Personality of good character and conduct. He was school Prefect, and Captained Hockey , was a member of Rugger XV teams, and won his colours in both games.

After leaving College he could have chosen the comfort and safety of a civilian life, but became Commissioned Officer, and saw active duty in the North for ten years until he laid down his life in the course of enemy action. He belonged to Kiran Camp and indeed was a hero of this contingent. For any family the tragic death of this smart officer at the early age of 30 years a young son, & husband who whole life lay ahead, with so much promise, is indeed tragedy of unbearable proportions. Yet the manner his death, his noble conduct in the Army, his love and affection and bearing to his family and friends are great sources of consolation. We are grateful that we were allowed even a short period of contact with this outstanding a person. Outstanding not only as an Army Officer, but as a dutiful husband, son and brother and loyal friend.

Each year on January the 15th, the Anniversary his birth, it is a time to especially remember him, and that he lived for. In order to perpetuate the memory this brave officer a "Memorial Foundation" bearing the name has been instituted by his family and friends, which undertakes meritorious acts. In 1999 one of these h been to award scholarships to sons of .soldiers killed action and other deserving students at the "A" level, and in the University. Wesley is indeed proud that a product of the school has received the highest Military honour in the service of the nation. It is our earnest hope that the laying down of the life Sumith Dhammika, along with the many others, will pave the way to a peaceful and united Lanka in the very near future.

Lt. Col. Sumith Dhammika Perera by W. Nayomi Perera

Photo: Sumith Dhammika Perera

The fifth year remembrance pinkama in memory of late Lt. Col. Sumith Dhammika Perera RWP, RSP who was 2nd in Command of 1 Gemunu Watch and sacrificed his life in the Riviresa Operation will take place on November 9 and 10 at his Battaramulla residence.

On Thursday November 9 (today) a Pahan Pooja and Dhammadesana will be conducted by Ven. Kolonnawe Siri Sumangala Thero of "Samadhi Ashramaya’, Devram Viharaya, Pannipitiya from 7.00 p.m. followed by an alms giving to Maha Sangha on November 10. Sumith’s comrades-at-arms, his Wesley College friends and associates, relations, members and well-wishers of Lt. Col. Sumith Dhammika Perera Memorial Foundation are cordially invited to join in this pinkama.

A special feature of this pinkama is the opening of a library of Buddhist Publications for children and adults organised by the family and dedicated to the memory of this young army officer, as a service to those keen in the study and practice of Buddha Dhamma.

Arrangements are also being made to help a disabled soldier R. G. Rohana Sumanasiri of Nikawewe in the Weli Oya region who has made an appeal to Lt. Col. Sumith Dhammika Perera Memorial Foundation in the relocation of his house close to Anuradhapura, as his family had to abandon their earlier home due to terrorist attacks in November 1999 and had to live in a refugee camp. He has been helped by Lt. Gen. Denzil Kobbakaduwa Trust for the purchase of roof timber and has sought our assistance for the covering of the roof with asbestos sheets.

Taking into consideration his present predicament, a presentation would be made at this pinkama as a measure of assistance to him and any one who wishes to join in our attempt to fulfill his wish, may contact the Foundation on Tel. No: 864022 for details.

May we on this occasion remember and offer merit to Lt. Col. Sumith Perera and the thousands of all ranks who have sacrificed their lives to make our country a safer place for all communities to live in peace!

Down Memory Lane by Saman Wijesooriya

Photo: Sumith Dhammika Perera

Lieutenant Colonel Sumith Dammika Perera RWP, RSP was my first Adjutant (Principal staff officer to the Commanding Officer) when I joined 1st Battalion The Gemunu Watch (Leading infantry battalion in the Sri Lanka Army) as a 2nd lieutenant in 31st December 1989.Still I remember the 1st day I met Captain Perera at the battalion headquarters to hand over my movement order received from Sri Lanka Military Academy – Diyatalawa. After accepting it Captain Perera took me directly to the battalion operations room at Konduwattuwana – Ampara & started to brief me about the tactical areas of troops deployment using Topographical & Grid Maps. Luckily I had a small note book inside my uniform shirt pocket; I immediately took the note book out & jotted down the grid references of the localities. Captain Perera paused for a while & I saw him looking at me from head to toe & toe to head. Then he asked me to sit & write down the relevant information.

From that day onwards Captain Perera was behind me observing my behavior & performances but no favourations. Because of my superior’s guidance & instructions I got an above average grading for my first Annual Confidential Report from the Commanding Officer. On the same day Captain Perera called me to his office & told “Wijesooriya you have done well as a second lieutenant but the battalion needs more from you in the future & you should fly the College Flag high”. That was the first time I heard Captain Perera mention WESLEY.

As Mahendra aiya had stated Captain Perera fought bravely as the company commander of “A” company during LTTE attack at Kiran Army Camp & he was decorated with “RANAWICKRAMA PADAKKAMA” & RANASURA PADAKKAMA – gallantry medal awarded by the head of the state for distinguished conduct in the face of the enemy & for the bravery shown in the battle field.

After a few months Captain Perera was posted out from the battalion to take over the post of officer instructor at the prestigious Sri Lanka Military Academy – Diyatalawa. He was responsible for training & moulding of a civilian to military personnel & to be commissioned to Sri Lanka Army Regular / Volunteer force. During his tenure at Sri Lanka Military Academy Captain Perera was promoted to the rank of Major & he returned to the battalion in 1994. During that period our battalion was deployed at Elephant Pass for operational duties. Having arrived at EPS, Major Perera came directly to my office to hand over his movement order as I was the Adjutant of the battalion. After accepting his movement order I took Major Perera to the Commanding Officers Office. After having a very lengthy discussion with the Commanding Officer, Major Perera came once again to my office & advised me “Opendra (it was the first time he called me by my first name), complete your tenure as Adjutant, complete your tenure as a commander of a fighting company & at the same time work hard in order to get a posting to Sri Lanka Military Academy as an officer instructor, serve there & come back to the battalion as the 2nd in command”. At that moment I was a bit confused. But finally I realized what Major Perera wants from me, nothing but to follow his footsteps, which I have done during my twenty two years of unblemished military career.

After a few months Major Perera was appointed as the 2nd in Command of my battalion & I was appointed as a fighting Company Commander. During that period our battalion received an operational order from the Directorate of Operations – Army Head Quarters & with a very short notice we were air lifted to Palali from EPS & our troops directly joined with friendly forces for the “Operation Rivirasa”. Major Perera had to take full responsibility of the battalion as our Commanding Officer was on leave. Our battalion was tasked to advance from Urumparai to Kopai under heavy LTTE resistance. Major Perera gave his orders to troops in his capacity as the acting commanding officer of our battalion & finally he delivered specific troops to tasks for company commanders & to the officers of the battalion.

Strategic approaches were identified in detail & we received well planned & very clear orders from Major Perera. I was entrusted with the task of leading the company during the advance. We launched the advance operation next day at the dawn under heavy LTTE resistance & the casualty rate was found to be very high from the very beginning of the advance. But despite LTTE resistance we continued our advance & Major Perera was on the radio giving necessary instructions to enable us to carry out our tasks with confidence.

A few hours later our commanding officer contacted us over the radio & gave further instructions. Around noon, when the enemy resistance was found to be at a low ebb, the commanding officer called all company commanders over the radio & informed that our 2nd in command got injured & was evacuated for medical attention. We all thought that nothing untoward had happen to Major Perera & that he will be will be ok & continued our advance. Our troops consolidated the possessions which we gained during the dark hours. After consolidation process was completed all company commanders were asked to meet our commanding officer at a safe rear location. There we heard that Major Sumith Perera was killed in action. We all were shocked... for a few minutes, but finally we realized Major Perera who was with us through thick & thin will not be with us anymore. Our 2nd in Command had left us for his final journey without informing his subordinates.

Lieutenant Colonel Sumith Dammika Perera RWP, RSP scarified his life for a better tomorrow. I could not pay my last respect to you sir, because of operational commitments, but my battalion (it was your battalion also) with the assistance from Gamunu Watch Regimental Center, made all arrangements to conduct a proper military funeral.

I am a satisfied person today, because whatever the targets that you showed me, I have accomplished them to the best of my ability despite your absence during my military career. But some of my dreams remain unfulfilled. At the college I address you as aiya & you called me malli. But throughout our military career we could not address each other in that way. Both of us could not get any opportunity to be under “WESLEY STAND” to cheer up our rugby team or cricket team or hold each other’s hands at WESLEY WALK.

Great leaders are those who take a little more share of the blame & little less share of the credit. You were a great leader, Sir.

It has been a long twenty years ………….. Being a Wesleyite I got the opportunity to get your final orders & implement them to the best of my ability.

Sir, I will remember you with great respect throughout my life.

May you attain Nibbana

Mahendra aiya thank you very much for remembering a great son of mother Wesley.

By: Saman Wijesooriya.

Thulana Wijesooriya

Deputy Head Prefect (2014/15)

Wesley College


In Memoriam - Prof. Brian V. Jegasothy

 April 2001

Doctor devoted last years to his faith

Thursday, April 26, 2001 By Christopher Snowbeck, Post-Gazette Staff Writer, Pittsburgh USA

Dr. Brian V. Jegasothy, a former chairman of the dermatology department at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine, died last week after a long battle with cancer and Parkinson's disease. Dr. Jegasothy, 58, spent most of his life providing medical care, but dedicated his last two years to the spiritual care of Christians who migrated here from the Indian subcontinent. He founded the Asian Indian Christian Church of Pittsburgh, which brings together members of the region's Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. The author of more than 300 publications and several books, he helped develop an improved treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare kind of cancer. The photopheresis technique that Dr. Jegasothy and colleagues at Yale University pioneered in the 1970s remains the standard of care for serious cases of the rare cancer, explained his 32-year-old daughter, Dr. Manjula Jegasothy, who followed her father into dermatology.

The elder Dr. Jegasothy also contributed to the study of immunobullous diseases, in which the immune system attacks the skin and causes it to blister and fall off. He was instrumental in developing a topical form of FK506, the anti-rejection drug pioneered by organ transplant pioneers at Pitt. Topical FK506 has been used to treat conditions such as psoriasis in addition to the rashes that transplant patients develop. "He trained and taught and took care of patients with a very positive attitude and a very gentle manner," said Dr. Nancy S. Nieland-Fisher, a Pittsburgh dermatologist. "Although he was nationally respected, he was a very humble man who did not ever try to one-up someone or to embarrass. . . . Whenever dermatologists were sort of puzzled about a patient's disease or a treatment, we'd send those patients to Dr. Jegasothy and he always came up with some new diagnosis or a suggestion for some innovative treatment."

He was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He planned to enter medical school there in 1961, but construction of a new school hadn't been completed. So he and other students ended up working for a short time at a local bank. At the bank, he met a medical student who was taken with his sense of humor. They dated secretly during medical school. Their subsequent marriage was unusual because it wasn't arranged by their families. "He was my only love," said Dr. Juliet Jegasothy, medical director for hospital accreditation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

He was among the first Sri Lankan medical-school graduates to come to the United States for further study. After working at a hospital in New York City, he so impressed his mentor that the physician recommended him for a dermatology residency at Yale. From Yale, Dr. Jegasothy's career took him to Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania before he became chairman of the dermatology department at Pitt in 1987, a post he held until 1999.

Throughout much of his life, Dr. Jegasothy was a regular churchgoer, his wife said, but he experienced a deepening of faith with his illness. Thinagar Sitther, pastor of the Asian Indian Christian Church of Pittsburgh, said Dr. Jegasothy was "visionary" during the planning of the church, which began meeting in December 1999 at the Church of the Brethren's sanctuary in Squirrel Hill. Dr. Jegasothy anticipated the challenges such as determining which of the many languages spoken by church members would be used for services and helped craft solutions. "He declared to his friends that what mattered at the end was his faith in Jesus Christ," Sitther said. "In fact, I heard him say he had done many successful things, but this was the most significant thing in his life -- to be involved with this church and declaring his faith." Contributions in honor of Dr. Jegasothy may be made to the Asian Indian Christian Church of Pittsburgh, 3503 Beechwood Blvd., Pittsburgh 15217.

Addendum by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera:

Professor Jegasothy was a world renowned dermatologist and a visiting professor at over 50 Universities and clinics, and was the Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh. His published works include four dermatological books and over 300 articles. He has been an Examiner for American Dermatology Specialty Board, as well as Editor for numerous dermatological journals. Professor Jegasothy has been the Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. He also taught at Duke University and Yale University.

Brian was a boarder at Wesley with his brother Ranjit, from 1952-55. Then they left for Jaffna and arrived at Wesley again in 1958- where they remained until 1960. He was a brilliant scholar winning the Hill Medal in 1960 and obtaining a direct entry to the new Medical Faculty in Peradeniya. He had an illustrious University career. I recall the many happy times spent with him in the boarding, in the Sixth form and as a Junior Doctor in the General Hospital Kurunegela. Brian was a resident of the famous "Ambaruk Sevana" doctors quarters at Kurunegala and his Ford Anglia was a "taxi" for the many doctors visiting Colombo for the weekends. Above all I remember him for his polite and pleasant manner and his humility despite his outstanding intellect and many academic achievements. Brian was a proud Ceylonese and a loyal old boy of the school.

Obituary: Brian V. Jegasothy - From the University Times, University of Pennsylvania

Brian V. Jegasothy, former chair of dermatology in the School of Medicine, died last month of cancer and Parkinson's disease. He was 58.

A native of Sri Lanka, Jegasothy came to Pitt as professor of dermatology and chair of the department in 1987, a position he held until 1999. Prior to that he held appointments at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center and Yale University School of Medicine, where he did his dermatology residency. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1961 and a medical degree in 1966, both at the University of Ceylon. He also held a master's from Penn.

He was a member of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Federation for Clinical Research and the American Society for Dermatologic Allergy and Immunology, among others.

Author of several books and hundreds of articles, abstracts and chapters, Jegasothy was a frequent consultant and held several visiting professorships. At Pitt, he served on numerous academic committees, including the medical school executive committee, the graduate medical training subcommittee and committees on residency training for occupational medicine, and health and safety at the Graduate School of Public Health.

Jegasothy helped found the Asian Indian Christian Church of Pittsburgh, an organization serving local members of the Indian subcontinent community.

His wife, Juliet, is medical director of the managed care division at UPMC Health System.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Asian Indian Christian Church of Pittsburgh, 3503 Beechwood Blvd., Pittsburgh 15217.

 

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


The Final Farewell to Mr. KM De Lanerolle by N.S.Weerasekera

5th May 2001 Aged 90

a1The night of the 9th May, 2001 was indeed one of the stormiest, which yielded to a calm yet rainless, cloudy day to allow for a befitting funeral for Kenneth M de Lanerolle, who passed away on the 5th May, having completed his 90th birthday on the 20th of April. His remains was placed at AF Raymond's to allow the general public who knew him to pay their last respects upto the 9th morning, and thereafter it was transferred to the Wesley College Hall. At the College gate the cortege was met by the Principal, Mr.Dunstan Fernando, and Vice Principal Rev. Shihan Fernando, members of the staff, and Old Boys. A smart guard of honour was presented by the College Prefects, and Boy Scouts, and the casket was then carried, draped in the College Flag by the Prefects, all smartly attired in white longs and Blue Blazers, to the College Hall up the driveway, whilst Marshall ( the aging College Boy) tolled the College Bell, to mourn, as if, the departure of a great friend of Wesley. In the College Hall, the casket was placed on the bier and opened, and there was his mortal remains in a serene slumber of death., dressed in the manner he decreed, which was a simple National costume. Behind him was a garlanded youthful photograph, which normally adorned the walls of the Hall in company with other illustrious principals. Many present would re-call the same Kenneth de Lanerolle, as his elegant smart handsome self, with flowing gown, emerging on the stage from the rear to deliver in his most eloquent and perfectly enunciated diction an address to all present, to which they listened enraptured. It could have been a College Prize Day Report or a morning assembly.

Alas that voice was now stilled that once resonated across the College Hall. A hymn was then sung led by the school choir, and a prayer for his soul was said by the College Chaplain Rev. Shihan Fernando, who also thanked God for the life and service of Kenneth M. de Lanerolle. It was now 2.00pm, and the Principal and staff, old boys and present boys filed past to pay their respects and mourn the loss of great teacher , Principal, Vice Principal of Wesley. More Hymns were sung, and then the clergy Rev. Noel Fernando, Chairman of the Methodist Synod, and Rev. Ratnanayagam arrived to conduct a service at Wesley.

The service began with singing of the Hymn " Thine be the glory, risen conquering son", and was followed by reading from the Holy Bible by Rev. Noel Fernando. Then Hilary de Alwis, a student of Kenneth de Lanerolle, led the congregation in prayer, recalling and thanking God for the personal benefits he received, as well as many hundreds of others, from the guidance and direction he bestowed on his students. Then followed tributes by Shelton Peiris on behalf of Wesley College, and Geoffrey Scott on behalf of Kingswood College. Shelton Peiris dwelt on the many facets of the once very versatile Kenneth de Lanerolle. He was a teacher, elocutionist, with an admirable command of the English language, an actor, artist, photographer, writer and he directed the students' affairs in many disciplines. Geoffrey Scott recalled the valuable contribution he made to Kingswood College, as a fine administrator admired by staff and students alike. Another Hymn was sung, and to close the ceremony two of his grand-nephews Rohan & Ishan de Lanerolle rendered an appropriate duet in their rich baritone voices. Then Rev. Ratnanayagam pronounced the benediction, and family members bade their final farewell before the casket was closed. The casket was draped once again in the College Flag and borne by the College Prefects to the waiting hearse, to take him on his last journey to the Kanatte Cemetery.

The cortege was followed on foot by the senior prefects, scouts and others all the way to the lych gate at Kanatte, where was assembled a large number of old boys of Wesley, and Gentlemen of Kingswood. A long white cord was then attached to the hearse, and Old boys, held this cord upto a distance of hundred feet ahead to slowly vend their way to the crematorium. The pall bearers were Principal of Wesley, Mr. Dunstan Fernando, Principal of Kingswood, Mr.S.Chandrasekera, Mr.Edmund Dissanayake, Mr Tissa Jayatilleke, Mr Terry Benson and Mr Rienzie Wijetillake. The service at the crematorium was conducted by Rev. James Ratnanayagam, in the presence of large and distinguished gathering . In his funeral oration, Rev. Ratnanayagam dwelt on the life of Kenneth de Lanerolle, which he said was one of significant fulfillment. He was an outstanding educationist. He inspired so many many young people in his roles as Principal of several schools. And later served on several committees and formulated policy on several major educational topics. Indeed it was a full life, rich in quality and fulfillment. At the end of the oration a Hymn was sung and thereafter his mortal remains was consigned to the flames, after the benediction.

Among those present were family members , Mrs. Kalindi Wirasingha (daughter) and her husband Dr.Chula Wirasingha, his grand-daughters Shalomi and Chitrangani, Mrs. Lilamani Benson, Mrs Krishni Fernando and Mrs Nirukshi Fernando (nieces), Priya Jayawardena, Rohan de Lanerolle, Harris de Lanerolle and Mohan de Lanerolle nephews, Principals of Wesley and Kingswood, Mr.Dunstan Fernando, Mr.S.Chanderasekera, Emeritus Bishop Swithin Fernando, President and Commitee Members of the Wesley College OBU, and Kingswood Union, Mr. Rienzie Wijetillake and Mr.Asoka Perera. President of the Wesley Welfare Society, Mr.Tyrone Maye, President of the Wesley Sports Club Capt. Navin de Silva., as well as a large and representative gathering too numerous to name. Of the many old boys who turned out in their numbers to pay their last respects to Mr Kenneth de Lanerolle, many made spontaneous and sincere mention to family members of the depth of his influence in their lives. 'He made a man of me,' was what they all seemed to say!

Links to further reading


Kenneth M. de Lanerolle by Justice Chandradasa Nanayakkara

It is with a great sense of sorrow that I pen these few words as a tribute to one of my well-loved and revered teachers at whose feet I had the good fortune of studying as a student at Wesley College, Colombo.The demise of Mr. Kenneth M. de Lanerolle who passed away a few days ago, at the ripe old age of ninety, has removed from us yet another outstanding and respected teacher this country has produced. It was only a few months ago that he celebrated his 90th birthday.My own recollection of Mr. Lanerolle goes back to more than five decades ago, when I was admitted to Wesley College as a kindergarden student, when Rev. James Cartman was then the principal, and the late Mr. Lanerolle was vice-principal.

Mr. Lanerolle who was a graduate of the University of London, also held a M.A. degree in Linguistics from the University of Michigan, U.S.A. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and led many important teams of educationists and teachers to a number of countries.After many years of selfless service as the Vice Principal of Wesley College, he became the head of Kingswood College, Kandy. On retirement after a long and illustrious teaching career, he was appointed the Director of the Asian Christian Service in Vietnam, where for the yeoman services rendered he was awarded the Social Services Medal. Returning from this assignment in Vietnam he devoted himself to the activities of the National Christian Council and served in that organisation in many capacities.

When I joined Wesley College it had on its staff teachers of high calibre who moulded and guided the students upholding, the values and ideals of the highest order with utmost loyalty and dedication.If I were to single out one teacher who had the greatest impact on my life, it was Mr. Lanerolle. He was a teacher par excellence who gave himself to the cause of education and moral upliftment of the children in this country. He was one of the most versatile men I have had the fortune of coming in contact with. He was broadcaster, linguist, sportsman, dramatist, singer and actor. He was an excellent teacher and one of the finest English masters we have had. He was a stickler for grammatical accuracy and his language was unimpeachable. He had remarkable mastery of the English language and made every lesson in English come alive. He was always punctual, smartly and immaculately dressed. He instilled in everyone of us a sense of discipline and dedication.

To those in the teaching profession he was and will be an ideal and a shining model. His upright walk along the corridors of the college building was itself an example to the pupils.Mr. Lanerolle belonged to a rare breed of teachers who possessed an extensive knowledge in many fields other than his speciality - the English Language. He has written number of books and contributed extensively to the media.The character of the life he led may be summarized in a few words. He was self-sacrificing, indefatigable, conscientious and sincere.

He lived a full fruitful and meaningful life and met his death without having to endure the pangs of protracted illness and suffering.Wesley College and the other education institutions where he served should consider themselves fortunate to have had a man of high eminence and intellectual attainment like Mr. Lanerolle. Students who came under his influence and had the privilege of learning at his feet had their lives determined in one or another by his character and personality. His life was based on Christian principles which he never failed to profess and practice. A few days before his death, 1 went to look him up, addressing me in a feeble voice he said, "Chandradasa, I am now in the Departure Lounge". With his death our country has lost a teacher of undoubted stature who will be difficult to replace.

Now this great teacher has gone leaving a void in many places where he was needed and loved. All his pupils and the institutions he served owe a great deal to him and his name will be honoured with undying gratitude for many generations to come.

Mr. Lanerolle is now no more but his noble resplendent spirit will remain with us.

May he rest in peace!

In Memoriam - Kenneth M. de Lanerolle

With the death of Kenneth M. de Lanerolle in May this year at the age of 90, the life of an illustrious educationist ended.

Educated at Richmond, he was successively Vice Principal of Wesley, Principal of Kingswood and Principal of Wesley - all of them Methodist institutions set up in the 19th century in the noblest traditions of a liberal education by illustrious principals, Darrell, Blaze and Highfield. De Lanerolle picked up his role from them as a versatile, and gifted teacher, linguist, novelist, broadcaster, actor, playwright, poet, humorist, painter, geographer, public speaker and administrator.All these talents were gracefully blended in one outstanding school principal - the likes of which we will never see again in our grim educational landscape. My association with Mr. de Lanerolle was mainly, though by no means exclusively, in the field of English teaching, a vocation we shared. The late Minister of Education Dr. Badi-ud-din Mahmud hand- picked him to head a Committee of Inquiry into the Teaching of English in the Schools of Sri Lanka (CITE). The leadership he gave to this committee and the commitment and zeal with which he accomplished an important assignment designed to give our country "a place in the sun" are etched in my memory and undoubtedly in the memories of those who were associated with him in his task.'A Place in the Sun' was the apt title he gave to his report, which consisted of two parts and ran into 382 mimeographed pages. It appeared in 1973 in the aftermath of the lunar conquest, that "giant leap for mankind".

De Lanerolle's report contained 21 chapters, whose titles give an idea of the scope of its coverage: * The role of English in South and South East Asia; English in Sri Lanka; The Demands for English; English in the Schools; Outline of a Plan.* Beginning English; the Four Year Course; English in Schools after NCGE: The use of the Mother Tongue in TESL; Libraries, Preparation of Classroom Material and Creative Works in English; The Place of Literature;* Evaluating and Testing; Learning and Teaching in and out of school; Recruitment and Deployment of Teachers; The Good English Teacher; Teacher Education; Regional English Units; The Administration of English, Research and International Contacts. We wonder, as did de Lanerolle in the last lap of his earthy sojourn, if the present educational establishment has even heard of a report titled "A Place in the Sun". Professor Gooneratne's brief communique to CITE sounds true, after all: It's not only English teaching that is dead but most of the members of the committee that inquired into it, not to speak of Minister Mahmud and a good many of those who submitted their excellent oral and written submissions.

For me, to remember Kenneth de Lanerolle is to summon up, among many other remembrances, CITE and the long hours I spent with him in a truly educative experience producing A Place in the Sun". CN


Kenneth M.De Lanerolle - Remembered by Mervyn Nanayakkara
Instructive and inspiring master-pupil relationship to the end

 

Photo: Vice Principals bungalow at Wesley where Mr Lanerolle lived in the 1950's Photo: Brohier Memorial Elders Home in Wellawatte where Mr Lanerolle spent his final years

 

Kenneth. M. de Lanerolle was my teacher at Wesley College, Colombo. As an ardent Buddhist, I owe him a deep debt of gratitude for all the English he taught me, and the ethical values I learnt in the awesome aura of his rich Christian life and experience.

In school, he earned the respect and admiration of his pupils by his ability to enforce discipline. “Lany” was a terror because he was a disciplinarian, but we loved and respected him all the same. We knew he was showering us with parental care and moulding us as responsible future citizens. In school, I would nervously say, “Good morning, Sir”, and now, with equal respect and humility I say, “Fare thee well, Sir, on thy onward journey.”

I lost touch with Lany after leaving school. I had heard that he had headed a Sri Lankan mission that served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

One day, when I was living in Kandy, I ran into him quite unexpectedly on Peradeniya Road. He was thrilled to recall the old school ties. He visited me the next morning, driving his Volkswagen Beetle to “Haanswyk”, in Asgiriya, where I was staying. From then on I would call on him at his home in Peradeniya Road, where he lived with his sister Hazel, of whom he was very fond.

All these visits were spiritual communications of sorts, at which master and pupil discovered each other in depth. Every visit turned into a discourse on English. We discussed at length many intricate points in English usage.

I always addressed him as “Sir”. One day, when I was visiting him, his sister Hazel called out to me and said, “Mervyn, could you please ask Uncle whether he would like to have his tea now.” My guru overheard this, and promptly shot back at his sister, saying, “No, Hazel, he cannot call me Uncle, he was my pupil.”

Later, when distance separated us again, we kept in touch by letter. His long type-written letters were quite interesting. His signature was the most curious I have ever seen; it looked like a flight of birds. Sometimes he would enclose little works, such as “The Seven Ages of Woman”, or “The English Teacher.”

He complimented me for keeping alive the lost art of letter writing. His last letter to me came when I was in England. It was written for him by someone at the Brohier Memorial Elders’ Home, where he spent his last days.

After my Kandy days, we would meet frequently at Wesley College, where he was on a special assignment while in retirement. He would stay for periods in Watapuluwa, Pitakotte, and Mt. Lavinia, before moving into the Brohier Memorial Elders’ Home. He lost his sister Hazel at the time he was living in Mt. Lavinia. His mood changed very much with her death.

Whenever I called on him at Buller’s Lane, during his visits to Colombo from Watapuluwa. Lany he would discuss with me his last pet project, “Names to Remember.” He invited me to the book launch. He was also concerned about a reprint of “Southern River.” I have with me a copy of “Names to Remember”, and other books of his, all of which strengthen my memories of a teacher of a rare kind.
It was heart-warming to see so many of his old pupils calling on him from time to time at the Brohier Memorial Home, and graciously doing things for him. If there was anything he would have called his “absolute favourite”, it was seeni-kehel bananas.

He told visitors that he wanted them to see him dressed in his pyjamas. He always had a new pair of pyjamas ready and stored under his bed. He certainly left his footprints in the sands of time.
May we meet you again, Sir, on that distant shore.

Mr Lanerolle addressing the Old Boys in Melbourne 1989

 

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mr A.J.Vethanayagam by Rev Rohan Wijesinghe
A Teacher at Wesley 1946-1979

f1In 1972 I took part in a six month Asia Youth Leadership Training programme. This took me to the Philippines for close to four months. I did not know that the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka sent Mr. Vethanayagam for a similar training programme almost as soon as I left the Philippines. I learnt with much sadness from my Philippians Counter part that Mr. Vethanayagam died in a boating accident. I remember some of those boating rides: They were most challenging!!

Addendum by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

I remember Mr.Vethanayagam when he was a Boarding Master. He was a kind and gentle person not very fond of sports, as I recall. He was affectionately called Vetha . He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, approachable and always willing to help. Mr.Vethanayagam left the hostel after his marriage but never failed to greet us with a smile on the corridor in the years that followed. Mr.Vetha took an active interest in the Tamil stream of the school and remember being involved in many of the Tamil plays. He was a deeply religious person and served the school for well over 25 years.

May his Soul Rest in Peace

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mr. JLF (Fred) De Mel by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera
A Teacher at Wesley 1931-1959

JLF was an avuncular gentleman who brought gravitas to the profession. He was an energetic, plain-speaking school headmaster who earned the lasting affection of several generations of schoolboys. JLF was a headmaster for much of his career, he never gave up teaching and remained an inspiration in the classroom, particularly to boys who found mathematics difficult. A modest, affable man, he had the knack of winning the trust of the students and their parents. With his winning smile, he had a manner which inspired complete confidence in those who came to know him. He was respected by colleagues and revered by students.e7

JLF was the Headmaster of the school during my time at Wesley in the 1950's. He spoke with authority, composure and and a twinkle in his eye. In outward appearance and dress JLF might have been mistaken for a pillar of the Establishment. In reality he was quite the opposite. He was one of God's good men in the harsh environment of education in the 1950's. He was a kind man who spoke softly, whatever the situation. JLF wasn't a reformer but an old fashioned teacher who provided a good education to the many who passed through the gates of Wesley College.

The post of Headmaster occupied an "odd" position in the school management hierarchy. But it is evident that his job required tact, discretion, tough-mindedness and a healthy dose of common sense — qualities that this man of God had in abundance. It says much that JLF retained the respect and goodwill of all who came into contact with him.

For many years he lived in the Vice Principal's bungalow with his family. Within the school premises his charm made him an affable presence.

During his years as the Master in Charge of Cricket we had phenominal success in that sport in the 1950's.

Photo: Wesley College Flats

Though self-effacing in manner and absorbed in the challenges of his own Profession, he was admired by his peers as one of the most effective Headmasters of his time. JLF possessed the invaluable gift of inspiring those who worked with him to achieve things that they had not previously believed they could do. He worked tirelessly to achieve his goals as a teacher. Behind a deceptively bland exterior there was always a shrewd mind and a firm hand. JLF was known for his diplomacy and caring ways. He combined wit and charm with integrity, professional modesty and quiet determination. He served at Wesley for well over 25 years and grew old gracefully with great respect and dignity.

JLF believed in the power of preaching and delivered clear and concise teachings at assembly which were non patronising and simple. His incisive intellect and occasionally mumbling style of delivery was well loved and respected. He came to the Hostel once a week to take the prayers on a Tuesday at 7.45pm. He was always a pious man and a tireless crusader. He did not seek to convert boys to Christianity but made religion accessible and available to those who seek it. He had an indefatigable faith and sense of mission. His Christianity was all about people and was a regular visitor to the Welikada Jail. His faith was strong, simple and serene. He was a devoted teacher to his students at school, taking great care especially of those who fell into any kind of trouble. His pastoral skills were displayed in his care of those at Wesley. JLF will be fondly remembered by the Wesleyites whose lives he touched.

Generations of Wesleyites as well as their families and friends have relied on JLF's advice, prayers and support at times of confusion loss pain and sorrow. He considered his teaching duties to be particularly important and enjoyed nurturing the aspirations of his students. JLF has also gone on to share their good times of hope and glory. He shepherded students through triumphs and disasters with an avuncular authority. One of his greatest assets was his ability to remember boys and their parents and what they did and went on to do. Many Old Boys received letters from him in later life congratulating them on their achievements. These attributes propelled him beyond the role of simple Headmaster..

Photo: Prem De Mel

He lived for many years in the Wesley College Flats with his wife, young daughters and son, Prem. He and the family were well known to the schoolboys and his pretty daughters brightened the functions at College no end. I was saddened to hear Prem who was a Wesleyite died young in Perth Western Australia. He was a smiler and was a happy lad, always. To be the son of the Headmaster at school couldn't have been easy. We remember Prem's life and times at Wesley College with great affection.

In retirement, he combined his interest in Religion and school affairs related to the Welfare Board. JLF De Mel lived in Kolonnawa in a lovely house on a hill between 1959 and 1961. I too lived in Kolonnawa during that time in my 6th Form years. He may have been retired then and managing the Welfare Board.

JLF was admitted to my ward in the General Hospital Colombo when he got a severe heart attack in 1974. When he was terminally ill, as I attended to him, he asked me aren't you a Wesleyite. I said yes, which made him smile. He was promptly transferred to the Coronary care unit where he passed away the next day. He led a busy and fulfilling life right to the end.

The combination of humility and intellect left a powerful impression on all those who met him. Charming, courteous and shrewd he gave freely of his time. To generations of Wesleyites he was the voice of reason. I recall his storytelling , playful humour, and concientous teaching. Such teachers dont exist anymore. Mr JLF De Mel's contributions to Wesley College were unparalleled. His death, a great loss. There is nobody quite like him and he is missed enormously by all who came into contact with the great man. We will remember his colourful character, his extraordinary wisdom and his gloriously old fashioned ways but most of all his warmth, his depth and his heart. Generations of students he taught, his former colleagues, and the many beneficiaries of his kindness will be ever thankful to Mr JLF De Mel.

We remember most warmly Fred and Prem De Mel for their contribution to our lives at school.

GRANT THEM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


J.L.F.De Mel - An Appreciation From the Centenary Souvenir

"One of God's good men" So said those who knew you then, You loved beauty and honesty, High ideals mixed with simplicity, Alas to your glorious life came the end; You died as you lived-everyone's friend. Fred de Mel veteran and beloved Head- master of Wesley College, was called for higher service, quite suddenly, at the age of 74, on the 2nd of January 1974. The vast number of old Wesleyites, his colleagues, friends and relations who gathered to pay their last respects, proved his popularity.

He joined Wesley College and served there right through for 30 years until he retired in 1959, as Headmaster, having acted for some time as Vice-Principal. During his long stay at Wesley, Fred was one of the most painstaking teachers. He was at one time Secretary, and later President, of the Teachers' Guild. He was Cricket Master from 1947 to 1959. He took a keen interest in the Staff Tennis Club and in the S. C. M. He spent his leisure time teaching English to the prisoners at Welikade Jail. These prisoners always looked forward eagerly to the arrival of Fred de Mel with his band of helpers.

He threw himself into every activity at portion in life, good or bad, he accepted with unswerving faith and thankfulness. He did not banker after praise or high office. He bore no ill-will toward anyone. Injustice raised his anger but there was never any malice. Fred de Mel was a firm administrator and disciplinarian. All shoddy work was abhorrent to him. The teachers of Wesley will know what keen understanding and insight be had regarding the duties and responsibility- ties of a good teacher. His loving concern for Wesley exceeded even that of an Old Boy and everything was done for Wesley, not with a fanfare of trumpets, but with a quiet graciousness of spirit so that no one person in the College knew all he did.

He was a practicing Christian, transparently honest and sincere. When Wesley opted to be a non-fee-levying private school in 1960 and formed a Welfare Society, the unanimous choice for secretary was, of course, Fred de Mel. He, perhaps, worked harder in this capacity than when on the staff.


In Memoriam - Arunachalam (Chuttie) Ramachandra

By Shelton Peiris

On that memorable morning of March the 9th., the College Centenary Old Boys' Cricket Match began, and Rama stepped out of the Pavilion from among some of his life-long friends and his wife Sushila, no one thought that it would be his last glorious hour with them. In sun-drenched enthusiasm he played, displaying that same schoolboy zest and vigour (capturing two wickets for 13 runs) and urging the others on. Then, even in his moment of glory, without the least warning, the Grim Reaper brought his innings to an abrupt and unexpected end. Rama-"Chuttie" to his close friends- was always gentle and unruffled, his cherubic smile draining the fire out of us when we ignored reason. Like his illustrious cousin, M. Sathasivam cricket was Rama's first love, and with this passion he brought honour to Wesley and a sparkle to her cricket in the forties.

He was a College Prefect and the First XI Vice-Captain in 1944/45. He was a keen student and later proceeded to read law at Lincoln's Inn. On his return he was saddled with the responsibility of managing the family estates, which Rama did with characteristic efficiency. And now he has gone ahead, having played his last earthly innings with no complaint, wearing that typical smile, to that Pavilion of the Immortals, and to his eternal rest. His 'Ashes' shall be retained in the urns of our memory for all time.

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In Memoriam - Maxwell De Alwis by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Revised 8th March 2010

My first recollection of M.Y.de Alwis is as a Prefect at Wesley dressed in brilliant white standing by a hall door at school assembly. Thereafter he gained entrance to the University of Peradeniya. After obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree he joined the staff of Wesley College. He taught English and History to the 6th Formers and was a gifted teacher.

It is more than 50 years ago 1954-56 when Maxwell de Alwis was the Senior Hostel Master. He was slim and tall and had a forever-youthful look. He spoke to us with his tenor voice, at times firmly. I remember he maintained good rapport with the senior students but the juniors feared his temper. He used the cane sparingly and kept good order in the boarding. Sports was never his passion and was rarely seen at Campbell Park. Classical Music was his life and his radio echoed his love of Mozart and Beethoven. In the hostel we often saw him wearing a scarf round his neck giving us the impression he was unwell. He had no time for small talk and spoke about things that mattered in day to day life in the boarding.

His real gift was in the sphere of choir training and conducting. He established the School Choir and made it fashionable to be a Chorister giving them special privileges. I recall the choir practices on Sunday afternoons and after prep on weekdays as most choristers were boarders. Cecil and Arthur Barbut, S.K. and Ranjit Seneviratne, NAB Fernando, Senaka Jayasinghe, E.Y.Buell, Nimal Sureweere, Daya Peiris, Kenneth Anthonisz, Sheriff Fallil, Michael Christoffelsz BCRN Fernando, NGA Fernando are some of the names that come to mind.

Some Sundays we sang at the Maradana Methodist Church. I particularly remember singing at Mr.Wilfred Wickramasinghe's Wedding (He married Miss Pinto-Jayawardene who was our singing teacher) . The treble, Alto,Tenor and Base singers brought beautiful four part harmony thanks to the efforts of Maxwell De Alwis. "Maxy" as he was affectionately called conducted the proceedings. The production Alad-in-and Out produced glorious performances and was a hit right from the start. It was shown also at Wesley College and also Kingswood College Kandy. These performances garnered glowing reviews. Miss Mary Colin Thome provided the piano accompaniment. During Easter we sang Jesu Joy of Man's desiring and other works by Palestrina. During Lent there was an invitation from The Royal Air force Base at Katunayake to sing those special Lenten Hymns and sacred songs. Joy Gunewickrema sang a baritone solo which was well received. For Christmas there were the Nine Lessons and carols sung at the Maradana Church and at Wesley College. Dayaprasad Peiris and Nimal Sureweere were the solo singers. I particularly recall singing " In Dulci Jubilo" all in Latin. Maxwell De Alwis always kept our interest alive by introducing barber shop quartets and remember Lyle Godridge singing baritone, at school, for a lively Group. Despite the hours of gruelling practices it was a marvellously harmonius time for us all. The camaraderie of the choristers out lived our school lives many times over.

The highlight of our Choir Calendar was our Carols by Candlelight. Maxwell De Alwis hired a coach which took us to the houses of old boys and well wishers. After singing the carols we were showered with gifts and food. We enjoyed this immensely and was great night out. Perhaps the "Boss" considered this a special treat for the Choristers who had worked hard all year round.

Maxwell De Alwis was one of the most inspired and charismatic choirmasters of his generation. He unearthed expressive qualities that had disappeared under the weight of religious music. He made it his mission to inject more colour into the music spectrum. It was at Wesley College that his supreme skill as a choir trainer came to fruition. The expressive sound quality that he produced from the choristers was outstanding, and more than a match for the work being done by his high-profile contemporaries in other prominent schools in Colombo and Kandy. His presence was commanding, and he gave his time generously to develop a fine Choir at school. He was a demanding taskmaster and choir discipline was always strict. Any hint of laziness or total commitment to the choir would infuriate him. He was inspirational and a master of detail at times difficult to please. Rehearsals were a testing time for everyone. Yet the choristers gave him their loyalty, respect and affection; and, later in life, grateful recognition that he had enabled them to sing at a level of excellence they had thought unattainable. The singing of hymns – musically, rhythmically and with clear enunciation of the words – was renowned throughout the country.

Through his passion for the Choir, he gave his choristers the key to phrasing, dynamics, tone-colour and expression. The result was a sublime sound most pleasing to the ear. Whether he was piloting the choir through uncharted musical territory, or rehearsing an apparently simple Hymn, he infused music with life and energy. When the music began, magic filled the air and thrilled the audiences wherever we sang.

Maxwell De Alwis was a very private person outside his choir work. The school Choir was his pride and joy. He was a strict disciplinarian but remained very practical and kind. His brother who was also a boarder was treated like the rest of usl. Students loved him, and so did his colleagues, to whom he was generous with his time, interest and encouragement. He was a man who enjoyed simple things, a man of unostentatious spirituality, a man whose happiness was contagious. There were time when I felt although he was physically with us his mind was far away. Maxwell De Alwis suffered with poor health for many years. He was never one to make much of a fuss; he announced his departure without any fanfare.

Maxwell De Alwis never married. He left Wesley to join a Christian Organisation for which he worked for several years before becoming a Priest. His greatest achievement came towards the end of his life – joining the Church. He was faithful, not pious, and modest about his great intellectual gifts. He loved the good things of life but was the least materialistic of men. Rev Maxwell De Alwis became an immensely likeable man of charm and sensibility, exuding in every contact the courtesy and kindliness well suited for his new chosen profession. I was deeply saddened to hear that Rev.Maxwell De Alwis died in the early 1970's at the General Hospital Colombo. His death was in its way no less inspiring. He accomplished it with good humour, courage and firm belief. If he had ever felt surprise that his maker had singled out a good and faithful servant at a relatively early age, who still had much to contribute to the Church, he did not show it. We appreciate greatly what he has achieved in his short but eventful life. He was still loved and respected at Wesley. He was hugely loved and will always be remembered for his immense contribution to the life of the school and the wonderful Choir he established.

A short account of his Ministry in England at ALL Hallows Church North Greenford - From the Church Chronicles (Hidden Light 1931-81)

This is one of the "45 churches" started in the 1930s as London suburbs expanded. Following from a building which is now the church hall, this was built in 1941.

Photo: All Hallows Anglican Church at North Greenford

Maxwell de Alwis was curate for the first half of this decade. Max, as he was affectionately known, was a jolly gentleman from Ceylon who was too good for All Hallows. Despite his superior intelligence and intellect, he was approachable. Many thought they could eat curry until they tried Ceylon curries and were reduced to tears!

Max spent a certain amount of time abroad at conferences but on one occasion Max thought it was time to have one of the conferences at All Hallows and the continentals came here. Max tried to raise the congregation to his level by holding courses on comparative religion.

In 1963 he showed his musical talent by producing "Swanee",a black and white minstrel show. This show was probably the last of a long line of productions which started in the earliest days. I think it is a pity we no longer have these activities.

Father Ginever left in 1963 and Max stood in during the interegnum of five months. Shortly after the arrival of John Crane, Max left to return to Ceylon, concluding his display of versatility by showing that he could play the spoons.

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In Memoriam - Rev. Samuel Rowse WILKIN,

Born 14/02/1849. Died 16/02/1918

Served Ceylon 1873-1889

f7Rev. Samuel Rowse Wilkin was born at Porkellis, Helston, England on 14th February 1849. His father being a local Preacher and class leader. Converted in 1865, he began to preach two years later, and was sent in 1873 to South Ceylon.

In 1882 he took over the stewardship of Richmond College. He was the Principal of Richmond until 1888. He served as the first Principal of Wesley College Colombo, for several years. In Galle he did much to train Sinhalese Ministers, evangelists and teachers.

Photo: The Old Church in Porkellis where his father preached

Rev. Wilkin returned to England in 1889, and he continued to render devoted sevice. His preaching was instructive and useful. He was systematic and faithful in all pastoral duty, skilfully used his great gift of sympathy. He had a wealth of tender affection, often indeed concealed but always effectual. His was a strong faithful ministry throughout.

He died with startling suddenness at Bangor, on 16th February 1918, in his 70th year and in the 46th of his ministry.

Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London

The true character of a school is reflected in the school magazine as it mirrors both its virtues and weaknesses. Our first school magazine was published during Rev. Wilkin's period. Before taking over Richmond College, he served as the first principal of Wesley College from 1837 to 1887. Therefore, when he assumed duties at Richmond in 1882, he was already well experienced in administering a school. During his period, the syllabuses were expanded substantially, and the children were trained to sit, first Calcutta University examinations, and in 1884 the Cambridge examinations. He also added shorthand and woodwork to the school curriculum. He was also responsible in providing new facilities to the hostel. A new dormitory and hall were constructed during his time. Rev. Wilkin was born in England on 14th February, 1849. He entered Church in 1873, and arrived in Sri Lanka on the 25th October of the same year. He left for England in April, 1888, and died on 16th February, 1918.

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In Memoriam - Rev. Arthur SHIPHAM,

Born 20/11/1854. Died 02/02/1927

Served Ceylon 1875-1888.

Married: to FRANCIS, Annie

r2Born November 20th 1854, at Retford, where his father, the Rev. John Shipham, was then stationed. He was at Kingswood School for seven years and there received the impulse that determined his subsequent career. With characteristic precision recorded that he "found peace at ten o'clock on the evening September 21st, 1868." He was than a boy of thirteen, and from then onward he felt that he was Surely called to be a preacher of the Gospel. He was accepted as a Candidate in 1874 and after a year at Richmond he was sent out to Ceylon. For thirteen years he made full proof his ministry in the Colombo District.

He returned to England in 1888 and gave thirty-one strenuous years to circuit work. Eight years he became a Supernumerary and spent his retirement in Southport. His modesty and Sincerity won for him everywhere, the affection and confidence of our people. Every demand that the Church made upon him was met with a loyal and loving response. As preacher pastor administrator, he was always found faithful. And he did not labour in vain. By his unobtrusive yet fervent devotion he led many to whom he ministered into the joy and peace of a real experience of God. He was a life long student of Theology, and until Ill-health prevented him he was ever seeking to help young local preachers to equip themselves to their work. He suffered much in his last months, but did not fear death's challenge, for he knew that it could not separate him from the love of God. He died in that assurance on February 9th 1927 in the seventy third year of his age and the fifty-second of his ministry.

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. Samuel HILL,

Born 8/12/1853. Died 25/11/1885

Served: Ceylon 1879-death

e2Samuel Hill, who was born in Lancaster on 8th December, 1853, became a missionary in 1878. He arrived in Ceylon a year later, succeeding Rev. Langdon as the principal of Richmond College. He did a distinctive service, specially in raising the standard of the school in the academic context. During his period, the boys of Richmond excelled in public examinations. It was on his recommendation as principal that the decision was taken by the District Committee of the Methodist Mission to rename the school as Richmond College. Rev. Hill has published a few books on English grammar. Professor D. M. De Z. Wickremasinghe, who was a famous scholar, was a pupil of Rev. Hill. He left Richmond in 1882 and for nearly two years did missionary work in Moratuwa. He also held the post of principal of Wesley College from 1884-85. Rev. Hill died in Colombo on 25th November, 1885

The most prestigious award at Wesley College is the Hill Medal named in honour of Rev Samuel Hill. It is given to the student who received the highest total marks at the University Entrance Examination and is awarded every year. There is a board in the Great hall to honour those students whose names are inscribed in bold white. --Editor NDA

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. Thomas MOSCROP,

Born 29/04/1860. Died 07/07/1920.

Served: Ceylon 1883-1900.

Married: DUCKERS, Emma Ellen

s6

Born at Bacup April 29 1860. After 3 years at Richmond he was sent to South Ceylon in 1883 where he spent 34 years. As Principal of Wesley College Colombo he brought that instituition into the front rank of Ceylon Schools. He soon became known as a preacher as well as an educationist especially during his 3 years in Kandy where in addition to vernacular work he had to preach week by week to an English speaking congregation composed of people of several nationalities, both Eastern and Western. In 1894 he was appointed Chairman of the Colombo District. The 6 years of his Chairmanship were distinguished by advance in many directions- in mission buildings and organisations as well as spiritual efficiency.

In his English circuit work his sermons were marked by vigorous thought and clear and picturesque expression. He was a sympathetic and Methodical Pastor and showed great ability in the business affairs of the Church.

Amongst his gifts to Ceylon Christianity was a "life of Christ" in Sinhalese and to this he added just before his death "Life of Paul". He also published in England2 or 3 valuable volumes on missionary subjects. His work and character won admiration, confidence and affectionat home and abroad. Strong and firm he was at the same time gentle and sympathetic. and there was in his nature a happy strain of humour and poetic feeling. He kept his mind and teaching fresh by constant study and wide reading. In his preaching he put 1st things first and in all things he was the devoted soldier and servant of Jesus Christ. He died on July 7th 1920 after a long and trying illness borne with patience and Christian Cheerfulness.

Links to further reading

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. Thomas Coke HILLARD,

Born 29/11/1862. Died 27/08/1927

Served: Ceylon 1888-1895.

Married: STEPHENSON, Henrietta

e3Born at Watton, near Brecon, in 1862. A son of the Manse, he was educated at Kingswood, took his degree when nineteen yearn of age and was accepted as a Candidate in 1888. During his first term at Richmond an urgent call came for educational work at Colombo, and he was sent out to become the Principal of Wesley College. In this and other important posts he rendered excellent service. After six years in Colombo he returned to England. and for thirty-two years exercised an efficient ministry.

His preaching was marked by clear thinking and forceful speech. In circuit administration he was keen and courageous, skillfully handling difficult situations. A retentive memory made his pastoral work very effective. He exercised a gracious and uplifting influence in the sick room, was a tender comforter of the bereaved and an encourager of the faint-hearted. He loved the "lilies of the field," and became, a recognised authority on the flora of the locality in which he lived. Retiring from the active work at the Conference of 1927, he met with an accident in Liverpool, and passed swiftly and painlessly to his reward on August 26th,1927

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. Joseph PASSMORE,

Born 20/07/1865. Died 20/04/1936

Served:Ceylon 1891-1903; Madras 1908-1927.

Married: CARDER, Marion

s2Born at Littlehampton . Devon, in 1865. trained at Handsworth. In 1890 he went to Ceylon as Principal of Wesley College. Colombo, and much of the subsequent success of the College must be attributed to his fine leadership. Methodism in Ceylon was then moving towards the assumption of self-government, and in this formative and critical period he again proved the outstanding worth of his wise administration. For family reasons he was obliged to return home after twelve years of service in the island, but in 1908 he went East again, this time as the General Secretary of the Christian Literature Society of India, with headquarters at Madras. For nineteen years he provided countless Christians with educational, devotional, and theological literature, and into this task of utmost responsibility concentrated his energy, his remarkable gift of organisation and his passion for accurate scholarship, and achieved his goal with enduring success.

He was a pioneer in the creation of the Co-operative Banks in India, which today are proving of unspeakable benefit, and also in the creation of a Sustentation Fund for Indian ministers and their families. In 1923 he was elected Chairman of the Provincial Synod. When Dr. Mott carried through the series of Conferences that led to the formation of the National Christian Council for India, Burma, and Ceylon, he was responsible for organising the greatest of the Area Conferences. On returning again to England he served for a period in Sheerness, and in 1930 he retired to Harpenden. The man was greater than anything he did; his kindly wise counsel, his rich humour and impregnable integrity have helped, and will continue to help, all who were privileged to know him. The end came peacefully on April 20th, 1936.

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. Henry HIGHFIELD,.

Served Ceylon 1895-1926

Son of Rev. G Highfield

Married:

1) 22/08/1899 to Minnie BUCK

2) 1908 to Mary Frances LEDGER

Born 22/12/1865 - Died 01/02/1955.

e1His early education was at Kingswood, and he afterwards took the MA. degree at London and Cambridge. He was accepted as a candidate for the ministry, and after training at Richmond was sent to Ceylon in 1895. Here he had charge of Wesley College. Colombo, and remained in Ceylon for thirty years. On returning to England he servedin the following circuits: Aberystwyth, Marazion, and Cradley Heath. He retired to Pickering in 1936 and to within a few months of his death was actively engaged in the life of the circuit, taking regular preaching appointments and leading a society class.

He will always be remembered for his outstanding work in Ceylon. it was under his guidance that the new Wesley College at Colombo was built, at a cost of £15,000, and largely through his unremitting efforts this magnificent structure 'was opened free of debt. He cycled throughout the length and breadth of Ceylon soliciting subscriptions for the enterprise, and actually collected £2500 in this way. He left a lasting impression on the public life of Ceylon. and many of his former pupils came to occupy posts of great administrative responsibility. The present Governor-General of Ceylon is one of his old students.

The Education Officer for Ceylon writes: Like "Arnold of Rugby ", he will ever be remembered as "Highfield of Wesley ".' He excelled as an expository preacher, his intimate knowledge of New Testament Greek enabling him to present ever-fresh aspects of Christian truth. During his retirement he freely placed his knowledge at the disposal of the probationers in the Ryedale area and guided their studies. He exercised a wonderfully helpful ministry in the homes of his people, where he was ever a welcome visitor.

He was utterly consecrated to his Lord and counted no sacrifice too great for the extension of the Kingdom. He was most generous in his financial support of the work of God at home and overseas, and never refused a duty he was able to fulfil. He died at Scarborough on 1st February 1955. in the ninetieth year of his life andi the sixtieth of his ministry. A host of friends in England and Ceylon give thanks for his life of service.

Links to further reading

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. Albert HUTCHINSON,

Born 1893. Died - unknown.

Served: Ceylon 1925-1929

Married: ARMITAGE, Doris M.

e4

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. John DALBY,

Born 02/04/1898. Died - 30th Dec 1989.

Served Ceylon 1924-1944.

Served: Ceylon 1924-1944. Worked as layman [Education?] 1924-1938, Entered Ministry 1938

Married: 1926, to Christina (maiden name unknown)

Born in Leeds on 2nd April 1898 into a family whose Methodist roots went back to the days of John Wesley. After leaving school at eighteen he enlisted as a soldier in the First World War, was wounded, taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Germany. After his release in 1919 he went first to Leeds University and then to Oriel College, Oxford, where he gained his MA. In 1924 the Wesleyan Missionary Society sent him to Ceylon where he became Vice-Principal of Wesley College, Colombo, and where he married Christine Raw, who loyally supported him in all his work. They had two daughters, Margaret and Rachel. From 1929 to 1940 John was Principal of Wesley, moving on to Richmond College where he also became Principal. In 1938 he was accepted for the ministry. He always looked upon his time in Ceylon as a period of great privilege and rich experience. In 1944 the Dalby family returned home and John's first appointment was to the Lincoln (Aldersgate) Circuit, followed by a term in his native county at Pudsey, and then back to Lincolnshire to the Sleaford (Northgate), Lincoln (Central) and Coningsby Circuits.

He retired in 1963 to Nettleham and continued to preach in and around Lincoln, becoming deeply involved in the life of the local Methodist Church where he was able to exercise his pastoral gifts to the full; for, scholar though he was, his great interest was always in people. He loved the fellowship of his colleagues and in staff meetings and FK his gentle humour was always appreciated. When old age and failing eyesight brought limitations, John joined the family at Stones Place MHA. Always sturdily independent, he came to terms with dependence, discovering the truth of Milton's words, "They also serve who only stand and wait." No longer able to conduct worship himself, he loved to share in the services at the home. On Christmas morning just before his death he was in his usual place for Holy Communion; as he received the elements John said as always his firm "Amen", in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life. Such was the manner of his passing from us on 30th December 1989 in the ninety-second year of his age and the fifty-second year of his ministry.

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 Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - Rev. David S. T. IZZETT,

DAVID STEWART THOMAS IZZETT:

Born in Croydon 29/07/1910. Died - 5th May 1999.

Served: Ceylon 1938-1944. Married Eleanor

w1Educated at Croydon High School for Boys and thengained a BA (Honours) and AKC at Kings College, London. He taught for a year in Cairo, returning home to candidate. He entered Wesley House, Cambridge, completing his studies in Berlin, sharing the Finch Travelling Scholarship with the Revd Raymond George. His first station was five years with the MMS in Ceylon, where he was ordained and where he finished as Principal of Wesley College, Colombo. In 1943 he became an army chaplain, serving in Burma and Palestine; whilst on leave he married Eleanor. Service at home was followed by a three-year posting to Egypt, a fruitful period when a number of service personnel accepted Christ, twelve of whom went on to serve in the ministry of various denominations.

Further postings at home followed, culminating with his appointment as Senior Methodist Chaplain, based at Aldershot.

He finished service after twenty three years in the army, reaching the rank of Colonel. In 1966 he moved to his first home station, as Superintendent of the Watford Circuit. Service in the Winchmore Hill Church followed. On retirement he resigned from the ministry out of principle, serving as field secretary for the Bible Lands Society.

Eleanor died in 1977. A year later he married Lucy and moved to Hemel Hempstead. Here he felt challenged to apply for reinstatement, becoming much loved within the Circuit. He preached with a depth of scholarship which was accessible to ordinary people.

A man of tremendous intellect, he was a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society; an expert in archaeology; a keen gardener; chairman of the local Probus Club; National President of the Bible Lands Society and Vice-President of the Garden Tomb Association; a member of the Wesley College (Colombo) Old Boys Association and the Burma Star Association. He delighted in his children, Paul, Mark, Timothy and Hilary and their families, and was cared for with great devotion by Lucy. David’s life was a pilgrimage, to many places, into many areas of secular, intellectual and community life and a spiritual pilgrimage as well. In his own words ‘It has all been by God’s grace, all of grace.’ He died on 5th May 1999 in the eighty-ninth year of his age and the sixty-fourth year of his ministry.

From Alfred David

Rev. David S.T.Izzett (1941 to 1943) assumed office in January 1941. One of Rev. Izzett’s first duties was to re organize the House system in the school extending it to all departments of the school curriculam. Hitherto, the House trophy had been awarded on results in sports alone, but now points were awarded not only for sports but for debating, attendance and for scholastic achievement. Rev. Izzett’s first year at Wesley was marked by considerable advances in respect of numbers, examination passes and sports achievements. In his second year, Wesley suffered dislocation along with other schools in Colombo due to the war. In April 1942, the College buildings were commandeered by the military authorities who gave the college very little time to remove its properties. In consequence, considerable losses were incurred both in the college buildings and the hostel, including valuable furniture and science equipment.

The college went into exile, first at Carey College, where in May 1942, the second term opened with only 45 students. Later, the college was removed to Kittiyakkara in Campbell Place, where a number of cadjan classrooms were erected. Soon after the commandeering of the college building, many members of the staff volunteered for civil defense work. Some of them were able to return to school after a few months but others were retained for a much longer period. During the following years, the number of students gradually increased again but the conditions under which the college had to work was most distressing. By the end of 1942, Rev. David Izzett joined H.M. Forces as a Chaplain.

He was the Parish Priest at Winchmore Hill, Enfield in North London for many years and was a friend to old Wesleyites during that time.

Chaplain of His Majesty's Armed Forces in 1943, Rev. Izzett was Principal of Wesley two years before (1941 and 1942). Returning to his native England, Rev. Izzet kept in close touch with the Old Boys in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom Branch. His last message to the school was recorded and published in the 125th Anniversary Year's Souvenir.

Links to further reading

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In Memoriam - Rev. James CARTMAN,

Born 15/08/1910, Died - 1998.

Served Ceylon 1938-1950

Photo: Rev James Cartman

REV. JAMES Cartman, a former Principal of Wesley College, passed away in England on January 28 at the age of 87 years. He was known as the cricketing padre. Rev. Cartman was Wesley's head from 1945 to 1949 and during this period, Wesley fared well in sports. Having played for the Colombo Cricket Club (CCC), Rev. Cartman, was the first president of the Ceylon Schools Cricket Association. On his retirement, Rev. Cartman, was appointed by the government to be the Student's Welfare Officer at the Ceylon High Commission in London. He leaves behind his wife Winifred and daughter Christine Waver. His funeral takes place in London on February 5.

From Alfred David

The arrival of Rev. Cartman at Wesley also coincided with the adoption of a new Education policy by the Government. At that time Government Central Schools were opened in many parts of Ceylon and a large number of special posts, on a comparatively higher salary scale, were available for graduates and first class trained teachers. In view of these opportunities, together with the then fears regarding the future of the denominational schools, many well qualified and long experienced teachers accepted posts in the new central schools. Wesley like many other denominational schools experienced this exodus of teachers. Most of these qualified teachers who left were responsible for work in the upper School and to replace them was extremely difficult. Thus the college was called upon not only to fill the vacancies created by the resignation of teachers, but also to find additional teachers, including several specialist teachers.

After October 1945, the new education policy created several problems for Wesley. The Government made it obligatory for Christian schools to restrict their Christian religious teaching and training to the children of Christian parents. All non-Christian children, whether their parents desired it or not, were no longer permitted to attend a Christian Assembly, prayers, scripture classes or specifically Christian meetings. For these children, moral instruction classes were arranged.

Another state requirement was the insistence upon the mother tongue as the medium of instruction for children in the Primary School. Wesley was thus obliged to create parallel classes for standards 2, 3, 4 and 5: one stream for the Burghers and Muslims taught through the medium of English, the other for Sinhalese taught through the medium of Sinhalese. Along with the mother tongue requirement, came the regulation that all Ceylonese students must pass in either Sinhalese or Tamil at the Senior School Certificate. This sudden change caused much difficulty for many senior boys, especially Burghers who had taken Latin as their Second language.

In 1945 the Government made another far reaching decision when it adopted free education from the Kindergarten up too, and including the University: Denominational schools which hitherto levied fees were given three years to enter the free education scheme. Many schools joined immediately, fearing that if they remained outside the scheme, the State would open free state schools and draw away their students. Wesley was one of the denominational schools that decided to continue as a fee levying school for three years. It was soon evident that instead of a decrease in attendance, there was an increase in students seeking admission to Wesley.

Eventually, the time came when Wesley, like all other Colombo denominational schools was unable to take the greater number of those seeking admission. At the end of 1945, 350 students were in attendance. By 1949, there were 800 on the roll and this unprecedented increase had necessitated the purchase of large quantities of school furniture and equipment. By October 1948, the Government was unable to insist on all the remaining denominational schools joining the Free Scheme and a further two years’ grace was allowed.

In 1948, it was imperative that more accommodation be provided at Wesley, and plans were made for a Building Scheme to mark the 75th Anniversary of the College. Two new classrooms were built on the north side adjoining The Primary School buildings. The Diamond Jubilee Scheme included the completion of Rev. Highfield’s original plans for the college buildings. These included (i) an adequate college library (ii) a biology laboratory and (iii) two new classrooms. The new extensions were opened on July 8th,1949 by the Prime Minister Hon. D.S. Senanayake. The opening was part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations which were held from July 1st to July 10th, 1949.

Rev. Cartman restored Wesley’s image and helped in restoring the school to conditions prevailing before the war. Rev. Cartman worked hard to restore Wesley’s credibility and stability. In order to cope with the increase of the number of students to 800, he was able to organize a 40 strong, loyal, efficient and well-knit staff despite the fact that many senior teachers had left as a result of the changes in the educational policy referred to earlier. He spent a great deal of his time and energy in organizing the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, in the collection of funds for the extension of the college buildings and in the compilation of an excellent history of the school.

Rev. Cartman was undoubtedly The Apostle of Restoration, striving for excellence in whatever he attempted. His name has been fittingly given to the handsome library built during his time. Rev. Cartman’s era, though short-lived, witnessed rapid growth in the school. Wesley’s studies and sports developed tremendously.In particular, Rev. Cartman will be remembered by students of his time and succeeding generations for giving Wesley its war cry; “Zum Zum Zake, Zum Zum Ze, Ishuba Ishuba Ooh Ay Ey”.

Rev. Cartman left Wesley in 1949

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

Information obtained from the Assistant Archivist of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London


In Memoriam - C. P. Dias

Written and collated by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

A Teacher at Wesley 1876-1926

Charles Peter Dias started teaching at Wesley 2 years after the school first opened. All Wesleyites will remember this photo of Mr CP Dias that adorns the farside wall of the Great Hall close to the stage. He was a visionary teacher at Wesley during the great Highfield era and became a part of the fabric of the school. Some have said that Mr CP Dias'contribution to enhancing the reputation of Wesley was second only to that of its founders. He was passionate about the school and has left a fantastic legacy for which we should all be very grateful.

Mr. Dias was the veteran Head Master for over 40 years- taught Latin and English. He was a strict disciplinarian and was greatly loved by the students.  Mr Dias was a pivotal and progressive figure at Wesley and played a key part in the management of the school after its move from Dam Street Pettah. He was immensely respected by the Principal, Rev Henry Highfield and was in charge of the School when the Principal was away in England. Mr Dias became a popular member of the school community, respected for his dedication, skill and kindness.

He was a visionary Christian headmaster who encouraged and instilled hard work among students. As a senior teacher in the early 1900s, he influenced and helped numerous colleagues to enhance their teaching careers. Mr CP Dias helped to build a strong pastoral community at Wesley College.

The school became a powerhouse of education, innovation and success, owing to his outstanding leadership. He inspired a sense of awe, sometimes fear, but everyone, whether staff or pupils, knew they could turn to him when troubled or in distress.

The Dias House is named after him for his dedication to teaching and loyal services to Wesley College.

Mr Dias found time for many voluntary activities and gave countless talks to a range of groups. He was a senior member of the Colombo Municipal Council and served as a Councillor for 36 years (1891-1926).

About the Conflict in 1915: The village population in Ceylon in 1915, constituted 85 percent of illiterate lower classes of Sinhala and Muslim community compared to today’s high literacy rate and social standards. When the infamous communal riots broke out between the two races , a report on the incidents was prepared by C P Dias, a senior member of Colombo Municipality and Head Master of Wesley College, for Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, the only member representing the educated Ceylonese in the Legislative Council.

From Rev Henry Highfield: It was good for Wesley that she had in Dias a genuine Church of England Christian. The School should never forget what it owes to him. Mr. C. P. Dias is still going strong, has advised and helped us all; and what the College owes to him, and What l owe to him is quite beyond words to express. 

The above passage was taken from the Journal called "Ceylon Friend" (obtained from the archives held by Edmund Dissanayake )

From Mr. P.H Nonis: Throughout the first fifty years of her history, Wesley was fortunate to have the service of C. P. Dias as Headmaster. He was a public figure in the country - the Senior City Father and one whose counsel was often sought by political leaders of the day. His pupils remember him as a vigorous teacher of English and Latin and as a stern disciplinarian. He was a true friend to his boys and knew their homes and families. On these long walks in the evenings for which he was famous, he found time to look up the parents of the boy, If he was in his evening walks, one would find him at Kanatte acting as a pallbearer at a funeral: I believe he found this depressing in later years, for he had expressed the wish that his own funeral there will be no pallbearers nor flowers - the first time I had read of such a request in a funeral.

He will be fondly remembered for his enthusiasm for teaching. He had boundless energy for preparing students to become useful and responsible citizens in this wonderful world.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mr.Terrence N de Zylva by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

 Obituary 1960

Educated Wesley College, Colombo, 1911-15. School master, Prince of Wales, Wesley College, Zahira, and Sri Sumangala. Established Kolonnawa Vidyala (now named the Terrence de Zilva School). Active in Suriya Mal campaign, 1933-35. Founding member Lanka Sama Samaja Party, 1935. Jailed during WWII. Sided with Philip Guawardena in post-war split in LSSP. Councillor, Kolonnawa Urban Council.

r3I first came across Mr. de Zylva when I was a boarder at Wesley. He was omnipresent at all Old Boys' events and at sports events of the school. Always immaculately dressed be it in National Costume or Western dress he carried himself with authority and style. Mr. Zylva was a keen tennis player and played doubles with Mr. Oorloff, JLF De Mel and Mr. Wilfred. Sadly none of them are with us today. Often we were ball boys enjoying the game. Terrence de Zylva contributed most generously to the Wesley building fund and it would surprise me greatly if he does not have a plaque in his memory at Wesley. He showed utmost kindness to the schoolboys at the time and in turn earned our respect.

Outside school he was a left wing politician and had great support at Kolonnawa where he was involved in Local Government politics. He found the experience of national politics uncongenial; this confirmed him in his conviction that his destiny lay in local government. He was a Councillor for the Kolonnawa Urban Council for many years. Terence De Z successfully stayed clear of the imbroglio whilst retaining the goodwill of everyone. He was, above all, one of the well-loved and respected socialist of his time. At Kolonnawa he is remembered as a philanthropist for starting a school for the local children, now called the Terrence de Zilva School. The clever children of that school gained a place at Wesley with his support and I recall one such student who entered the Medical College Colombo and is now a General Practitioner in London.

"Terrence N. de Zylva was a school teacher, a live wire of the "Suriya Mal Campaign" and founded Kolonnawa Vidyalaya. He was later jailed during the second world war - many of his students were in the LSSP" said Bracegirdle, the veteran British Socialist who then lived in Ceylon. Suriya Mal, the anti-Poppy day movement also took a stance against war. Terence de Zylva, claimed that it was "definitely anti-war" and urged people to prevent money going out "to help the British Empire wage wars for the purpose of dividing the World." November 11th thus became a moment not for celebrating war "heroes" but for reflection on an anti-war agenda, on imperial rule and on the dangers of fascism that loomed large in the 1930s

Terrence de Zylva died in 1960 at the age of 73 . His casket was placed in our Assembly hall when Old Boys and present pupils paid their respects. The funeral was at the Kolonnawa Cemetery and I remember being one of several hundred gathered there. Of the numerous distinguished old boys Sir Oliver Goonetilleke was there to say goodbye to his friend and colleague.

He was a man of principles and honour and supported the school most generously.

May he attain Nirvana

Links to further reading

In Memoriam - Rodney Trevor Schokman

By Allister Bartholomeusz and George Robertson

Obituary 15th May 2001 Aged 69

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint”

Isaiah 40:31 rsv

29.09.32 to 15.05.2001

It was in 1946 that I first met Rodney.- the school was moving from its wartime abode to the present premises. For reasons unknown to me I was admitted to the 7th standard. The class teacher Mr Weragoda introduced me as the new boy and as I was the smallest in the class he made it a point to emphasise that I was to be treated with respect and care. This introduction had a reverse effect for I was immediately set upon for some good-natured ‘teasing’-and my resecuer happened to a gangling ever smiling Rodney Schokman, who was nicknamed DragonFly. Rodney was my protector and our friendship developed, that was to last for close to 45 years. Others in class were George Robertson, Bryan Claesen, Neil Gallagher, Arthlow Chapman to name a few.

Rodney had no hesitation to stand up to the bullies and was always working for the underdog. He became a very effective and powerful trade Union leader, and with his lovely wife Olive became a key member of the CMU under the leadership of Bala Tampoe the great Union Leader, Parliamentarian and Advocate. It was said that on all policy matters of this Union, Olive and Rodney were consulted. Such was the respect that even now Bala Tampoe is a personal and good friend of the Schokmans. It could be said that a aquatic section of Wesley College was first inaugurated at Mount Lavania beach when Wesleyites in hordes arrived to watch the Wesley /St Thomas cricket. When things were going bad for Wesley,time was spent in the sea and Rodney was our leader. Sometime later swimming became more popular and again Rodney, although not proficient as a swimmer participated in aquatics at Kinross Swimming & Life Saving Club. . David Schokman and Trevor Ebert won bronze medals for life saving – Gordon Amarasekera , Tissa Amarasinha, Vernon and Chris Speldwewinde ,Earnest Algama were all proficient swimmers. Rodney was a keen follower of KS &LS C. and wanted to be a spear fisherman he teamed up with Gordon for forays into the sea, but his visits to the Club became a little infrequent and we gathered then that he had met, and , was enchanted by the beautiful Olive.

Rodney, “Kuiya” Herat, Tissa Amarasinghe were our cheer leaders and as schoolboys I used to look forward to the sporting rivalry, songs and hilarious antics by the Wesley Cheer Squad: and the Josephians led by the Aloysius Brothers- Hubert , Dennis & Peter. Such sporting rivalry is sadly not seen in sport today in any part of the world.Rodney was a good and loyal friend, a staunch and true Wesleyite and had bore no illwill to anyone. Rodney used to look forward to occasions organised by the OBU and sang the school song with great gusto and pride. On the 15th of May 2001, Rodney passed away after a brief illness.

A large congregation of family and friends gathered at St David’s Anglican Church, Moorabbin to pay their last respects at a service dedicated to the life of a dear family member and colleague.The Pall-bearers at the grave side were all Old Boys of Wesley, whilst a choir of Old Boys led the singing of the College song, followed by the War Cry.So Rodney went to his eternal rest with the full blooded roar of “Zam Zam Zackie!!” from all his friends floating up to the Heavens We have lost a great friend and LOYAL Wesleyite.

To Olive and family you always will be a part of the greater Wesley College, Colombo family in Melbourne.

Rest in Peace , Rodney.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Vernon Kulatunge by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

The brothers, Ranjit and Vernon, were Wesleyites and lived up the hill at Station Road Nugegoda overlooking the Railway Station. I remember playing cricket with them in their front garden well looked after by their very kind and generous parents. Their neighbours, Godwin, Godfrey and Edward Roberts also attended Wesley College. Ranjit was in STD 5 in Mr ST Perera's class in 1950 and Vernon was a couple of years senior to him. Vernon was a quiet lad and a regular at Church and a Chorister at the St.Johns Church Nugegoda. Ranjit was a more jovial person and kept us entertained as we all travelled in a gang by the KV line train to Baseline Road and back. I remember Ranjit playing cricket at small park with his mates. After the Senior School Certificate they both left school and after some years emigrated to the United Kingdom in the late 1950's. Vernon had a successful life abroad except at the very end. He passed away in the mid 1970's. I was told Ranjit Lives in Middlesex near London. Sadly our paths never crossed. I recall the happy times and the fun all those years ago. In my memory, they still seem young and invincible. Vernon was a loyal Wesleyites and will be sorely missed by his numerous school friends.

A friend is like a forest,
Or a lovely, calm blue sea,
A refuge from life’s problems,
As only a friend can be.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mr.Wilfred Wickramasinghe - A Life of Service

Remembered by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Obituary 30th May 1985

A Teacher at Wesley 1947-1982

f6

Mr Wilfred Wickramasinghe joined Wesley as a teacher in 1947 and became a hostel master. The grim days of depression from the war had come to an end. The struggle for an independant Ceylon was in full swing. The school of 400 students was ably guided by the Principal, Rev James Cartman. There was a serious dearth of good teachers and he had to go to South India to recruit Mr. Charles Yesudian and Mr D P George to fill the vacancies. This was the dawn of an new era at Wesley when the school once again joined the "Ivy League" with excellence in academic studies and sports. During those heady days Mr Wickramasinghe played his part in supporting the school to the best of his ability.

Photo: Wesley College Flats

Mr Wilfred Wickramasinghe was modest and private, with an old-fashioned courtesy and reserve that would occasionally give way to firm utterances. In his professional life, especially as a teacher, he was a formidable figure — but he was essentially kind and warm-hearted.

Mr. Wilfred as he was called then was a Hostel Master when I became a boarder in 1952. He brought an air of firm but courteous authority to the school and the hostel. With his husky-insistent voice, Mr Wilfred always looked assured, comfortable and confident in his role as a teacher. He was strict . He didnt suffer fools gladly. Given his build and demeanour few people would cross him. He was the toughest and most implacable critic of our work. Mr Wilfred was a rigorous teacher who could reduce his students to tears in class, but he would generously work hard to help them and cared about them deeply.

In 1952 I was in Std 4 and he was my classmaster. There we recall his relentless quest for good habits, refined manners and strict discipline. As the Primary Block was being refurbished all the classes were moved. We were sent to the Vice Principal's Bungalow along with Mr S.T Perera's Std 5. At the end of 1953 Mr S.T Perera left Wesley to become the Head Master of Christ Church College Tangalle. Mr Lanerolle who was the Vice Principal was away in England for 2 years. We had an airy large room. At the beginning of his teaching career he was strict. I still recall the "cuts" we received with the ruler and the pinching of the tummy for various misdemeanours. We weren't angels then. These, perhaps, helped to toughen us up for our lives ahead and also to maintain discipline in the classroom. As he matured, he grew more tolerant. Mr Wilfred was fond of reading stories to us from the classics. I remember as if it were yesterday his story of Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas which mesmerised and thrilled us no end.

Mr Wilfred and his bride Miss Elna Pinto-Jayawardene

He tried hard to instill in us , honesty and integrity. I recall him saying that if you tell one untruth you have to say many lies to cover it up. He was in charge of the 14th Colombo Cub Pack at Wesley. Together with Mr EL Rodrigo they managed the Cubs which became a popular out of hours pursuit. I recall being in the Cub Pack and taking part in its many activities on Thursday after school. Chip-a-job week helped us to collect funds and we walked the roads in Borella for simple household jobs.

Mr. Wilfred , Mr Yesudian, Mr Ooloff and Mr JLF De Mel played tennis doubles in the evenings in the court behind the College Flats. Sometimes we were allowed in to be ball-boys which we enjoyed. On a blisteringly hot day I can still see them in my minds eye playing the game with beads of sweat running down their foreheads. The highlight of our presence there was Mr Oorloff's grunt while serving, just like the modern day professionals. We were amused by their antics, polite banter and refined 'swearing' and talked proudly of our experience when we returned back to the boarding. What stood out was their old fashioned courteous conduct.

He was an experienced teacher, with a strong sense of public service – and both strands were evident in his career. He would never compromise his personal ideals and beliefs. After students left his class they experienced his kindness and generosity. Like most old teachers he derived great satisfaction seeing his students achieve their goals becoming useful citizens of this wonderful world.

Mr Wilfred had tremendous loyalty and dedication to duty. Wesley meant a great deal to him. He spent much time there even after school hours. In addition to his teaching commitment he took an active part in Primary School Drama and House Plays. He helped to organise the annual sportsmeet and Prize Giving. Mr.Wilfred was in charge of the school book shop at the back of the Great Hall. Business was brisk and all the cash-only deals were done through a small cubby hole. I distinctly recall the smell of fresh paper of new books that wafted across the long corridor when the cubby hole was opened in the morning before assembly.

Even after his retirement, during those financially perilous times he worked tirelessly for the Welfare Board raising funds to help run the school . Even on his final day on this earth he was at school attending to unfinished business.

After a long and loving courtship, I remember his marriage to the pretty singing teacher Miss. Elna Pinto Jayawardene in 1952. We sang in the choir at their wedding at the Maradana Methodist Church. The Chaplain, Rev Wilfrid Pile officiated and Mr Maxwell De Alwis conducted the Choir.

Their son, Athula, attended Wesley College as they lived in the School Flats and played cricket and hockey for the school 1st XI team. Their daughter- Nilmini (9 years younger to Athula) works at Air Lanka. She`s married to an Old boy of Wesley College - Rohan Perera.

Both Mr and Mrs Wickramasinghe showed their immense warmth and hospitality to a generation of boarders when we were invited to short eats and drinks on Saturday evenings. He was extremely proud of his role as a family man and never allowed the demands of other duties to infringe upon it.

Mr Wilfred and Mrs. Elna Wickramasinghe belonged to the old tradition and believed that the ideal of service to others was indeed the only satisfying way of life. They worked tirelessly to give the students a good all round education and gave of their best to the school. They always had the students welfare at heart. Despite their tremendous contribution to the life of the school over so many years their self effacing manner, charm and modesty prevented them from getting the recognition they deserve. I wish there was a plaque or a Prize at the Annual Prize Giving to remember their immense contribution to the life of the school. Such teachers are an extinct breed now. They both spent their entire teaching careers at Wesley. We will not see the likes of them again. They will always remain as our unsung heroes.

After leaving school I met him many times at Campbell Park watching cricket on a Saturday afternoon. He was a handsome man who was always immaculately turned out with his spotlessly brilliant white shirt and trouser and the broad smile. I was deeply saddened to hear he passed away on the 30th May 1985. His friendship, wise counsel, and talent for organisation will be sorely missed by the school.

He was so much a part of our lives, then, that it is difficult to comprehend that we will not see him again. Mr Wilfred touched the lives of all of us in different ways. We will always recall and cherish many memories of a fine teacher. His friendliness, kindness and thoughtful generosity of spirit will remain with us a lot longer. For me, their wedding photograph with their beaming smiles brings them back to life again. Whatever tribute we can pay will not match his great contribution in inspiring a whole generation. On looking back, probably, no one else ended a career in teaching with more friends than Mr Wilfred Wickramasinghe. That would serve as an epitaph for a fine teacher and a great man.

I feel honoured to have been a student during those golden years.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Bertus Perera

Obituary July 1, 1999

Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police.

Bertus Perera.Loving husband of Manel, father of Christo, Michael, Jerome, Tony, Shanali and Adrian, son of Virginia and late Victor, father-in-law of Roshani, Hema, Nicky, Deepthi and Rozanne, brother of late Clarice, Junie, Denzil, Neville, Cynthia and Roger, brother-in-law of late R. Aliraja, late Brig. Denis Hapugala, Joyce, Srimal, Walter Danthanarayana, Shanthi Fernando, and Jayantha de Silva. Cortege leaves residence 14, Ramanathan Avenue, Dehiwala at 2.30 p.m. for Cremation at General Cemetery Kanatte Saturday 3rd July.

Played cricket for Wesley and the Ceylon Police. He was a distinguished and loyal old boy of the school. He was an all round sportsman. Bertus with another Wesleyite L.Abeywardene were in the Combined Colleges Cricket team which played against the touring West Indies side in 1950. West Indies team was captained by John Goddard and included Jeff Stollmeyer, George Headley (Black Bradman), Clyde Wolcott, Everton Weekes, C. A. Mcwatt, W. Ferguson, George Carew. The match was played at the Colombo Oval (Saravanamuttu Stadium).

May he find Eternal Peace


In Memoriam - Gamini Nissanke Jayaweera - By Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Obituary November 2001

Director - (Resorts) Ceylon Tourist Board. Beloved husband of Sriyani, loving father of Dushantha (U.S.A.), brother of Vivian, Manel and Nelum (U.K.), Died November 2001.

I remember him at College as an ebullient lively student good at sports. Whenever there was cricket or soccer matches in the small park at intervals he was in the thick of it. Gamini was a strong lad. Sometimes he rebelled against rules and regulations at school like the rest of us. We will always remember his cheeky grin and the ever present naughtiness. He made us laugh by his antics. He always played hard but had the kindness and gentleness which made him a popular student- loved by all. Gamini had a huge impact on everyone he met.

On leaving school he took with him the best traditions of his education at Wesley College. He brought to his profession a special mix of Christian-inspired ethics combined with a social discipline that was unique at a time of great tension in the country. These qualities were also tinged with a quiet, dignity of purpose that almost certainly matured during his years of service. Although unconventional he had the ambition and the determination to achieve a high position in the Ceylon Tourist Board. As a Director his leadership qualities, charisma, hard work and honesty was recognised and respected. Gamini was one of a number of pioneers who reshaped the industry into its modern form. He grew into the assured leader of a highly skilled team

He was always incredibly generous. Gamini never needed any help integrating; his warm and irreverent personality attracted friends from all over the country many of whom benefited from his generosity. Gamini managed to keep both his principles and his good humour while at work. During difficult times a smile would ease itself across his face, a hand would stretch out, and a warm, candid friendship would be on offer.

His father L.V.Jayaweera (Sr) was the Boxing Coach at school and the brother Vivian a very popular student.

He cared so much for others that he neglected his own health. His work routine was not calculated to foster long life. It is sad to lose a friend at a relatively young age of 58 but Gamini had time to pack much into a short but eventful life. His untimely death is a great loss to the organisation but more so to his close family and friends. He will be sorely missed for many more years to come. (I am greatly indebted to the late MW Wickremaratne, a fellow Wesleyite who worked with Gamini in the Ceylon Tourist Board, for providing the information about his friend and colleague.)

An exemplary officer was Gamini Jayaweera by Hope Todd

Gamini Jayaweera, a director of the Ceylon Tourist Board, passed away recently.

He was on circuit, staying the night at the Gurulupotha Rest House at Hasalaka when he suffered a heart attack which led to his demise. Gamini was an exemplary officer with a high sense of dedication and sensitivity. He worked with me during my assignments with the Tourist Board. A loving husband and father, he leaves behind Sriyani and Dushyantha who will miss his guidance and presence. Let there be more of his ilk in this country!

May the turf lie gently over his mortal remains!

I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an after glow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun
of happy memories
that I leave when life is done.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Surendran Thiruchelvam

By Ruhanie Perera and Rochelle Jansen

Obituary June 2001

r4Life is short. Accidents happen. But we will never understand why this talented young man was cruelly snatched away at just twenty one - to be buried on his mother's birthday.
Surendran (Suren) Thiruchelvam was a guy like any his age. Full of dreams, plans and an unquenchable thirst for life. Suren loved life. And lived each day to its fullest. He had a ready smile at all times and never wanted to be a burden to anyone. He was an honest, hard worker who did his best at any given task - be it at school, at home or at work as a marketing executive of MTV. He earned the respect of peers and superiors. He didn't smoke or drink but he liked to 'eye' beautiful damsels like any guy his age. "Suren was a keen student of Wesley College, with great leadership qualities, and talents in singing and drama," said a teacher of his fondly remembering this young lad. "He respected his teachers and never forgot them." Suren had a vision in life. He wanted to be a priest. And not wanting to be a burden to anyone, especially not to his widowed mother, he wanted to be financially stable before embarking on his journey in the ministry.

He had, only recently, successfully completed a business management exam. And had enrolled for further studies. Yet today, of what use has all that studying and all those plans been to Suren? He drowned.

It was an accident. His family last remember, a happy carefree Suren, playing with his little niece whom he adored, spreading a little sunshine into the lives of others: and later asking his mother to wake him up in the morning because he had to leave early…. Mrs. Thiruchelvam's last conversation with her son was over the phone, "be careful" she begged him. She received a typical reply of youth: "Why are you getting scared? Nothing will happen. I'll come home carefully."What a twisted prank fate played on them all. Or was it fate? There are too many grey patches in the picture. Inspector U. L. A. Namasinghe of the Theldeniya Police Station in charge of the investigation said, "A group of six friends, including Surendran Tiruchelvam, left Colombo on June 16 around 11 a.m. to attend a colleague's wedding held at the Earl's Regency Hotel, Kandy. "On reaching Kandy in the afternoon the group checked into Digana Village, a holiday resort, to have lunch and later on get ready for the wedding. With the swimming pool on the premises they decided to go for a swim as well. "Lunch was served near the pool and after that some of them ordered drinks. Suren however, did not have any.

"Having finished lunch and a swim the friends left the pool, but Suren and another friend stayed on and went back into the pool. "Suren, who couldn't swim stayed on in the shallow end while his friend went diving in the deep end.

"After a while his friend noticed that Suren was missing, and began looking for him. It was some time later that he, together with the pool attendent found Suren. "How exactly he drowned, or what exactly happened at that point, we will never know," said Inspector Namasinghe. Suren's body was found at the point where there is a drop in the levels of depth in the pool. Suren was taken to the Kandy hospital where his death was confirmed. The verdict at the inquest was - accidental death by drowning. Accident it may have been, but this is one that need not have happened. Suren's death leaves us with many unanswered questions. How did he drown in a pool? What if he knew to swim? What if a trained lifeguard had been present, would he still be alive today? What if CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) had been administered as soon as he was found, would that have saved him? We will never know. What of the other questions that can be raised when one thinks of having a good time? Do we always take into account the dangers involved? "It's shocking, he was laughing and joking all the time, I can't believe he's no more," uttered a grief-stricken friend.

Six friends went.
Five came back.


In Memoriam - Edward James MELDER - (Eddie)

Obituary 14th January 2002

MELDER - EDWARD JAMES (Eddie) Loving father of Michelle, Natalie, Keith (Ceylon Business Appliances) and Lindsay (Energynet (Pte) Ltd.), expired. Cortege leaves A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour at 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday the 15th of January 2002 for Cremation at General Cemetery, Kanatte at 4.00 p.m

From Dr Nihal D. Amerasekera

w6

I remember EJ in the boarding as a quiet, decent friend. He was a kind and helpful person. Though not a cricketer he had a tremendous love for the game. He was the cricket secretary at the Colombo Colts CC for many years. He served as Assistant Secretary, Board of Control for Cricket for a period before being elected Board Secretary for the year 1973-74. I remember he wrote in my autograph book some poignant verse which has been sadly mislaid. I last met him on Church Street Nugegoda when I was a medical student in 1963, now nearly 40 years ago. We had a long chat about the hostel days and the mutual friends. Since then our paths never crossed. I have often thought about him wondering how life treated him. Edward started his working life as a Planter at Welimada Group before joining the Chartered Bank. I was deeply saddened to hear he led a troubled life but was encouraged to note Eddie was greatly appreciated at the Chartered Bank as a skilful worker and a good colleague. Amongst his numerous friends he was well known for his endearing qualities and social skills. "A party man at heart". My condolences go out to his family.

My Thanks to Victor Melder for the rapid response to the request for information.

A letter from Fazli Sameer Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If I may say a few words about Eddie which you may be able to use in your appreciation as I knew him during the period 1969-79:-

Eddie and I worked at The Chartered Bank, in the Fort, Colombo, during the period 1969-79. I think Eddie joined the bank after me as my mind is a bit cloudy about that fact right now, going on 54 (Feb-16-2002 hopefully).Eddie was A true Cricket BUFF. He loved the game more than anything else in this world. He also possessed a tremendous knowledge of the game and its players through time. he was responsible for organizing the Chartered bank Cricket Club and infused much impetus into the team arranging to take part in various cricket tournaments and other sporting activities. during that era. He als had a great penchant for organization of activities and celebrations, parties, etc.

His organization ability, knowledge, and influence amongst various circles was a great asset to him in this arena. He was a member of the BRC and Colomb Colts Cricket Clubs through which he made many a grand relationship and acquaintance with many influential and active people in society. These relationships helped him a lot in life. And he was also very popular with the people around him on account of his active and efficient abilities to get things done.At the bank too he was an efficient worker in whatever tasks he undertook. We did work in the same department on some occasions and it was always a great pleasure to share your work with someone as efficient as him, and his great sense of humor and his voluminous guffaw when he laughed. Wonderful man he was.His body was cremated as per his wishes.May he rest in peace!

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Lionel (Len ) Percy Senaris by Langston Joseph

Born 16.03.1915 - Died 28.09.2001

A family man, proud parent and grandparent, a staunch and large-hearted friend are some of the many clichés mentioned by those to whom I spoke, of the Late Len Senaris.

My memory of this gentleman, who I have known for many years and to whom we pay tribute, is that of a devout Christian to whom, apart from his love for his family, devotion to God and his Church were of highest priority. Alas with his passing, Wesley College, Sri Lanka and our Old Boys’ Association here, have lost yet another of our loyal “Old Boys”.

Photo: Writer - Langston Joseph

Len walked the corridors and playing fields of Wesley, in the Highfield era, with fellow stalwarts like Vernon Achilles, Raymond Fernando, the eldest of the Fernando brothers affectionately called “Notta”, Mervyn and Max Fernando and Quintus Blacker – all of whom, with the exception of Vernon Achilles, have now passed on.

He enjoyed his College-days boxing and boating, and in retired life his golf and bowls.

Most of his working life was spent at Rowlands, the well-known Motor Firm, where he progressed from stenographer, to personal assistant to the General Manager, and retired from the position of Manager of Rowlands’ Associate Firm Tyresoles at Nawinna.

Another friend of this same era, remembered Len as one who always had genuine concern for the less fortunate, and to whom money and the material things of life had scant value.

On 2nd January 1951 Len married Phylis Fernando, now deceased, who he met as a colleague at Rowlands. Len is mourned by his loved daughter Diane, granddaughter Sharon, and son in law Peter Draper – all of whom assuredly brightened his life with their achievements, as truly talented and accomplished concert musicians.

May he rest in peace and may his memory live on!

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Oswin Allan Van Buuren by Langston Joseph

04.01.1925 to 01.07.2001

Photo: Writer - Langston Joseph

Recalling the memory of someone, who I could call a younger brother though not biologically could be both enjoyable as well as heart-wrenching. With his brother, the late Denver Van Buuren, Oswin spent most of his later years at Wesley living at our home. This was an Association that lasted all through our years together, and which I recall with fond affection happy years interspersed with occasions of schoolboy fun and innocent mischief when more often than not, Oswin was put on the “front line”! Indeed those were happy times! Through all the years of our Association, Oswin has been a cherished friend to me and our family, and it is with that knowledge of him that I say that he always exemplified the true hall marks of a devoted husband, and a father whose children and grandchildren rightfully idolized. He was never brusque or churlish but on the contrary a gentle man - a gentleman in every sense of the word who bore no traces of haughtiness, arrogance or pride. I count it a privilege to have known him.

May the roses and the orchids, which were his passion and hobby, blossom in abundance in his memory and may he rest in peace.

A light from the family is gone
A voice we loved is stilled
A place is vacant in the home
Which never can be filled

We have to mourn the loss of one
We would've loved to keep
But God who surely loved him best
Has finally made him sleep

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Vincent Charles De Zilva Adhihetty (Vincy)
By Louis Adhihetty

 Obituary December 2000 Aged 63 Years

f2Vincent (familiarly known as Vincy and, popularly, much to his fury, nicknamed' Galthoppi ') was born on the 31 st of July 1937. He was the youngest in the family of 4 children -a girl and 2 other boys. The entire family (father, mother and children) was Sports crazy!. At least 3 members of the family represented a Sri Lankan National Team in Sports (Cricket, Athletics and Hockey). Of course, this was no surprise to friends and relatives because Monday to Friday the entire family woke up at 5.30 am and joined the trainee Prison Officers' to Physical Training on the Welikada Prisons Cricket Field. What discipline and regimentation!

Vincy started his schooling (Kindergarten) at St. Bridget's Convent at the age of 4 years. He continued there until he was 8. In 1945, he was admitted to Wesley College -thanks, to Mr.Weragoda, who was the Head of the Junior School. Then, as a result of ruthless / unsympathetic Government Officers' Transfer Policies, Vincy and his brother Lou, had a nomadic spell in schooling for (thank God) only 3 years. Their father was transferred from Welikada Prisons, Borella to Mahara Prisons, Ragama. As a result, since financially it was not feasible to board all 4 children in Schools, the younger two were admitted to De Mazenod College, Kandana in July. 1945. Then, in Jan. 1946, both boys were admitted to Richmond College, Galle. Vincy detested Boarding School life, especially the discipline, rigid rules and regulations. In addition, he was very 'homesick' and threatened to jump into the Richmond College Boarding House well of course, naturally a 'pity party' to win the sympathy of Mum and Dad!! So, in July 1946, Vincy was re-admitted to Wesley College, where he continued his schooling until he left in 1955.

Vincy excelled as a Sportsman at Wesley .He represented Wesley in no less than 5 games and won College Colours in Cricket, Football, Hockey and Athletics. He was an exceptional sportsman.In 1953 he skippered Wesley Under 16 Cricket Team. In 1954 he was Full-back in the 1st XI Soccer Team. He was feared by the many opponents because of his truly aggressive and rough tactics. He played in the same position in the 1st XI Hockey Team -often, if he could not get the ball he, at least, got the feet of the opponent! In the same year, Vincy won the Javelin, Putt Shot and Discus Throw events in the College Sports Meet. He also represented Wesley in the Public Schools' Sports Meet and. also, the Public Schools' Tennis Tournament. Also in 1954, Vincy is down in Wesley 1st XI Cricket Records as 'saviour' -Herman Claessenand he helped the School to beat St Thomas' by I wicket and 2 runs. A memorable feat! In 1955, he was top scorer in the Thomian match, which Wesley lost by 8 wickets.

Academically, Vincy achieved something which not one of his family member's were ever able to do! He passed the Senior School Certificate in his first and only attempt. After passing his SSC he underwent training as a planter but, obviously, it was not his cup of tea! Soon he was able to apply for a position in the army as a Trainee Cadet. Then, in 1956 he was sent as Cadet to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Camberly, England. He passed out as a Second Lieutenant in 1958. In the same year, he married Hannelora Hoffmann (of German descent), who was learning English in Camberly. They returned in 1958 and Vincy was then attached to the Army Camp in Diyatalawa. In 1960, as Lieutenant, he joined the Army Ordinance Corps. Later, in 1962, Vincy was appointed Captain.

After the birth of their two children Karl and Merlyn, Vincy had a desire to quit the Army and pursue further studies. In 1963, he and his family left first for Germany Lauenburg on the river Elbe .-not far from Hamburg) and, eventually, emigrated to Canada in 1964. While working for Canadian Gypsum in' Toronto, he studied and qualified as an Industrial Accountant. Around 1980 Vincy joined the Canadian Development Co-operation -a semi -government organization.

Vincy continued participating in sports, especially Tennis. In fact, he was President of the Thorold Tennis Club. However, unfortunately, he was a heavy cigarette smoker. In 1992 (or thereabouts) the first signs of cancer surfaced. Soon a kidney was removed. Then, he experienced restrictive movement of his right shoulder. Once more, a tumour was detected. His condition was too advanced and not responding to medication. Then, in December 2000 Vincy died. It was a sad end of an excellent Wesley College Sportsman!

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Wilfred Thalakumbura

Obituary 7th February 2002

From Dr Nihal D. Amerasekera

THALAKUMBURA - WILFRED. At Rest with Jesus. Loving husband of Ratnamalie, father of Suraj (Ceylinco Insurance Co. Ltd), Anoj (Lanka Ceramics Ltd), Manoj (Lanka Milk Foods Ltd), father-in-law of Aruni, expired. Cortege leaves 442 F, ‘Ratnamalie’, Welivita, Kaduwela, on 7th Thursday at 3.00 p.m. for service at St Matthews Church, Talangama, Battaramulla and thereafter for burial at Church Burial Ground.

It is with deep sadness I note the death of Wilfred who was with me at the school boarding. Wilfred Thalakumbura was from Badulla and was a affable, thoughtful and humble lad who enjoyed school life during the golden years when Mr CJ Oorloff was Principal. He didnt care much for academia and was full of fun and mischief and wonderful to be with. Wilfred always was an enthusiastic participant in school sporting activities. He took part in all sports and as I recall was a good basket ball player. He represented the 1st XI Teams in Soccer, Hockey and Basketball and was considered a valued member of those teams. He was a regular vocal supporter at cricket matches at Campbell Park.

Wilfred remained a loyal Wesleyite all through his life. He had spoken to his school friend Mr NAB Fernando when he was Principal to get his sons admitted to Wesley.

He was a jolly lad always ready for a joke and a laugh. I last met him when I worked at the Central Blood Bank in Colombo (1970) and he lived with his wife in a house built in our former "Small Park". He remembered the school friends and spoke warmly of those happy times. My abiding memory, however, is of a bubbly, effervescent person with a great gift for friendship. We will always remember his impish wit, cheeky grin and pleasant manner.

Photo - Suraj Thalakumbura

Wilfred Thalakumbura's son, Suraj, is a Senior Sales Manager at Ceylinco Insurance Plc and is an old boy of Wesley College. He kindly sent me the following photographs of his parents wedding day, their 3 sons and a recent photo of the family. I am most grateful for the photos that brings Wilfred Thalakumbura back to life. They bring back the good old days of fun and games in the boarding. At the time we never realised even for a moment those days won't last forever.

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Scharenguivel - Rienzie Carlyle (BABY).

Loving husband of Esme (nee Maybrink), loving father of Dirk, son of the late Ira and of Margie (nee Kelaart), brother of Ainsley, Brian, Dawn (Kiel), Dreen (Hart) and Margie (Hesse), brother-in-law of Dawn (nee Ferdinands), Mary (nee Mulholland), late Trevor Kiel, Rex Hart, Maurice Hesse, Jean and Lennie Tindall, Irwin Maybrink and Penny (nee Direckze). 3, Cyprus Hill Drive, Narre Warren 3805, Melbourne, Australia.

A friend is a bit of everything
That makes life good and sweet,
And you, my friend, are all that;
You make our lives complete!

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - FUARD - MOHAMED ANSAR

May 2002 Aged 67 Years

Personnel Manager - BCCSL. Beloved husband of Fathima Badri, loving father of Asif (Student Royal College),son of late A.M. Fuard and late Ummu Ryhan, sonin-law of late S.L.M.H. Ahmed (Rahman Bros.) and late Sithy Raleeha, brother of Suadha, Mohideen, Sithy, Abu, Noori and Dr Harris (NZ), brother-in-law of Makkin Salih, Nizar, Hussain, Fawzia and Jameela (NZ), Shums, Thaha, Neemath (UK), Bathul, Mumtaz (Scotland), Bishri, late Rafai, Inam and Haddad (UK). Janaza took place on 4th May 2002 from No. 17, 5th Lane, Colpetty.

Wesley's Ansar Fuard no more by Richard Dwight

q2The sudden passing away of M. A. M. Fuard the former Wesley College captain, Moors SC and NCC cricketer, in the early hours of Saturday (4.5.02) at the age 67, did cause a void and came as a rude shock not only to the members of his family, but to many a relative and friend.

Ansar, as he was affectionately referred to was laid low with a severe bout of fever, which found him exhausted and weak even to walk. He however recovered sufficiently to be discharged from hospital and, was up and about for a few days, gearing himself to resume work at the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, where he served. But fate willed otherwise, for in the wee hours of Saturday around 1.30 a.m., he complained of a pain in the stomach and, within the swiftness of an hour he slipped through life peacefully, just the way he had lived, into a land of eternal bliss. Rather, than lingering on a bed of pain, it's a death that any sportsman dreams of, but becomes the preserve of only the best who are counted worthy.

Ansar did not flaunt his religion to be seen of men and, he could not have been the kind of person he was, nor lived the kind of life he led, were it not for his abiding faith in Islam, which unobtrusively he practised. From his father, the late Proctor A. M. Fuard who also captained Wesley at cricket, he imbibed virtuous qualities to lead an exemplary life, whilst from his mother, Ansar learnt that the fear of God was the beginning of wisdom.

It is against this background and environment, that Ansar grew and blossomed out further, to be a conscientious, painstaking student at Wesley College, which with time became his second home. He was made up of the firm belief, that the classroom and the playing field were handmaids, complementary to each other.

Being essentially a team man and a stickler for accepted norms, he made valuable contributions in those golden years of Wesley's sports, in the early fifties, by representing the college at cricket, hockey and athletics, with a flair for table tennis as well.

As an athlete he was a sprinter and a hurdler and, proved to be a penetrative inside in the half line on the field of hockey. But superceding all this, was his inordinate passion for the game of cricket. So keen was he that he represented the glamorous cricket teams of Wesley, commencing from 1952 to 1954 where he eventually captained the college in his final year. He proved to be a fine all-rounder excelling as an enterprising batsman, found to be a useful bowler and an alert, nippy fielder. He adored the mercurial Sathasivam and in jest would say I'd like to late cut, drive through cover and hook the way Satha does, with much finesse. In these attractive days of school cricket he played for Wesley in the august company of the Mack brothers Derrick and Spencer, the Claessen brothers Radley and Brian, Lou and Vince Adihetty, Patrick Schockman, Neil Gallaher, Artlow Chapman, Samsudeen and his brother Abu Fuard who went ahead to play for Ceylon as a reputed off-spinner. Through it all he made the right kind of impression to be appointed as senior prefect, where his experience was, that he learnt how to be led and how to lead.

On leaving college he continued playing cricket for the Moors Sports Club and the NCC and had the privilege of making tours to India. His contemporaries at the NCC were Vernon Prins, Michael Tissera, Herbie Fernando, K. M. T. Perera, Rienzie Perera, Patrick Schockman and yet others.

What was most striking about Ansar, was that when he set his heart and mind to achieve an objective he never rested until he was successful. Evidence of this was seen in his obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree, which stood him in good stead in securing employment in the Education Department, the Mahaweli Board and the Sri Lanka Cricket Board where he was the personnel manager at the time of his death.

Ansar was one given to sober disciplined, meticulous ways with the accent on honesty and integrity. He was a kindly man, of quiet disposition, a fine sportsman and a true friend. His sacrificial nature was amply made manifest in his deep association with his brother Abu.

Ansar is survived by his wife Fathima Badri and son Asif. May the turf lie gently over him.

Addendum by N.D.Amerasekera

A wonderful all round cricketer who dominated the school cricket arena in the early fifties. He thrilled many Wesleyites with his aggressive batting, accurate bowling and sound captaincy. Ansar was held in high regard and was made Senior Prefect whose duties he performed to the highest traditions of Wesley.

Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon

The late Ansar Fuard honoured at Wesley cricket celebration

By David Stephens

Photo: Ansar Fuard introduces his team to the school principal.

Wesley College cricket stalwart, the late Ansar Fuard, who captained a 1954 cricket team teeming with talent, was posthumously felicitated for his immense contribution on the field, during a special ceremony which celebrated the school’s120-year cricket history.
Honoured with him were eight other Wesley cricket legends: batting maestro Mahadevan Sathasivam, spin wizards Sridharan Jeganathan and Abu Fuard, Bryan Claessen, Lou Adihetty, Nalendra Abeysuriya, Hilary de Vos and Robin Reimers.

A genuine allrounder capable of inflicting equal devastation on opposing bowling and batting lineups, Ansar led a unit which boasted players such as Lou and Vince Adihetty, Herman Claessen, M. Samsudeen, Ananda Batuwitage, N. Fernando, B. Jurangpathy, Neil Gallaher, A. Chapman and his brother Abu. His uncompromising and intelligent leadership influenced the team to employ a flamboyant brand of cricket that was both exquisite and effective, and which yielded a stellar cricket season for Wesley.

The late Ansar Fuard’s son, Asif, collects a plaque honoring his father. Pic by Amila Gamage.

By captaining Wesley, Ansar had also followed in the footsteps of his father, A. M Fuard- who led the school’s first XI team in 1915- forever engraving the name ‘Fuard’ in the annals of Wesley cricket. Furthermore, his skills as a captain were recognized by school administrators at the time and he was appointed the skipper of a combined college team for the Colombo district.

Upon leaving school, where he also excelled in Athletics, Hockey and Table Tennis, Ansar captained Moors SC, and continued his club cricket at the NCC, sharing the dressing room with cricketing doyens like Michael Tissera and Vernon Prins. The special celebration, at which Ansar was honoured, took place in the college hall on Thursday, and was graced by a raft of distinguished past Wesley cricketers, who had assembled from all around the world.


In Memoriam - Ronald Ashley Klyn by Azahim Mohamed

It is with sadness that the Wesley OBU UK received the news of the death of Ronald klyn on 10 April 2002.Ronald was born on 1st April. He was 67 years of age when he was taken away from us. Ronald was a proud Wesleyite who spent his entire school life at Wesley. He always proudly recalls his school life and the years he spent at "Katiyakkara" where Wesley College spent its war years.When ever the old boys of Wesley meet Ronald brings out his many Nostalgic times at the alma mater. After leaving Wesley Ronald joined the Ceylon Post office Department in the fifties and rose to the hight as Post Master. He also served as Post Master in the Kandy district. Ronald and his wife Erin came to UK in the sixties. In the UK he joined British Rail and served with them until his retirement in the eighties.

Ronald was an active member of the Wesley OBU UK joining the committee nine year ago. He held the post of Membership Secretary for four years and during this time he was able to get many new members. When ever we have a younger Wesleyite joining the union or has arrive from Srilanka for studies Ronald always goes out of his way to see to their comforts and if neccessary does the cleaning or applies a coat of Paint to the flat where the boys will be staying. He was very pouplar amongs the OBU UK membership. Ronald was also the popular choice to edit the OBU UK's Double Blue souvenir which position he held for over five years THe OBU souvenir was always held as one of the best dinner dance souvenir amongs the schools in the UK. Ronald always maintained very high standards. Ronald was elected at the 9th AGM of the Wesley College OBU UK held in December 2001 as its General Secretary. Which position he held until his untimly death.

Ronald was a true Christian gentleman. He was recently appointed as one of the vergers at St Anselm's Church, Belmont. He was heavily involved with the church many events most noted of which was the breakfast for the elderly which is held every day and Ronald was the main organiser. Recently he also donated a bible for the chapel which is used daily. The funeral service was held at St Anselm's church Belmont on the Thursday 18 April 2002, St Anselm's Church was full to capacity a true testimony to a very pouplar figure.The Wesley OBU UK was well represented at the funeral and the OBU also assisted as the pall bearers. Ronald was cremated at Breakspear Crematorium Ruislip and his ashes buried at St Anselm's church he so dearly loved. Tribute on behalf of the Wesley College OBU UK was presented by Azahim Mohamed. Wesley College OBU UK salutes and bids farewell to Ronald Klyn, a loyal Wesleyite and sincere friend. We will always remember with gratitude the selfless efforts made without any complaints by Ron over the years to support Wesley College.Ronald Played a fair and splendid innings in line with the Spirit of Wesley.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Edward Ramsay Miller by George Robertson

 August 2002

I first met Ramsay when we were both students at Wesley College, Colombo in the early 1950's. That sounds like it was such a long time ago. Maybe it was. We were both young lads then, in our teen years. I remember Ramsay as being rather quiet, well-mannered with a preference for English Literature. This was during the years when Mr C J Oorloff was the Principal, and Mrs Oorloff took 4th Form English.

I left college a few years later, and never heard from, or saw Ramsay again, until forty-five years and about 25,000 kilometres away in Australia. In the meantime I had married, raised a family, become a grand-parent, retired from work and with the wonderful support for the MS Society in Victoria, my wife Beryl and I were about to commence visiting residents in a nursing home close to where we lived.

Photo: Writer - George Robertson

Imagine my surprise that first day, when I was informed that I would shortly be introduced to "Mr R Miller, born in Sri Lanka, educated at Wesley College….etc." And that's how I had the privilege of meeting Ramsay twice a month for the last few years of his life.

Ramsay was not a well man, we knew that. In the early days we used to play cards, or draw pictures, or cover the board when they called the numbers for Bingo. He seldom uttered a word, but I shall always remember him saying to me, once
"…Have a coffee?"
And after a short pause
"…I'll pay."

To have a cup of coffee together in some small café was always the ritual when two friends met in the old days in Colombo. And it was considered good manners to offer to pay.

I'd like to believe that just for that one brief moment, Ramsay was transported to another time and place, and he had just met an old friend with whom he would share a cuppa and a chat, and catch up on all the news.
There was no wheel-chair, no physical restraints on movement or speech and he looked at me with an intense recognition that I never saw again.

Ramsay succumbed to his illness on 29th August 2002.

Ironically, just a few days before, I was visiting Sri Lanka and spent a wonderful couple of hours at my old school Wesley College, showing my wife all the classrooms where I spent so much of my early years.
I began by suggesting that we never can tell how our lives will turn out. I quote below the last verse from a poem written by him and titled:

A Farewell From Ramsay"

Goodbye Australia
Farewell my family and friends
Take heed of what life offers
And embrace your families
For who knows
What tomorrow may bring

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Robin Errol Carnie

 Obituary August 2002

ROBIN ERROL CARNIE Husband of Chrisma, son of late Austin and Hope Carnie, father of Shane, Suzie, (Australia), Rudy (Dubai), Spencer (Australia), father-in-law of Sasrika, Janaka, Jenny and Lily, grandfather of Spencer (Junior), Sean, Jonty, Saranah, Joshua, passed away peacefully. Cortege leaves   Mahinda Funeral Parlour at 10 a.m. Saturday 10th August 2002. Burial at Borella Kanatta

From Dr Nihal D.Amerasekera

Robin was one of three brothers ( Hilary and John) who were at the Wesley boarding in the fifties. He had a fine dry sense of humour and a rather light-hearted attitude to life and work. He was well liked in the boarding taking an active part in sports. I still recall playing I-Spy on Sunday afternoons with Robin and his many friends. It was often the highlight of our weekends in the boarding. Robin was a fine cricketer and it surprised me not to see him in the lst XI team. I remember the many softball cricket matches at the small park where he often made his mark in the fiercely competitive house matches, at the boarding. His spin-bowling ruined the dreams of many softball cricketers. At these matches Robin’s umpiring was often hotly debated and argued but he stood his ground despite strong arguments to the contrary. I recall once when he said he did not raise his finger but was just picking his nose - (I was the batsman and agreed with him on principle). I cannot believe he will not be there to play those elegant cover drives again in the small park. Sadly the small park too has been converted to a housing complex.

Those were tumultuous times in our young lives but they were glorious times too. The boarding life away from the love and care of our parents was not for the faint-hearted. That was a wonderful chance for a kid to grow up fast and be streetwise. Where else do you get that kind of responsibility thrust on you so young? We made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Robin was an integral part of the boarding and took life easy. Academia was not for him but he had much else to enjoy.

He was famous for his pranks. Although perceived as a hard man I have seen his kindness too. Robin and Hilary were good friends and were inseparable. The two made a formidable team. They knew all the loop holes in the Hostel Rules and also where the ripening papaws were within the school boundary. Robin was the author of many of the hostellers’ nicknames. Getting thosais from the Thambikadey without being seen was an art they had mastered to perfection. He had 1001 excuses not to attend Sunday School at the Maradana Methodist Church which was a chore no one liked.

Cameraderie was strong and he never snitched on friends and expected the same loyalty from others. When punished he took the canings bravely. Those punishments were taken as yet another feather in his cap. There was a natural arrogance, but also wit and humour, which made him a master of the art of mischief. Even when caught red-handed, during interrogations he was able to weave remarkable stories to confound and mesmerize the teachers. I can just imagine that electrifying scene!! Robin's guile and cunning reminds me of Mark Twain's fictional characters Tom Sawyer and Hucklebury Finn. These misdemeanours never amounted to much and was just clean and innocent fun. The teachers always took him for a lovable character. He remained a much sought-after friendly figure in the boarding until he left. When he left there was a void that was never filled. The likes of Robin made life in the boarding bearable and memorable.

His father worked for CGR. After Robin left the boarding I met him at the Dematagoda Railway Housing Estate where they lived. He left school soon after the SSC to join an Estate (Carolina Estate Watawala) as an upcountry Tea Planter where he worked for many years. Our lives took different paths and we never met again.

L to R: Robin, His son Rudy and wife in the middle, Hilary (Taken 1994)

Addendum by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

20th of October 2014

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Robin's son Rudy, who lives in the UAE. He kindly gave me some information and sent me the photos for which I am most grateful. Despite the lines and furrows on his face Robin retains the boyhood features of his days in the hostel. In his emails Rudy has mentioned some of Robin's delightful pranks. Robin's photo brings him back to life and to those halcyon days of fun and games. Hilary retains his youthful good looks and we wish him well.

Our condolences go to his immediate family and to Hilary and John who shared the highs and lows of boarding life all those years ago.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah, yes, these things, I too, will miss.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Lionel Jayasuriya

JAYASURIYA - DAVID LIONEL PERERA Retired Teacher (Wesley and Carey), beloved husband of Nesta (nee Kannangara), loving father of Kaminee. Remains will lie at A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour. Service at 1.00 p.m. thereafter cortege leaves for Cremation at General Cemetery, Kanatte at 2.00 p.m on Saturday 21st December 2002. 35, Jayasinghe Retirement Home, Kerawalapitiya Road, Hendala, Wattala.

Obituary December 2002 Aged 102 Years

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

a3Born in Veyangoda, he was the youngest of 13 children. He studied at St. John's College Panadura and Carey College Colombo. He was actively involved in the school cricket team. Although he wanted to be a violinist, he gave-up the violin for cricket! Mr.Jayasuriya was also involved in scouting where his troop played a part in the Independence Day Celebration in 1948. He played for the SSC 2nd eleven cricket team. For many years was a much loved teacher at Wesley College. He recalled, how he enjoyed school trips with his students. His wife died in 1997. All his brothers and sisters too have died.
The Grand Old Man of Wesley is no more. He taught my father soon after the 1st World War and then myself in the 1950's. He was an excellent teacher of English. Mr. Jayasuriya would have been 103 years old next January (2003). They don't make teachers like that anymore- honest, kind and hardworking.. He has served Wesley College and its pupils with great distinction. My lasting memory of him will be Mr.Jayasuriya driving his ancient but immaculately maintained Austin 7 into the Vice Principal's porch. Our sympathies go to his daughter Kaminee who cared for him in his final years.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - L.R. & S.M. Rajasingham by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

 

They were twins - Manan and Mano. Manan lived in Sri Lanka being promoted to the post of Commander of the Navy before he retired. He subsequently emigrated to Australia where he died 28/01/03. Mano lived in Canada and passed away some years previously. They were prominent all round sportsman at Wesley in the mid and late 1950's

LR Rajasingham: 1st XI Cricket Team 1956-57, ist XV Rugby 1956-57, Combined Colleges RugbyTeam 1957, Athletics Team 1957, Best Performance at Inter House Athletics 1957, Winner Discus Throw Colombo North Meet 1957, Swimming Team 1956, Life Saving Award of Merit 1957

Among Life's precious jewels,
Genuine and rare,
The one that we call friendship
Has worth beyond compare.

GRANT THEM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - M.Hisni Marikar by Nihal D Amerasekera

a5Hisni had his entire schooling at Wesley. We were in parallel classes. I have seen him grow-up from a boy in short trousers to a youth in "longs". In the process he grew in stature and in self confidence. He came into prominence as a Maliban Quiz Kid in that ever popular Quiz show of the Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon Compeered by Livy Wijemanne. This was in the Late 1950's. As a prefect I can picture him standing at ease at Assembly 'ticking off ' the boys. Hisni was the Co-Editor of the 1960 school magazine and his appreciation of the work of Mr. CJT Thamotheram in that magazine shows his talents as a writer. He was a member of the School Spelling Bee and Debating Team and was a fearless and eloquent speaker. With such skills he was eminently suited for a career in Law which he pursued after leaving school. We were together in the 6th Form. I recall the riotous humour and the wild and mad times we enjoyed together amidst the hard work. Above all he was a trusted and valued friend. After leaving school I last met him in 1963 watching a cricket match at Campbell Park. He was then at his ebullient best not bound by the school discipline and Prefects code. I was deeply saddened to hear that he died suddenly in the 1970's while taking a walk. A promising young life cut short in its prime. Cest la vie

Addendum from Dallas Achilles
Hisni Marikkar was a good friend to me. When I was a rookie in the Spelling Bee & 'Do you know' teams, he was my mentor and coached me. He also encouraged me & spurred me on. The Spelling Bee contests were great fun, & the competition was fierce with many close & thrilling encounters amongst the leading schools taking part. Held in the Radio Ceylon studios, each school faced each other before the large studio mike. Each team member was called up in turn by the adjudicator to spell a word. If correct, the team got one point, if missed, it was thrown to the rest of the team. The Team then got half a point if the called up person spelt it right.. If the 2nd team member got it wrong it was then thrown to the opposing team who would gain the half a point if spelt correctly. I recall as a rookie sitting next to Hisni who was our champion. I also remember when the opposing team missed a word altogether I just could not curb my enthusiasm & practically jumped out of my chair hoping to get called up to spell the word & gain a valuable half point for us. Hisni being our champion was always expected to be our 1st choice & of course the safest bet to go up & get it right. But seeing how keen I was, the true gentleman that he was, he pushed me forward. It made me feel good to know that he had confidence in my ability to get it right. Suffice to say I did not let him down. I recall we went on to win the championship 2 years in a row.

Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon


In Memoriam - W. P. S. Abeywardene by Richard Dwight

Obituary 27th March 2003 Aged 75 Years

Wesley's former skipper, colts and combined schools cricketer, W. P. S. Abeywardene passed away after a brief illness on Tuesday at the age of 75.

W. P. S. as he was affectionately known, proved to be a fine all-rounder in that star studded cricket team of 1947 led by Edmund Dissanayake - a period referred to as Wesley's glorious years of cricket under the principalship of cricketer cum padre, Rev. James Cartman.

In the next year under a colourful captain Harold Matthysz, he scored a century against St. Josephs' and ended his cricket career at Wesley College by leading the side in 1949. He continued playing cricket for the colts cricket club and the Fisheries Department. He continued playing cricket for the Colts and Fisheries Department where he was an inspector of fisheries. WPS was a man of quiet disposition, given to sober disciplined ways - who through the qualities imbibed from game of cricket lived a virtuous life right to the end. His mortal remains will be cremated this evening at 5 p.m. at the Kohuwela cemetery (27/03/03)


In Memoriam - Godfrey van Dort

by Deloraine Brohier

Obituary 9th Feb 2003

VAN DORT - GODFREY. Husband of Crystelle, father of Garvin and Caryll, father-in-law of Asha, expired. Cortege leaves A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour at 3.00 p.m. after service at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday 9th. Burial at General Cemetery Kanatte. No flowers by request.

The special moments he captured will remain forever. He was known as "Goofy" - a pet-name for Godfrey. Goofy van Dort was quite a character - strong in opinion, inflexible and sometimes even obstinate. He was assailed by moods - high and low, full of fun and laughter on occasions, cynical and touchy at other times. I knew Godfrey when he was a young man and visited his Aunt Rene who stayed with my grandmother in Pamankade - though much later in life I got to know him better. He worked in the National Insurance Corporation for many years. Should he have seen anyone he recognized in the corridors or offices of the establishment, he would saunter up to them, and ask, "What can I do for you?" or "Can I take you to the person you have come to see?" leaving his desk to take the visitor as requested. Goofy had an inborn sense of "PR" and would go out of his way to be of assistance.
Goofy was an interesting man to converse with and he would entertain his listeners with a run of anecdotes, jokes and stories - some quite exaggerated and obviously fictitious. He had an insatiable desire to see and know more of our island, its deep back-blocks, little towns and villages, places of historic or religious significance and he would probe my knowledge. A memorable holiday we once shared was in Diyatalawa, at the Survey Camp. Goofy lapped up all I showed him in the hills around - "Adisham", "Lipton's Seat"off Haputale, the road down to Badulla and the Duwa Temple; the wooden Bogoda Bridge, Ravana Ella Falls and the spectacular Ella Gorge.
The camera, which was part of the man, had its open shutter at every turn. Roll after roll of film emerged from that trip. Godfrey van Dort was undoubtedly an expert with his camera - an extraordinary photographer.
He was proud of the award he once won for his picture of "Stilt Walkers", at a Japanese photographic exhibition. At every function in the Dutch Burgher Union in recent times, Godfrey stealthily moved amongst the crowd with his camera - be it a children's party or in our Elders' Home, the occasion of a special lecture or Founder's Day.
He captured moments of significance, which will remain on record.
Godfrey was not only the "unofficial photographer for the DBU, he was also jolly "Mr. Santa Claus" or the stately "Bishop, St. Nikolaas".
He played those roles with aplomb - varying his style, his expression, for the part he was taking. As the roly-poly Santa in red cloak and fur he bounced around kissing the old ladies of the Home for great giggles and with the children on St. Nikolaas' Day he sat them on his knee and tenderly talked to them as the sober Bishop.
Goofy will be remembered by many - for a long time.

Addendum by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Godfrey was in my parallel class at Wesley and a quiet, decent chap. He lived in Dematagoda and on occasions we have walked back home together as I lived in Kolonnawa. I never saw him since leaving school and was deeply saddened to hear of his death.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - REV. J.S. BENSON MANUKULASOORIYA

 Obituary August 2003 Aged 87 Years

Minister Methodist Church

Beloved husband of Bertha, loving father of Janaki, Jayalal, Rohan and Kumudini, loving father­in­law of Ilangasiri, Kamani, Mihiri and Nishantha called to Rest with Jesus. Cortege will leave 14/1, Pedro Lane, Puwakaramba, Moratuwa on Saturday 12th April 2003 at 4.00 p.m. for Service at Methodist Church, Moratumulla.

Rev Manukulasooriya was an old boy of the school during the Highfield era in the 1920's and then returned as the Chaplain of Wesley in 1950. I refer you to his article in the "Recollections" page of this website which gives an insight into his life and times at Wesley. He died in the 87th year of his Ministry.

From Sunday Island 17th August 2003

(The Late) Rev. John Samuel Benson Manukulasooriya

Rev. Benson was the only son in a family of seven, of the late Methodist Evangelist Sampathawaduge John F. Manukulasooriya of Moratuwa and Pattiyage Lucy Francina Gomes of Upper Welikada, Rajagiriya.

Benson and his six sisters Millicent, Clarice, Florence, the twins Edith-Evelyn and Beatrice had a very happy childhood. Benson joined them in all the fun, especially in the vacation when some cousins would also join them. Gradually he found different hobbies and even friends. He became a lover of nature and enjoyed himself out-of-doors with paltry and rabbits, spending time in the garden, who also loved to keep pets in-doors—birds, squirrels, butterflies etc; Butterflies in his room was an attraction for all. He would bring the chrysalis and hide them in various places in his room, and one fine day he would open his doors and windows to enable the baby butterflies to fly out. That was a lovely sight.

His mother knew how to keep all her children together and was always mindful of the only son. She was with them in all their activities. She had a dream and a vision for Benson, and in her quiet way, paved the way for it. All the children were given small duties in the home and sharp at 7 pm had family prayers which everyone had to share. The Sabbath day was strictly observed as a holyday. All the work in the house such as cooking, washing, sweeping and cleaning including studies were completed on Saturday.

In his formative years, Benson became more and more involved in church work being active in Church Services, Sunday School, Choir practices, Class meeting, Wesley Guild and even Boys’ Scout Troupe.

Special aptitude

Benson had his primary education at Richmond College since his father was stationed at Kalahe, Galle. When his father fell ill and had to come down to his home-town Moratuwa, Benson’s studies resumed at Prince of Wales’ College, Moratuwa. He had a special aptitude for languages in addition to his exceptional skills in mathematics and at the end of his school career had collected English, Sinhalese, Pali, Latin, French and an exemption from the Matriculation. [Later, at the Theological College, Bangalore, India, he added on Greek and Hebrew.]

For a short period he worked as English Assistant in a Methodist school. When he got-through the Clerical Examination he was able to get a government job in the Health Services Department quite easily.
It was while working here that he heard God’s call to a full Ministry. All were very happy and his mother was overjoyed. In a way his choice was not a surprise considering the atmosphere in which he was nurtured.
The Church sent him to Theological College, Bangalore, India for a 4-year Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) Course.

When he returned from Bangalore, he was sent as Chaplain to Wesley College, Colombo. After a short spell there, he was stationed in various Parishes that included Maradana, Badulla, Tangalle, Koralawella (Moratuwa), Thummodar-Nattandiya (NWP), Katana-Miriswatte, Kalutara, Badulla (2nd time), Matara and Moratumulla. He mostly cared for the lost sheep. He was with the youth too. Youth Camps, Wesley Guild and the Sunday School were very much close to his heart all the time. His loud Bass voice was helpful to train the church choir and his family choir as well, and at times even without any instrument. His highly disciplined life helped him to carry on the administrative work smoothly in spite of disagreements at times.

Besides parish work, he helped the church in various other areas too. As a member of the committee for the revision of the Sinhala Prayer Book and Hymn Book his contribution was immeasurable. His far reaching suggestions helped the committee to maintain the spirit and quality of the originals. Another important work he undertook was to safe-guard the church property, where he found it all in disarray. He got the Parishes to send an account of their property and also the deeds to Methodist Headquarters. He studied them all and knew all details, even the problems. Even after he retired from active service his help and advice in this regard was sought by Headquarters so much so that he served as Property Secretary for 10 years after his retirement until he reached the age of 80. He had the Methodist Church Constitution, Standing Orders, Wesley Guild constitution, etc; at his finger-tips. During this period he also functioned as a "Distant Minister" for Badulla Circuit visiting members in the hills once again mostly on his usual untiring foot even at that old age.

Sinhala culture

He developed a keen interest in the Sinhala culture towards the latter part of his Ministry. Sinhala and Hindu New Year was celebrated with a Sport Meet/Cricket match. An oriental wedding march and Sinhala lyrics were used at some weddings he solemnized. He even discarded his western clothes and found an oriental outfit. He received an unstinted support from his wife Bertha and their four children Janaki, Jayalal, Rohan and Kumudini who always rallied round all church activities of their father which was a way of life for them too. Although he was frequently transferred to distant circuits thus upsetting mainly his children’s education, he took it up well as usual with his keen sense of humour and was well rewarded end of the day. He was also blessed to share and enjoy the love and affection of an array of grand-children having baptized each of them himself.

In out-stations, teaching English free-of-charge, organizing vocational training for rural youth in Spinning/Sewing etc; were appreciated by the Christians and all others alike. Carols (Christmas as well as Easter), Nativity Plays and training Choirs to sing with all parts in perfect harmony were just a few specialities that he was identified with. He undertook his solitary visit abroad ever-since his joining the Ministry when he was nominated as Sri Lanka’s representative to the Methodist Conference in UK during his post-retirement period spent serving at Methodist Headquarters. Accompanied by his wife and coupled with a brief stop in Germany, he enjoyed this tour very much which also enabled him to witness the historic monuments of the late Rev. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

After a successful period in his last Parish i.e. Moratumulla he continued his services further shouldering additional responsibilities at Headquarters which also included heading the Committee that completed the compiling of Sinhala Christian Hymn Book — the very first of its kind that contained Music Notations in both Oriental and Western Styles. Added to his ability to read and play Western Music, the training he had received in Oriental Music during his youth under the maestros in the calibre of Sunil Shantha and Deva Surya Sena must have had a great influence on his work giving him total confidence to assist and guide the Committee to accomplish this huge task quite satisfactorily.

He also served as the Advisor to the Editorial of the Sinhala Methodist journal ‘Methodist Witness’. He finally ‘retired’ at the age of 80, especially at the insistence of his family members. and started living a quiet life with his family. Although after a serious operation for a duodenal ulcer in 1947 the doctors had pronounced only 2 more years of life ahead, - thank God- he lived a healthy active life and completed 87 years in March this year.

He was confined to his bed in the last few weeks, quiet and hardly knowing what was going on around him. We were all sad to find such an active person in this condition. All of us prayed hard asking God to grant him a mercy release. Thank God, he was relieved of this condition in the end and with a smile he gained his Eternal Rest on the 10th April 2003. We are sure he is "Safe in the Arms of Jesus".

A Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for his Life and Ministry was held today at the Methodist Church, Moratumulla at 7.45 a.m.
- Sisters & Family Members

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - B.J.Karunatilleke by Frank Samaraweera

Obituary 25th June 2003

He was known as J.B.W Karunatilleke at school

He lived a full life
B.J. Karunatileka
He is not here;
but faraway
The noise of life
begins again
And ghastly through
the drizzling rain
On the bald street,
breaks the blank day.

He was my faithful friend and after 50 years of association, Karu has passed on, leaving a void in my life. His eldest brother told me at the funeral that Karu had referred to me as his friend of a lifetime! I am happy to know that he thought of me that way, although he never told me so himself. We first got to know each other at the Wesley College hostel at the tender age of 14. During my university career at Peradeniya, we lost contact but resumed our friendship in the 1960s when I was employed as a management trainee at Levers and he was a medical rep for Organon Laboratories. Our friendship blossomed and grew because of a wide range of common interests. We both pursued marketing careers.

Photo: B. J. Karunatilleke

s3We actively participated in the affairs of the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing, the Wesley College Old Boys' Union and the Havelock Sports Club where we functioned as presidents in successive years, not having ever played rugby in our lives! We also shared a passion for English Literature. In the Wesley hostel, Karu was mainly remembered as a raconteur and throughout his life he retained this knack of story- telling. He liked to exaggerate and embellish his stories for greater effect and in his school days was given the sobriquet 'Puller' by our mutual friend, Clinton Rodrigo.

Hostel days were carefree but had some discomforting associations. Karu used to say that "acute hunger"' was his most enduring memory of hostel life! It was this sensation of hunger that once motivated him to team up with a group of pranksters led by the irrepressible Clinton and steal a big bunch of bananas from the Vice-Principal's compound. In his working life Karu proved that he was made of "sterner stuff". He rose from the modest position of medical representative to become the Managing Director of J.L. Morison, Son & Jones within a relatively short period of time. He had an incisive mind, the gift of the gab and a disarming nature, which were considerable assets in his career as a pharmaceutical manager. He befriended several medical specialists who eventually became close friends.

Photo: B. J. Karunatilleke

s3He loved to entertain friends in the early years of married life at his flat by the sea in Dehiwela. In more recent times, he entertained us mainly at the Capri where he was a very senior and respected member. Karu had many hobbies and interests. He probably had one of the best collections of postage stamps in Sri Lanka and would spend hours organizing and reorganizing it. He was also an acknowledged expert at solving cryptic crosswords. He used to win crossword puzzle prize money with monotonous regularity and was once even interviewed by a newspaper on this skill.

He lost his beloved wife, Cynthia, about 13 years ago. Immediately after her death he became a wreck but with time he was able to come to terms with his loss. Karu's greatest pride was his son, Nalin. Nalin and his wife, Tharanga, showered Karu with an abundance of care during his illness.

Karu retired from Morisons two years ago and immersed himself in humanitarian work. As a director of Helpage he was signing cheques from his sickbed only days before he died. I know that he lived a full and satisfying life but his death at the age of 66 was untimely. It would have been good to see him batting longer.

Addendum by Frank Samaraweera

My beloved wife Kamala passed away on May 6, 2003 and less than two months later, on June 25 my close friend of over 50 years, Karu died leaving me even more bereft and lonely. I first got to know B.J. Karunatileka (known by his older friends as Karu and by more recent acquaintances as BJ) in 1950 as a fellow hosteller in the Wesley College boarding when we were both around 14 years of age.

In 1955 I lost contact with him when I entered the University in Peradeniya and he took on employment as a medical rep at J.L. Morisons. We resumed our friendship in 1960 when I had passed out and began working at Lever Brothers as a management trainee. From that time until his demise in 2004 we were the closest of friends. We had our share of joys and sorrows. His wife Cynthia died after a long and traumatic battle with cancer in July 1992 leaving him a broken man. Unfortunately I was living abroad at the time of Cynthia's death and could not provide Karu comfort and consolation in his time of need. It took Karu several years to overcome his grief but he did eventually return to normalcy.

In the course of our association Karu and I also shared many happy experiences. One annual event that brought our families immense pleasure was the holiday we spent with our schoolmate and buddy Clinton Rodrigo and his charming wife Yvette. At that time Clinton was the monarch of all he surveyed from his spacious bungalow on North Meddekumbara estate in Watagoda. The comfort of Clinton's bungalow and Yvette's graciousness; good food and drink and the salubrious upcountry climate made those holidays wonderfully memorable. There were many other times of joy and laughter that we spent together which I now recall with nostalgia.

Karu's formal academic education was confined to GCE 'O' Levels but he educated himself very thoroughly in the university of life. He was well informed and well read and his general knowledge was only surpassed by that of his son Nalin who won every public general knowledge competition held in Sri Lanka, including the Dulux contest and the Mahaweli quiz! In fact the legendary Gamini Dissanayake is said to have admitted that Nalin knew a lot more facts about the Mahaweli Scheme than he did as the pioneering Mahaweli minister.

Karu in addition to his prodigious knowledge was also a good writer and an eloquent public speaker. Karu's competence is clearly demonstrated in the fact that he rose from the modest rank of medical rep to the position of Joint managing director of J.L. Morison Son & Jones.

Karu and I had many common interests. We served as committee members of the Havelock Sports Club for many years and as president in successive years. Those were the halcyon days of the Park Club when defeat at rugby was a rare occurrence! We were both also committed marketing professionals and though we worked in rival business organisations we did our best to promote the cause of marketing through our association with the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing.

We were loyal old Wesleyites and both served as vice presidents of the OBU. We both loved Western classical music and English literature. However, in temperament we were poles apart. I have always been a reserved person. Karu on the other hand was very much of an extrovert and in addition to Havelocks he was a prominent member of Bloomfield, Capri, and the Old Wesleyites Sports Club. He revelled in club life and camaraderie. In his school days he was affectionately referred to as 'Puller' because of his tall stories. Even as an adult, Karu was a raconteur with a zest for relating yarns with more than a measure of exaggeration. Karu once told me that he was a late developer and didn't start talking till he was five years old! He made up for this lapse because he rarely stopped talking in later life!

Karu had a very generous disposition. He spent a great deal of his time and money on charitable causes. During the latter part of his life he was actively involved in Helpage and despite failing health made regular visits to the Helpage office and assisted director. Wijewantha with numerous administrative and operational tasks in a totally honorary capacity. Above all, Karu was a wonderful friend and a truly upright human being. He belonged to a rapidly disappearing breed of gentlemen with old school values. In the memorable words of the 14th century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer - "He was a verray, parfit gentil knight."

Links to further reading

B. J. Karunatilleke by M.S. Tissera

Photo: B. J. Karunatilleke

s3It is with deep regret and sorrow in my heart that I pen these few lines for my friend B. J. Karunatilleke who expired on June 25 and was cremated on the 25th instant at Borella, Kanatta.I have known B. J., for the past five years when I got involved in solving crosswords. First it was a friend, Hyacinth Perera who helped me but unfortunately she met with a tragic fatal accident and later I turned to B. J. for help. I had seen his name appearing in the prize list very often and when I called him he was ever ready to help me with the crosswords. Whenever there were questions from the old newspapers I was able to help him as I had a collection of about three months. B. J. was a very intelligent and efficient person and held very important positions.

Photo: B. J. Karunatilleke

s3About two years ago we visited him at hospital when he was sick and he was dictating letters to his secretary over the phone in the capacity as General Manager to J. L. Morrisons. B.J. would oblige anybody who inquired about the solutions to crosswords. He was not interested in the prizes but was only interested in solving the crosswords. He taught me how to do cryptic crosswords. Our friendship became a family affair and I visited him at his residence with my husband and he spoke to us a great deal about his young days and about his late wife and family. After retiring from J. L. Morrisons, he was attached to Helpage and worked voluntarily. With our heartfelt appreciation for your invaluable service to the country, we bid you farewell till we meet again on that beautiful shore.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Patrick Gnanamuttu - By Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Patrick Gnanamuttu (Hewlett-Packard, Geneva) Son of the late Percy and Sheila, brother of Sarojini, Christine, Raj and Sushila (all of Australia), brother-in-law of Melony and Leroy Jansz. Cremation on 14th October in Geneva. 22/105 Athol Road, Springvale South 3172, Australia.

 Obituary 14th October 2003 - Age 47

s3I came to know Patrick via the internet relatively recently. What struck me most was his intense love for Wesley. He wrote to me occasionally about the website - an email of encouragement just to tell me how well it is doing. I appreciate this very much when it is yet another job to do in addition to my work. He most kindly sent me some photographs of his recent visit to Wesley and the OWSC which are now in the Photo Gallery of this website. I was deeply saddened to hear of his sudden demise and wish I had the good fortune to meet him in person. On behalf of the Worldwide brotherhood of Wesleyites I send my condolences to his family now living in Australia. A life sadly cut short in its prime at the young age of 47. His enthusiasm for Wesley is a beacon for us all.

Photo - Yohan Raju, Mr.A Suppiah, MAP Fernando, Patrick Gnanamuttu and Brian Azoor at the luxurious OWSC bar and dining rooms during happier times

s3

A tribute to Patrick from his work Colleagues at Digital EHQ Geneva, Switzerland

As you may or may not know, our friend Patrick Gnanamuttu has passed away during the early hours of Saturday 11th of October 2003, after having admitted to the hospital following an acute cardiac failure.

Patrick Gnanamuttu grew up in Sri Lanka. He went to school at Wesley College which was 3rd generation for his family. It was an English speaking school with proud traditions and it was the combination of his close family and school that gave Pat his basic qualities of honesty, integrity and a sense of fair-play that served him throughout his life. It was to his credit that despite some early health problems, he went on to be captain of the school rugby team.

Patrick came to Geneva over 20 years ago. He had a quite a hard time when he first arrived - he spoke about it from time to time – usually in the early hours of the morning - he took on all sorts of jobs including working in bars & at a launderette just to earn a living – He deserves enormous respect for the way he coped and started to build his life here.

He was given a chance to work in Digital – he seized this opportunity with both hands, worked hard, gained respect, ended up responsible for IT operations in Digital EHQ and Switzerland. When Digital’s internal auditors came and saw how automated & smoothly it was running he was sent to do workshops in the US to show them how to do it. Patrick was very proud to work in Digital and that’s because he knew he was well respected and had a lot of friends there many of whom were able to attend the funeral.

To cap his integration in to Switzerland, a few years ago, Pat actually became a Swiss citizen – although he never actually learnt how to make a fondue – he was tremendously proud of his new passport – he was officially accepted here and that was very important to him. But saying that if Switzerland were to ever play Sri Lanka at cricket, he would never have supported the Swiss team. He was still a Sri Lankan at heart.

Patrick had many qualities – some hidden – you may not know that he was a great cook as anyone who has had the honour of tasting the chicken curry with dahl – papadoms and hot onion sauce will know. The one thing that will stand in our memory is the natural and easy way he could make contact with people both young and old, professional and social always with a smile and a joke.

Through his life he had his set backs but always had a positive attitude to life and was never down for long. He spent the last year studying at University of Geneva for a Masters in Security Management & only found out last month that he had passed the final exam and was preparing for another professional exam at the end of this month. Finally, we all know that Patrick was too young to die – that it’s cruel and unfair, he had lots to live for and was making some concrete plans for the future with his girlfriend Diane. What we know is that if Patrick could have, he would have chosen to leave us like this – no suffering, no fuss and enjoying a drink in his favorite bar. As Pat would have said – “Bob’s the word!!”

We can’t know why he has gone, but we can keep precious the good memories we have of him and take a little of his cheerful personality with us as we carry on our lives without him.

The world may change from year to year,
And friends from day to day,
But sweet memories of friendship
Will never fade away.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Dr Daya Perera By Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Obituary - 5th November 2003 - Age 60

w3It was with deep sadness I received the news of the demise of Dr. Daya Perera on the 4th of November 2003.

I met Daya one Saturday morning in November 1949 at the Entrance test to Std 2 at Wesley College Colombo. He came up and spoke to me and there started a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Quite early on in our careers he showed his leadership qualities. He was always there to ‘bell the cat’ if ever we needed someone. On numerous occasions he carried the torch and stood up for the students in class and sometimes owned up to save others. His many friends were regular visitors to Daya’s parents home in Gunasekera Lane, next door to All Saints School and later on at Kuruppu Road Borella. His parents always welcomed us. We have spent many hours listening to Jazz and the velvet voice of Nat King Cole from his reel to reel tape with lots of biscuits and Lanka Lime. He made good imitation of the gravel voice of Louis Armstrong. Those were happy carefree days of our youth.

The sea and ships fascinated him. Daya was a Sea Scout like his father and brother and was deeply committed to its procedures and protocols. I believe its hierarchy, rituals and regimentation fashioned his life and it was there he developed his life long love for the sea. He was always self confident and forthright. What struck me most about Daya was his unusual mix of intelligence, courage and humility. He always had time for the less fortunate and the less able and a desire to treat everyone fairly and with dignity. He was generous with his affection, encouragement, and kindness, giving freely of his time. He was strong in his convictions and self-assured yet docile and gentle in his interactions. This self-effacing modesty, combined with an utterly unstuffy attitude to fellow students in particular and life in general was one of Daya ’s trademarks.

At school he showed the qualities of determination and leadership that were to distinguish his later life. He was at the top of the class and often carried away many of the coveted prizes. Daya was an extrovert and had friends galore, belonging to both sexes. He came to his own in the 6th form when he became the captain of the school 1st XV Rugby team. He was then the Senior Prefect at Wesley. His warmth and approachability made him a hero and role model to his juniors. His wise counsel was always sought. His approach to each endeavour was wholehearted, constructive, and most of all, selfless. I remember well his efforts to stop students from smoking. During his tenure as" Head Cop" Daya created a united Prefects Guild which was respected by the staff and students alike. We truly appreciate what a difference being with him has meant for us. Those were memorable times spoilt only by the loss of his brother Shanthie in an air accident in England in 1961.

Daya was a charismatic and friendly soul who frequently inspired adulation in those he encountered. Although he had numerous friends at Wesley he had a core group of loyal mates who were with him always, even to the very end. They were Sarath Wickramaratne, Rohan Wijesinghe, Mervyn Fernando, Lakshman Jayasinghe and P. S.Rodrigo - who were inseparable.

We were then at the Ceylon Medical College together where he enhanced his reputation as an honest and loyal friend and also a successful academic. It was yet another triumphant chapter in his life.He breezed through the tough examinations without difficulty obtaining his degree in June 1968. Thereafter he practiced as a Resident Medical Officer at Central Hospital Colombo for a couple of years until he moved to Los Angeles California where he qualified in Anaethesiology. He is most appreciated and fondly remembered for the helping hand he offered to so many during his exciting and productive career. He created opportunities for others and encouraged those willing to take the step up.

w2

Daya and the author in Los Angeles, California - August 1994

In August 1994 I went on a holiday with my family to San Diego, California and phoned him to say 'hello'. He insisted on making the 150 mile trip to see us that same day. Daya took us back to his home in La Canada, California built on a hill over looking a gorgeous valley. Daya with his wife Swarna arranged a party to our mutual friends at very short notice. He was a gracious host of social functions. There was good food, good music, and a lot of laughter. That was a most memorable evening. They made a special effort to take my two sons to the Rose Bowl at LA where they held the 1994 World Cup Soccer. We walked the length of the famous Venice Beach at Los Angeles listening to his erudite descriptions of the eccentricities of that weird and wonderful stretch of land. I remember to this day his narrative of the destructive Santa Ana wind which the Californians dread so much. His friendship, wise counsel, and talent for organization will be sorely missed by those of us who depended on them.

It was a pity he was half way round the world away from me but we kept in touch with an occasional call or an email. Some years back I was deeply shocked to hear of his battle with coronary artery disease as he was always calm in a crisis situation, never smoked and did not require alcohol to be the live wire of any social event. Despite these setbacks Daya continued to lead an active life travelling, scuba diving and snorkelling all over the world close to his beloved sea. The lure of the sea never left him. Daya often met up with his pals from school in Sri Lanka and abroad. He was a regular visitor to Wesley and the OBU functions. Daya was a generous benefactor to the school and in particular supported the Rugby up at Wesley. He is largely responsible for the surge in that sport in his old school.

It was ironic that I heard about his demise while on holiday in Sri Lanka and visiting Wesley, the very same premises where I first met him all those years ago. He has died whilst on holiday in the Far East doing what he liked best, swimming and snorkelling. That turned out to be his last sight of his beloved sea. His body was cremated in Hong Kong and the ashes spread in the Pacific Ocean, according to his wish. Personally I have lost a sincere and valued friend. It was a privilege to have known him. His smiling face and cheerful demeanour will be missed by us all. Many friends will mourn the loss of a good man.

We remember with affection his vast repertoire of jokes, his candour and his zest for life. Those of us who were fortunate to know him remember his fun and commitment to his chosen field and his unwavering loyalty to his school and friends. We admire his example, miss his company, mourn his departure, and are richer for the lessons of his life. He remains one of the great student icons of my time at Wesley.

On behalf of the worldwide brotherhood of Wesleyites I send our sympathies to his wife Swarna, daughter Shanika and his sister Pathmini. From the exemplary life he lead he must be closer to the ultimate goal of perfect peace.

May he attain the ultimate bliss of Nirvana.

Thoughts go back to happy days
When we were all together,
The family chain is broken now,
But those memories will live forever.

From Trevor Collette President of OBU Australia

Dr. Daya Perera or Daya as he was known to us, who were with him at Wesley at the same time, is one of the schoolmates who made an indelible impression on all those who knew him. Daya was a year senior to me in school and captained the 1st XV Rugby team and was Senior Prefect when in
the sixth form. I was a second year player in that team and a newly appointed prefect, however we “juniors” were treated as equals by Daya who was a born leader and inspiration to us all. I still remember the
encouragement and kindness with which he treated us. A captain who taught you to lose with dignity and win graciously, this was Daya.
He was a thorough gentleman and represented one of the finest and best products of Wesley.
May he Rest in Peace.
Trevor Collette

From Rohan Wijesinghe - Toronto, Canada

Daya's death was an absolute shock to me. I think he had some premonition because he phoned me a couple of weeks before asking me for photographs of myself and family. In fact I received some photos of him and his family a few days before he died. He had a snowball head like his dad, and I am bald more than my father was! The last time I saw him was in Sri Lanka around 1977. He was looking great then.

Swarna returned my many phone messages when she finally returned to LA. It was good to be able to speak with her and have more details. I continue to keep in touch with her.

Although it was for a few brief years At Wesley College that I shared school days with Daya, we became the closest of friends. My first memory of him goes back to Standard 5 when my father died. Daya was at the cemetery with T.W.de Silva. I could not miss the look of sympathy and sorrow on his face when he saw my tears and pain. That was when our friendship was formed. In Form 2, I had had a disagreement with him and we were not talking to each other. Then it was his birthday, and the next day he brought me a large peice of his birthday cake. So he took the initiative to restore our friendship.

Then I remember the day we both became Sub-prefects. As you know we usually spent our breaks in the lab. Now that very day Kodituwakku (Head Prefect) asked us to be at the back gate at the end of the lunch interval. The bell rang and all the students who were playing the the small park came back and to their classes and suddenly we found the back gate completely deserted. Then Daya suggested that we celebrate and go for a show. I, being of less daring stuff would not think of it. But he teased me and asked me not to be a spoilt sport. So we tossed and he won. So we decided to cut school, and go for a show. First we had to pass the Principal's house, but Mr. Nonis was walking up and down the verandah reading the news paper. So, we waited until he went into the house. Then we saw LAFA out in the garden carrying his little daughter showing he some flowers in the trees. So we pasted ourselves against the hedge until he went into his house and then we bolted down Karlshrue Gardens road to Campbell Park and from there came out to Baseline Road near the Children's hospital. As we got on to Baseline Road, a car suddenly screeched to a halt and the driver looked at us and waved his finger so as to say "I caught you!" It was Dabrera, our class teacher. Both of us felt we had been run over by a truck! We lost our appetite for a movie and we went home. The next day we went back to school to face the music and certain disgrace of our sub prefectship being removed from us. When Dabbi was marking the register, he called both of us to his table. Then he said, "I suppose you were trying to celebrate yesterday. Good thing for you, Daya, you are in my rugger team. So I marked both of you present!" Oh, were we not relieved!!

Then taking down names at the gates to catch late comers was also quite an adventure. I was diligently writing down names of the late comers, while Daya was secretly winking at all the sisters in the cars of those who were coming late. We were quite an odd couple. I, with me Baptist upbringing was not one for fun like that, but bent on doing my duties, while Daya in addition was finding way of having so much fun.

Then there was that time he took a fancy to a particular girl in his neighbourhood. I was his support person many times when he would clandestinely meet her close to her home. Then there were those times when he would get her younger brothers (They were very small) to the lab and bribe them with candy and tell them to tell her sister that "Daya loves her," with strict instructions, "but do not tell anything if your mother is around." So the little tykes were at table having their tea when the sister arrives from school. They blared out, "Sis, Daya asked us to tell you something, but since mother is here we will tell you later!"

Then I remember when we had to go to the Medical College to write our Medical Entrance Test, or something like that. Lucky, who was in the habit of shooting out his mouth too much said something that was not complimentary to Soysa, who was a first year medico, and who had come to tease us. After all he wanted to show off before his fellow medicos. When we had finished writing a certain test, Soysa had gathered a whole lot of fellow Medicos and was waiting to take Lucky away to most probably give him a right royal rag. We were all stunned when Soysa singled out Lucky. Then Daya stepped forward and spoke to Soysa, with words to the effect, "Soysa, we are all Wesleyites and if you cannot keep that code, and if you do anything to Lucky, I will make sure that you will never be able to return to Wesley for anything." There was a deafening silence and Soysa wilted and hesitated. Then his own followers challenged Soysa to make up his mind. Soysa backed down and was deserted by his fellow medicos. That was the defining moment of my admiration for Daya. He was truly a leader. I felt proud to be his friend.

I abandoned my ideas of doing medical related studies and felt called to be a Christian minister. Daya continued to pursue his medical studies. Prior to being sent out for training to India, I was asked to be a hostel master at Carey College, which is adjoining the medical College. Daya had visited me there. I was once teaching a grade 6 class when suddenly Daya came to my class and he looked terrible, shaken, no, totally devastated. I had never seen him so distraught. He was in tears whe he told me, :Machan, Shanthi bugger has crashed." Shanthi was his elder brother whom he hero worshipped. I knew that Shanthi was tipped to get the sword of honour when he was to have graduated in a few day's time. So, I immediately spoke to the Principal and took leave and went over to Daya's house and vitrually spent the following days there. In fact I had been to his place the day before when his mother read out a letter from Shanthi which stated that he had a night solo jet flight and he was scared because there was sudden fog in and around London. She commented, "Just look at that, I though Shanthi Puta did not know the meaning of the word 'frightened'". Then, Sirimao Bandaranaike as Prime Minister arranged for Daya's mother to fly out to London. Then came the sad news that shortly after she had spoken with Shanthi, he died. Then there was the state funeral for Shanthi, and the honour guard was led by his friend Terrance Gunatilleke. Shortly before the cremation, I was one in emotion with Daya, as the Ceylon Flag and cap and sword was ceremonially handed over to the family. In spirit, I was empathetically one with Daya's soul as he was with mine many years before, when my father was buried.

After I came over to Canada, Daya would not miss phoning me on my birthday every year. He began with one ritual. "Happy birthday Machan. You were good in your sports and studies, you were a Prefect of the college; you had the whole world at your feet, and out of all the bloody things you could have done you had to go and become a bloody priest!" May be he really meant it because he seems never to forgive me for that! We would laugh. But our friendship was never any less by distance or the many years that went by.

I was honoured, blessed and fortunate to have had Daya as my best friend. I respect and honour his memory. Due to many reasons, I was not able to attend any Wesley functions, nor keep in touch with Wesleyites. But Daya did, and he never failed to keep me updated as often as he could. I often sigh, and weep within myself, "O Daya, do not be too far from me." And I know he is not!


In Memoriam - Haleem Ishak

 Obituary 25th September 2003 Aged 64

A Tribute by Dr. M. Uvais Ahamed

He was an old boy of Wesley College and a former President of the Old Boys Union.
The great reformist and architect of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in a statement made shortly before his death in 1938 said, "Any human being who believes that the destinies of other human beings depend wholly upon him personally is a petty man, failing to grasp the most elementary facts. Every man is destined to perish physically. The only way to stay happy while we live is to work not for ourselves, but for those to come".

Haleem Ishak, whose death brought sadness to all those who knew him epitomized the sentiments expressed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Altruism was the driving force behind all his actions and he had the welfare of his fellow-beings at heart all the time.
When my son broke the news to me on September 24 that Haleem Ishak had died, I was saddened deeply, for it was only a few days earlier that I received a letter of appreciation from him for the work I am doing as Principal of Zahira College. "I am aware of your past as a Principal and I hope your experience will be used for the benefit of the students of Zahira, and I wish you all success."

He died the way he lived without rancour towards anybody, with peace within himself and wishing and praying for the wellbeing of others. With the death of Mr. Ishak, the country in general and the Muslim community in particular have lost a man in a million, whose greatest attribute was caring for others. As a community leader, politician and elder statesman he left an indelible mark on the affairs of his community and country. His death has left a void which is hard to fill. The large number of people who thronged the Kuppiyawatte burial ground spoke volumes of the love and affection in which Mr. Ishak was held.

Mr. Ishak who came from a family with strong links to social service, followed the footsteps of his father, N.M.M. Ishak. He entered politics by being elected as a member of the Colombo Municipal Council. He was always accessible even to the poorest of the poor and made use of that position to work and toil for the well being of the down-trodden.

He graduated into national politics and was elected as one of the very few members of the opposition in 1977, when the UNP won a landslide victory at the general elections. His contributions to parliamentary debates were informed, eloquent and down to earth.

I am personally aware of the painstaking manner in which he did his homework before a debate. On numerous occasions when he had to speak on educational topics, he would call me and ask questions pertaining to the educational problems facing the country and the manner in which they are addressed in the international arena, especially with the intervention of organizations like UNESCO and UNICEF.

He was an eloquent speaker in Sinhala. Whether on the political stage or in person to person communication with his constituents, he always exuded a sense of honesty and sincerity which had a lasting impact.

I have often heard him saying that as a representative of the people, a sacred trust has been placed upon him and it was his duty to live up to that trust. He will be remembered by the people who elected him both to the Municipal Council and Parliament.

Mr. Ishak was an old boy of Wesley College, Colombo and had the distinction of being elected President of the Old Boys’ Union. He worked hard to marshal the resources and capabilities of old boys to make tangible contributions to their alma mater. Whatever the task he undertook in that capacity, he performed it with diligence, dedication and single-minded steadfastness.

As a person concerned with the welfare of Muslims in Colombo, he paid considerable attention to the improvement of educational standards in government Muslim schools and did whatever possible to provide them with much needed infrastructure. Although he did not achieve great heights in the field of education, he was convinced that the future of the Muslims depended on education. It was that conviction that made him pay special attention to schools in his constituency.

He was also concerned about Zahira College, Colombo, the oldest and leading Muslim education institution in the country. Inspite of his onerous responsibilities he agreed to serve as a member of the Board of Governors of Zahira College. He made this an opportunity to serve and provide useful suggestions to the college authorities to enable them to improve the educational standards of the poor children attending the institution.
His life was so gentle, and the Elements so mixed in him, that Nature would stand up and say to all the world
This was a man.

Addendum

Senior SLFPer and former Colombo District Parliamentarian Haleem Ishak died yesterday at a private hospital. He was 64 at the time of death.
He was one of the few SLFPers elected during the UNP landslide of 1977, from the Colombo Central multi-member constituency. Thereafter in 1989 he was appointed as Nationalist List MP by the party at the first General Election held under the PR system. Mr. Ishak later joined the UNP just before the 1994 General Election. Haleem Ishak started his political career as member of the Colombo Municipal Council. He contested the General Elections of 1965 and 1970 without success. He was also the Vice President of the Islamic Socialist Front. Janaza took place at the Kuppiyawatte Cemetery yesterday.

A leader to all he empathized with and served the poor

Mohamed Haleem Ishak by A.H.G. Ameen

From the Times of SL 9th October 2011

He was an old boy of Wesley College and a former President of the Old Boys Union

September 24 marked the eighth death anniversary of a respected leader of the Muslim community who served his people and the country for over half a century.

He was a gentleman in politics loved by all, serving mainly the poor and the oppressed, a respected municipal councillor and parliamentarian. The kind of politics he was engaged in should be a lesson to politicians of today.

Like the respected Sir Razik Fareed he worked without racial, religious and communal differences promoting his famous slogan, “Sinhala-Yonaka Ekamuthukama” , the Sinhala – Moor Unity in Sri Lanka.

He was the grand-son of the philanthropist the late A.M. Nagoor Meera whose sons were the late N.M. M. Ishak ( 1901 – 1965 ) and late N.M.M. Haniffa ( 1893 – 1949 ), the father of M.H.Mohamed.

He was born on December 9, 1929 at N.M.M.Ishak Mawatha, named after his father for his services. The Ketawalamulla Lane, the road adjoining this was named recently after him as “M. Haleem Ishak Mawatha” for his services to the community.

Haleem Ishak joined the SLFP in 1955 and became its vice president. He successfully contested the Maradana Municipal Ward in the CMC and represented the Kuppiawatta- East Ward. He was not only popular among the Muslims of Sri Lanka but also the Buddhists.

Kuppiawatta - East Ward consists of a population of 80 % Buddhists and the largest number of temples in the City of Colombo is found in this Ward.

His honesty, and simplicity were well known and his gentleman politics was emulated by others. In July 1977 the Sri Lanka Freedom Party was routed badly but Haleem Ishak was elected to Parliament to the Colombo Central Constituency as the third member. He was a parliamentarian for nearly two decades.

The SLFP government that was in power before his death offered him a diplomatic post which he declined, saying he wanted to remain in the country and serve the poor until his death.


In Memoriam - A.C.Wijetilleke by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Obituary 29/2/04

Cecil WIJETILAKE. Beloved husband of Susila Marasinghe, loving father of Chandrika and Himali, father-in-law of Chaminda and Anura, brother of Ananda Gunatilake, expired. Cortege leaves residence on Saturday 14th at 3 p.m. for Cremation at Borella Kanatta at 5 p.m. 630/A, Rankumbura Watta, Galkanda, Minuwangoda. -Daily News<

It is with deep sadness that I read the obituary of ACW. He was in the hostel for many years until he left school. My earliest recollection of him is at soft ball cricket in the small park where he specialised in "along the ground" bowling which bought him a bag full of wickets in the ever popular and competitive house matches. He was no slouch with the bat. We will not see those dashing cover drives ever again or the lofty sixes over the tall "Andara" hedge into the Nalanda grounds. He was a wizard at table tennis and gave us a hard time in the tournaments. Cecil was a well known figure in the school at large and became the Senior Prefect in 1961. In the following year he won the Lydia Senaratne award for the most outstanding Hosteller and also the Highfield award for the best all rounder in the school.

After a fine school career in 1963 Cecil entered the Arts Faculty at Peradeniya. Here sadly Cecil could not complete his degree due to problems in his personal life. In spite of the brightness of his glittering school career, Cecil's personal life was plagued by darkness and despair. Subsequently he obtained his degree from the Kelaniya University. Memories of these sad events followed and troubled him to the very end. When I look back into the life and times of the many Wesleyites who took part in my life’s drama. I see the awesome force of destiny that fashioned and moulded their lives.

I last saw him in Nugegoda in 1962 when he was happy and at his best. To this day I recall his smiling face wishing me goodbye. ACW wanted to be a politician and he would have made a good one, but sadly destiny had other plans. Cecil was a small man with a big heart. He will always be remembered for his loyalty to his school and his kind and caring ways. I just cannot believe I will not see him again although it is 50 years since that last goodbye!!

May he attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam - R.Ratnavale by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Passed away July 2003

RAM RATNAVALE (Hony) Secretary ­ Mercantile Services Basketball Association), ex­Elephant House. Husband of Rukmani, father of Sharmila (Canada), Premila (Canada) and Prabakaran (HNB), father­in­law of Vasantha, Ruben, Ellivanan (Canada), expired. Cortege leaves Mahinda Funeral Parlour (Mt.Lavinia) at 4.30 p.m. on Wednesday 16th for Cremation at Galkissa Cemetery.

My thanks to Sarath Wickramaratne for providing me with the information and the inspiration to write this tribute

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

s5Ram Ratnavale was a popular student in the boarding at Wesley College.“Velu” as he was affectionately called joined the school and the boarding in 1954 with his brother Anandakrishnan. They were devout Hindus. For his age Velu was bigger and broader than the rest of us and with his natural flare for sports soon became an indispensable member of the Athletics Basketball and Football teams at every level. He went on to play for the 1st XI soccer team and was in the Athletics team in his final years at Wesley. My first recollections are of football in the Small Park when he like an express train darted from one end of the pitch to the other smashing the ball into the goal. He was a well loved eccentric. He took life easy and was a great smiler. The academic work merely came in the way of his fun outdoors. He left school in 1962 and sadly thereafter our paths never crossed.

He worked for Elephant House in Slave Island for for his entire career becoming its Production Manager. He continued with his love for sports becoming the Vice President of the Basketball Federation of Sri Lanka. It was with much sadness I received the news of his death in February 2003. He was much loved and remained a valued friend both at Wesley and the world at large. His cheeky grin and infectious laugh are precious memories for us all.

Sarath Wickramaratne remained good friends with him until the very end.

The Mercantile Basketball Association Championship is now played for the Ram Ratnavale Challenge Trophy a just tribute to a fine sportsman and for his contribution to Basketball in Sri Lanka.

From Brawin Fernando, the incumbent President of the Mercantile Services Basketball Association.

The Mercantile Services Basketball Association was formed by some basketball enthusiasts in 1977. Ram Ratnavale who became the secretary of the Association held that position until he died in 2003. The MSBA knockout basketball tournament is played for Ram Ratnavale Challenge Trophy to honour the service rendered to the association by him.

The need of an association for basketball in the mercantile sector arose since there was no other association to nurture the talents of that sector those days. MSBA had been affiliated to the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation from its inception.

MAY HE FIND ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Cedric James Oorloff B.A (Lond)

Mr CJ Oorloff's first day at Wesley College

From the Times of Ceylon

Mr. C. J. OORLOFF, the new principal of Wesley College, Colombo, who assumed duties this morning, addresses the Special Assembly. On the extreme right is the Rev. G. B. Jackson, and next to him is Mr. Kenneth de Lanerolle, acting principal. Mr. Oorloff said: "I pledge myself to honour the magnificent traditions of Wesley and shall endeavour to build on those foundations. The torch of enlightenment, kindled by the founders and kept alive by their successors— that flame shall be kept burning". Both Mr. de Lanerolle and Mr. Jackson, chairman of the South Methodist Synod, paid a tribute to Mr. Oorloff’s abilities.— (Times).

A Tribute to a legendary Principal By Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

q6Cedric James Oorloff was a Classics scholar and belonged to the elite brigade of Civil Servants of the British Raj. His final assignment in the CCS was Controller of Immigration and Emigration. After Independence he decided to move into a hitherto un-chartered field of education and became Wesley College's first Ceylonese Principal. It must have seemed an audacious move at the time. He arrived at Wesley with his good looks, dapper cream coloured suits, distinguished hair parted on the side and charming manners. With his immaculate English and British Upper Class aristocratic diction Cedric Oorloff could have easily been mistaken for an Englishman. He was noted for his meticulous timekeeping and attention to matters of style, dress and habits. He brought with him the British stiff upper lip, aloofness and strict discipline which attracted many critics. He set the highest standards for himself and others. With Mr Oorloffs unswerving sense of fair play, sound judgment, sense of humour and understated turn of phrase, he inspired many devoted admirers. He was at the height of his powers at a time when Education was a weighty political and social issue in post-Colonial Ceylon.

Nobody who met Cedric Oorloff could easily forget him. Tall and white skinned he cut a striking figure on the teaching arena at Wesley. His intellect was as imposing as his stature. He could be sweepingly dismissive of views of which he disapproved. CJ Oorloff spoke his mind so liberally and without fear of controversy. But the quality of his thinking, like the clarity of his prose, was outstanding.

Photo: Principal's Bungalow

Austere and 'regal', there was always a wide gulf between the boys and the Principal. Corporal punishment was then in vogue and his tantrums were avoided like the plague. Being an intellectual he didn't suffer fools gladly. Along with his foresight went a zero-tolerance of mediocrity. Despite this we cannot falter his commitment to Wesley and to education. It must be said the discipline in the school was then at its best. While his intellect and apparently sardonic style could make him seem intimidating, CJ Oorloff was a tough but compassionate educationist of the old tradition.

The new political environment, and new laws diluted the power of the Independent Schools run by the Church. Political ructions dominated his whole career and much of his professional life. On looking back his shrewd political awareness was a Godsend to Wesley during those turbulent times of the 1950's when policies on education were made on the hoof by politicians pandering to the rising tide of ultra-nationalism. His job required tact, discretion, tough-mindedness and a healthy dose of common sense — qualities that this former Civil Servant had in abundance.

The Oorloffs at Wesley

With his arrival we saw the dawn of a new era at Wesley. The institution was transformed into an organisation committed to delivering a high quality education. We continued to receive State Grants while maintaining our independence. He found little to admire about politics and politicians. His approach to them was sceptical, even cynical but diplomatic for the greater good of the school. His long association with succesive Governments as a Civil Servant helped him and the school enormously.

CJO showed a keen interest in his staff. He drew deeply on the wide array of talents of the teachers for improvements in teaching, maintaining discipline and high standards of extra-curricular activities. His instructions were lucid and penetrating exploiting the rich resources of students and staff. There was no place in his school for small-minded troublemakers and zealots. He was inspired not by new-fangled and fancy theories but by a wish to do whatever he could to deliver a high-quality Education and he was meticulous. He achieved his objectives in grand style.

Photo: of CJO with his parents, James and Nellie

Photo: Austin Devon A40 - Just like the car owned by CJO we saw parked in his porch. We saw it day after day from the biology and chemistry labs upstairs

We couldn't have had a better forthright Principal during this crucial time. Academic standards improved in leaps and bounds. During his tenure we had some of the best years in the field of sports. I saw his lighter side (literally and metaphorically) when I was a ball boy at the staff tennis court. CJO laughed the loudest during the games, on and off the court. He grunted like a modern day tennis players as he served, just as he did when he swung the cane!! With his trademark look of wry bemusement and a stern schoolmasterly gaze he questioned those about to receive his punishment. But behind the somewhat forbidding exterior was a wicked sense of humour, a high intelligence and a deep loyalty to the profession. He was always courteous and polite whatever the situation and we saw his kindness only when outside the school premises. CJ Oorloff was a thoughtful man who often held strong opinions. He was forever optimistic of a better future for Wesley College.

I recall with much nostalgia his entry onto the stage which he did with incomparable grace, every morning at assembly. He wore his black robe and cap. "Good Morning boys" and we chanted "Good Morning Sir" And he said "Be seated". On Fridays he read out the "Detention for tomorrow" This well rehearsed drill we repeated day after day until he left school. When I see his photo his voice still echoes in my head. His awesome performance on stage must haunt every student who saw his regal presence.

He ran a tight ship and steered the school through difficult storms into calmer waters. CJO was an astute educationist and saw troubled times ahead for the Government assisted schools. He preferred to move to a school independent of the inconsequential and whimsical manouvres of politicians . He left in 1957 after 7 years at Wesley to become the Principal of his old school, Trinity College. Our loss was their gain. There he was much loved and respected despite his firm authoritarian style. I am reliably informed by an old Wesleyite who taught at Trinity College briefly, Ranjit Alwis, that CJO had mellowed a great deal. Trinity is a school with long traditions and processes and Mr Oorloff replaced a much loved Principal in Mr Norman S Walter. This was a difficult act to follow. There were times when Mr Oorloff's sure touch seemed to desert him. Perhaps he lacked the total and unhindered support as at Wesley College. Nevertheless his achievements at Trinity speaks volumes of his successful tenure as Principal.

He was the complete professional the likes of whom we may never see again. Whoever is Principal of Wesley College there are moments in my mind's eye when as long as I live I shall only see CJ Oorloff on that special chair on stage. Like Rev Henry Highfield and Rev James Cartman he will remain a legend at the Karlsruhe village in the years to come.

CJ Oorloff's illustrious career as an educationist ended with his retirement in 1968. All through his career he was loved, admired and feared. He was celebrated enough to earn a place alongside the great Principals in the Educationists hall of fame. His distillation of wisdom and good practice as Principal will remain a benchmark for others to follow. He passed away at the age of 80 in August 1986.

A Man of Grit, Industry and Honour by Ivor De Silva

Wesley needed such a man and found him.

Mr. Oorloff brought to Wesley the rich culture of a classical education and the best that the Civil Sercive could give to a man hard work and efficient administration. At the time he was appointed Principal of Wesley, Education in the island was in a fluid state, or rather In virtual chaos. Mr. Oorloff's experience in the Governmenl Service gave him the necessary training to define and clarify obsoure education codes and circulars. A Principal who had no knowledge of Government Service technique and jargon found the administration of a school! no easy task. But to Mr. Oorloff all this was familiar ground He had the equipment and the inside knowledge of how to deal With Government red-tape. His experience was invaluable at the time our schools decided to join the Free Scheme.

Photo: Mr and Mrs Oorloff with Mr.Ivor De Silva taken at Horton Cottage, Kandy where the Oorloffs lived in their retirement.

When Mr. Oorloff joined the teaching profession he had little experience of educational matters but he leaves us having contributed a great deal to the cause of education. He has been a driving force at the Headmasters Conference. A man whose opinion was respected, wanted and heard. Mr. Oorloff has an unbelievable capacity for work. A few years ago when three or four senior members of the staff had gone on study leave abroad, at various times it was he who did the bulk Of their work. In the last two years in addition to his work as Principal of Wesley with over one thousand one hundred boys on the roll he was asked to take over the management of the Colombo Industrial School. At the farewell assembly a senior member of the Staff summed up Mr. Oorloff's working power in two things he said. 'The first that he had worked under five Principals or more but he could not remember a man who worked so hard for the school. The second that when he worked on the Time Table he normally took two Weeks over it but when Mr. Oorloff prepared the Time Table he spent only 4 days'. Mr. Oorloff worked on the average 10-12 hours, often 14-15 hours a day and he expected his staff too to work as hard. There is no aspect of school work that does not pass through his hands at some point or other. Some have said that he spends his time unnecessarily over trivial matters, which could be entrusted to others but I believe it is because he does not wish anything he is responsible for to go amiss and more so in these days of rapidly falling standards.

Mr. Oorloff is a stolid Christian, and a stolid Christian is what a leading Christian institution needs. His presence and deep faith has enriched the spiritual life of the school. He has continued to uphold Christian values in every aspect of school life from disciplinary action to personal relationships. His example has been a guiding light to Christian witnesses. Mr. Oorloff has identified himself with the College motto. He prays and works.

It is now over 5 years since he began the Staff Prayer cell that meets in the bungalow once a week. A teacher of many years service on the eve of his retirement said " Mr.Oorloff is the only Principal who I know prayed for me during my illness and his prayers gave strength and courage in those difficult days." Mr. Oorloff himself has said on several occasions his work at Wesley taught him the real meaning of prayer. He had learnt to pray in a way never before and prayer has been the only answer to meet the strains and stresses. "More things are wrought by prayer than l his world dreams of. Mr.Oorloff has for over 30 years had an abiding interest in the Student Christian Movement and it is this interest that has strengthened the work of the school at Wesley. It is our joy that many Christian youth leaders have had their training in the S.C.M. at Wesley.

Mr. Oorloff has in the past years established a democratic set up at staff meetings. A colleague who joined Wesley from another ' big' school in Colombo said he was struck by the spirit of friendliness and frankness at staff meetings. Here was a true Christian spirit at work to the extent that even the most junior staff member could speak his mind on any matter that was important to him though it were contrary to the opinion of the Principal. There was open discussion, group reasoning and a collective deci¬sion in the best interest of the individual and the school. No single individual, not even the Principal dominated or influenced the decisions of the staff. That has been a rich experience to us and one that we have treasured.

Mr. Oorloff is also a man with big ideas. The big ones that Principals of our schools have had in the past. He has spread the ' One World' idea of Wendle Wilkie and has encouraged the school at every opportunity to think in these categories. He believes Ceylon is too small a country to be fenced into racial groups. As a practical solution he has arranged that boys of various com¬munities meet is one class during certain subjects. He is above the influence of race, colour, caste or creeds. He believes that all at Wesley are the Children of God with equal rights and opportunities. He believes that a man should fight against the primitive ideas of racial and religious intolerance. He believes no man is too big to say 'sorry' to another. I remember quite vividly the day he met me on the corridor, put his arm round my shoulder and apologised for what he had said earlier. There was humility and affection on his face.

He has given cricket at Wesley its rightful place in the life of the school. No cricketer is given preferential treatment with regard to academic work and general discipline. He has suspended some and severely punished others for breaches in discipline. The cult of cricket is a myth of an earlier age and today cricket is one of the normal activities of college life. Mr. Oorloff was present at every inter-collegiate match sharing the defeat and the victory with his team. You would hear him on Monday morning making special mention of the achievements, of the victors and the vanquished, encouraging applause for both. It was an object lesson in preparation for playing the big game of life.

In the earlier years we detected a trait that Mr. Oorloff had carried over from the Government Service. He was rather fond of establishing a ' paper ' relationship. At first it was something that disturbed us but in subsequent years his memos and chits became rare. If he did send one it had a touch of his quaint humour. He would rather ask you to meet him for a quiet chat in his office or bungalow and you, perhaps, got more involved with some work after a conversation with him than through his chit-system.! But we are glad for the personal relationships he established with us. Wesley has been blessed by a great man and behind him has been a great woman. Mrs. Oorloff is a woman of charm and simplicity. She has added grace and a quiet dignity to the life of the school. A woman who showed she was as much in love with Wesley as with her husband. She has given to the school much of her time and energy — in teaching, dramatics and in several other undefined ways. If ever you needed help she gave it with a contagious smile that made you feel better. Whatever she undertook she did with great care and concern. You could see an artist at work in the smallest task she undertook.

Mr. and Mrs. Oorloff are so much a part of Wesley that it is difficult to accept the fact of their leaving us to work in another school in another clime. But we cannot presume that they belong only to Wesley. They have spent seven fruitful and memorable years at Wesley and we have been the better for it all. Trinity is fortunate to have such a man and woman. The separation pains us but we rejoice that they go to give another great school what they have given and received from Wesley. There is a lurking pride in our hearts that we give to Trinity a great Principal from Wesley.

The Oorloffs - Their lives remembered
The Photos and the brief summary of his life were kindly sent to me by Gillian Leembruggen, Melbourne, Australia

On their Wedding Day at Christ Church Galle Face - 28th December 1936

Christ Church Galle Face where the Oorloffs were married

Then and Now

Christ Church, Galle Face celebrated 150 years on 13th October 2003. It was begun by the CMS (Church Missionary Society) founded in London in 1799. The Church was constructed with £860 contributed from the CMS London, and generous donations from the local populace. W. A. Tunstall, a British architect, did the original design of the church, free of charge. The foundation stone was laid on 21st January 1853, by the Bishop of Colombo the Rt. Rev. Chapman. In 1897, the West wall fell, due to the deterioration of its kabook from heavy monsoon showers. The church was rebuilt on its old design in brick at a cost at Rs 34,150. The foundation stone of the 'new' church was laid on 14th June 1898 by the Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Rev. R. S. Copleston. The church received electricity in 1914. The building of the belfry began in 1918 and was dedicated on 30th June 1919. Christ Church has been the chief evangelical centre of worship in Colombo for over a century. Although the surroundings have changed dramatically and the Church is now dwarfed by towering skyscrapers comprising hotels, nightclubs, restaurants and commercial enterprises, Christ Church continues in its perennial task of relating to the contemporary lives of its people as it preaches the message of the Gospel of Peace and unity. Now it remains a talisman in Galle Face. Its old world elegance and architecture more enduringly has captured the public imagination.

A Brief Summary of his Life

The last photo of the Oorloffs just a short while before his death - taken by Gillian Leembruggen

Mr Oorloff was educated at Royal College and the University College Colombo. He obtained an honous degree in Classics(1927) and joined the staff of Trinity. He left TCK to enter the Civil Service in 1930. He served as magistrate, OA and AGA. He preferred working in the outstations and was twice at Hambantota where he revelled in the beauty of the place and the proximity to the National Park at Yala.

He married Christobelle Leembruggen in 1936. He was transferred to the Customs in Colombo to the post of Landing Surveyor and later was Controller of Immigration and Emigration. He set up the Ceylon Legation in Australia and served as the First Secretary before he returned to Ceylon.

In 1949 he resigned from the CCS to become the first Ceylonese Principal of Wesley College Colombo.

In 1957 he became the Principal of TCK  and retired in 1968.

Mr Oorloff was a strong supporter of Miss Carney’s “House of Joy” at Talawa and for several years kept the accounts.

On his retirement from TCK he joined the Colombo Diocese and was the Property Secretary. He later served as a Consultant on various Trust Boards and as Manager of the Schools for the Deaf and Blind at Ratmalana.

The dates show that he died a few months short of their Golden Wedding anniversary;  Mrs.Christobelle Oorloff was very sad about that.  His cause of death was not conclusively established although he was
declining quite rapidly.  He died after a brief illness on the 17th of August 1986.

Rev W.S Senior: Teacher, Poet and Priest by Cedric James Oorloff

Courtesy: The Ceylon Churchman.

Also published in the Sunday Times October 24th 1971

Photo: Rev W.S Senior

Walter Stanley Senior was born on 10th May, 1876 the son of the Vicar of St. Thomas' Church in Nottingham. Educated at Marlborough and Balliol, he offered himself in 1896 to the CMS for work overseas. In 1906 he received and accepted an invitation from Fraser to come out to Ceylon and be his Vice-Principal at Trinity College, There Senior worked for ten fruitful years. In 1915 he left Trinity, Kandy to take on the Incumbency of Christ Church, Galle Face, where in addition to his Parish- work, he got going, in the slums of Wekande, in Slave Island as it was then known, the School of Hope, a night school where the boys of the area came for evening classes and other activities. Later he resigned the Incumbency in order to take on an appointment as Lecturer in Classics and Registrar of the University College, Colombo.

Photo: Rev WS Senior's final rest at St Andrew's Church, Haputale

Classics

In the magnificent Chapel of Trinity College Kandy, stands a pulpit of excellent craftsmanship, erected there to commemorate "Walter Stanley Senior, Teacher, Poet and Priest." All these he was, and more besides. Living as I did in a different parish, I had no personal experience of him as a priest, except that 'his pastoral care for me and for all with whom he came in contact was manifest in all he said and did. And 1 know that the Older parishioners of Christ Church still refer nostalgically to his ministry among them Lecturing at the college was work he loved doing for on the one hand, he was a keen and sensitive Classics scholar, rejoicing in the opportunity now given him to "talk" Roman and Greek culture with his colleagues on the staff, on the other it brought him in close contact with . young people, in whose cause he delighted to labour. I had the privilege of having him as my teacher at the University College. How well I remember the polish and easy cadences of his Latin proses, and the patience with which he endured our feeble efforts at imitating him. He was an inspiring teacher of English Literature too and one of the methods be used to introduce us to its wealth and beauty was the method of public declamation ' of selected pieces of poetry.

Poet

The poet in him helped him rouse inert minds and unseeing eyes to the beauty and wonder of creation. Mountains and hills and streams were mountains and hills and streams to me—just that and nothing more until I learned to see them with his eyes. and they became in a strange but convincing way glories of God's creation, eliciting awe and wonder and praise and thankfulness. Happiest of the memories of my undergraduate days is the hike he organized for us, for me and a group of mutual friends. For ten glorious days we roamed on foot among the mountains and valleys of Uva and the Central Province, starting with the climb up Sri Pada, then by devious ways, past Bogawantalawa, over the Bopats, on to Agrapatna, over Horton Plains, past Ohiya, Idalgashinna and Haputale to Badulla; then back by Welimada and Nuwara Eliya and Maturata to Rikiligaskande, and so to Kandy. I was only 20 then; he was over 50. But he accompanied us, un-fatigued ...and- uncomplaining, for much of the way, kindling-in all of us, by his quiet enthusiasm, an appreciation we had never had for the incomparable beauty of this island of ours.

Artist

Senior was an artist, then, using language as a medium for conveying to others the truth and the beauty behind the appearance of things. He has written poetry and prose of the highest order, much of it still unpublished. His worthiest piece, perhaps is "Pisgah". the poem which won him, in 1914 the triennial prize at Oxford for a poem on a sacred subject.It contrasts Balaami and Moses in their crises of decision and indecision on Mount Pisgah.

"E'en thus, of truth assayed, on Pisgah stood
Balaam seen base, and Moses greatly good,
Moses greatly good, The Master Spirits of the Middle East.
Each on high Pisgah, poet, prophet, priest,
His climateric hour of vision spent,
To that sure bourne his youth had chosen went.
Ah, in the stripling's beauty who might see,
For shame or glory, what that bourne should be ?

But the whole poem must be read if it is to be truly appreciated. Other poems too he has written on sacred subjects—"Judas Maccabaeus", "St. Peter's Deliverance from Prison", "Domine Quo Vadis?"—all of them of the same high quality.

Ceylon

Better known, and more homely, though equally beautiful, are his collection of poems about Ceylon. They reveal a deep knowledge of the country, an understanding of her people, an insight into their weaknesses and their strength, a live sympathy with their yearnings. The best introduction to these poems are the stanzas entitled: "The Call of Lanka".

The Spirit of Lanka cries out for a bard to sing the glory that had been hers, and the glory that was to be. And the poet answers:—

"I offer a voice, O Lanka.
I, child of an alien isle;
For my heart has heard thee, and kindled,
Mine eyes have seen these and smile
Take, Foster-Mother, and Use it;
'Tis but for a little while".

A little later, because it wasn't good enough in his eyes that the epic of our country should be the work of an alien, however loving a foster-child he might be. Lanka's bard must be a son of the soil. And Senior had no doubts that one would arise in time.

"For surely of thine own children,
born of thy womb, shall rise,
The Bard of the moonlit jungle,
the Bard of the tropic skies.
Warm from his Mother's bosom,
bright from his Mother's eyes".

And when he came he would sing of Sri Pada and Dunhinda. of Sigiriya and Minneriya, of whatever is old and lovely in this old and lovely land.

But most shall he sing of Lanka
In the brave new days that come,
When the races all have blended
And the voice of strife is dumb;
When we leap to a single bugle,
March to single drum,

Here was great faith, and here again in his "Call to Lanka", where he sees her People,

March to a mighty purpose,
One Man from shore to shore,
The stranger become a brother,
The task of the tutor o’er;
When the ruined city rises,
And the Palace gleams once more.

His vision was not the Seam of a misty-eyed optimist. Freedom he insisted the people must have, freedom and unity; but these were not to be had for the asking. There was a cleansing and a struggle to be gone through before these could be achieved.

"And would ye free a people from a long and strong control?
And would ye keep ' your freedom while ' the testing ages roll?
' If ye fain would free the body ye must first make free the soul".

And then he goes on to tell us with the frankness of a true friend some of the things that must be shaken off before we can toe truly free—"the binding mesh of mammon", for instance, and "the base ungenerous gibe" We need to know the truth, he goes on, for only the truth can set us free. This is why the University-to-be was to him a factor of over-riding import.

"There is health in the Halls of learning,
there is Hope in the House of Mind,
That they who were deaf shall listen,
and they shall see who were blind".

Even the village school had its part to play,' for there ' keen minds were …… ardent hearts awakened. Then there were the bigger schools in Colombo and Kandy,

"Where Lanka bids her
beautiful, her brave,
Look in Life's eyes,and
with Life's lessons cope".

But the goal was not even a University College, like the one he lectured in, but a truly national University,

"Built peradventure by a rocky stream, built per-adventure by the peacock sea,
Behold the slow fruition of a dream, our island-goal, some University,
Where dateless hosts of visionary youth, Asia with Europe one in holy quest,
Shall read aright the starry deeps of Truth, adoring bend, and offer Being's best'.

He did not sit so lightly to me question of the sitting or the projected University as the first line seems to suggest. He was in the thick of the controversy between those who, like him, wanted it in the metropolis, and those who demanded that it, should be built at Peradeniya. It is difficult to understand why this lover of the —

-"Lush Kandyan hills where lingers yet,
Aye, and will linger till the last of time,
The Voice once heard, the Vision once beheld", who could speak of the "chasmed heights" as the healing skirts of God"
should be so resolutely opposed to the Dumbara Valley site. But he was! And at considerable ' cost
To his emotions …… The tension was great", he says,
"and even affected friendship, to my grief."

Alegiance

We have had glimpses, then, of Seniors deep and willing involvement in the life of this country. But he had his allegiance to his family too. Their claims on him had now become pressing, and in 1928 he decided he would have to go back to his, people in England. Read what he has to say about the inevitable break in his "Goodbye" and his "Desiderium". In the former he trots out , not yet seriously, some arguments in support of a return to England, and then goes on:—

Yet, o my soul remember, when you’ve sailed the seas away
And the English climate’s chilly and the English clouds are gray
When the birds are sad and silent, and the sun is seldom seen
And life is miles of houses with miles of mud between
You will see in a sudden vision, you will see with a sudden sigh
The scarlet splashed flamboyant awash in the azure sky
You will see Anuradhapura and the old kings’ bathing pool
And the shadowy blue king-fisher, the carven granite cool
And the pass of Haputale and the lowland flat and far
And through Gravillea feathers, the rosy evening star
And the moon-besilvered jungle, the dipping magic cross
Mid steady balm in-blowing from the silver foam and floss
And better than places — faces, the Aryan face (your own)
With its brown and olive beauty, the youths and maids you’ve known
And the tender pearl of India in the black and brilliant eye
My soul, you will break with longing — it can never be Goodbye.

Photo: The Graveyard at St Andrew's Church Haputale

Ashes

And so, reluctantly, this great lover of Lanka left the home of his adoption for the home of his birth. He returned to Ceylon in 1936, but only for a short holiday. It was clear, even then, that he was a sick man. In 1938 he was called to his eternal home. His tale of days was told, his span was spun, to use his own metaphors. On him was conferred "the Freedom of the endless morn."

The ashes of this poet of Ceylon, this seeker of souls, this servant of God, were interred on the 23rd of February 1938 in the garden of the hill-top Church of St. Andrew in Haputale among the hills and valleys he loved so much. For him "It can never be goodbye".

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Rev W.S Senior, Ceylon's "Poet Laureate", will always be remembered for the famous "Hymn for Ceylon" which we sang at end of term assembly during the Principalship of Mr CJ Oorloff. As a schoolboy I was mesmerised by its soul stirring lyrics and haunting melody. The students sang it with passion and almost lifted the roof. Such was our affection for the hymn. His gravestone is a testament to his life "He loved Ceylon"

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

Links to further reading

Addendum from Trinity College Kandy

Mr. C.J. Oorloff ( At Trinity College 1957-1968)

When the previous Principal, Mr. N. S. Walter, began to feel that it was time for him to return to England, his first task was to ensure a suitable succession. His choice fell on Mr. C. J. Oorloff, at that time, Principal of Wesley College, Colombo.

Mr. Oorloff was, of course, no stranger to Trinity. Although he went to school at Royal he had been born and brought up almost within our precincts and even lives there still on his visits to Kandy. On graduation Mr. Oorloff came home, as it were, when he joined the staff in 1930; but unfortunately, like so many after him, he could not resist the lure of the Civil Service, a decision which we suspect he regrets except perhaps, for a nostalgia for Hambantota which he shared with another Civil Servant, the late Mr. Leonard Woolf. His broken connections with Trinity were, however, somewhat renewed when he married the sister of three brothers who were Trinitians.

In 1949 Mr. Oorloff quit the Civil Service, though well on the way becoming a Permanent Secretary, to accept the post of Principal of Wesley. There he spent seven fruitful and happy years before succumbing to the temptation of returning at last to his real home. Mr. Oorloff’s period of office as Principal of Trinity is the second longest in the history of the school, second only to that of Mr. Fraser, whose era was, however, nearly twice as long. These years were years of consolidation after the frantic pace that had been set by Mr. Walter. Trinity settled down to a quiet and sound if unspectacular progress which carried the school through on an even keel despite all the political and educational upheavals of the time. When Mr. Oorloff handed over the school to Mr. Lionel Fernando on the 1st of October, 1968 he handed over a school that was slowly but surely adjusting itself to the new conditions

Mr. Oorloff’s chief strength lay in a quiet, dignified integrity that was probably the most desirable characteristic that a Principal needed in times like his. No bitter involvement in raging controversy, no rash commitments, no yielding to public hysteria but an unobtrusive guidance in the right direction-this was, with the courage of his convictions, Mr. Oorloff’’s way, not hurriedly to jettison past traditions merely because they were under fire but to preserve what was best in them while gradually adapting them to the new demands. In this way, for example, the language medium revolution was completed but English was not abandoned; the teaching of other religions was introduced but the school remained unapologetically Christian.

For Mr. Oorloff this last was his first concern. He was a man of deep and abiding but not ostentatious faith and it is fitting that through his efforts the most beautiful part of the school is that which surrounds the Chapel whose tower he was chiefly instrumental in building.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Christobelle Enid Oorloff B.A. (Lond)

A Tribute by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

OORLOFF - CHRISTOBELLE ENID (nee LEEMBRUGGEN) Dear wife of the late Cedric James Oorloff, sister of the late Gerard, Willem and Arthur and of Aileen (Australia) and of Johan, beloved aunt of Gillian and Michelle, expired. Service at A.F. Raymond's Funeral Parlour at 10 a.m. on Monday 20th September followed by interment at General Cemetery Kanatte (Anglican Section). 80/9, Layard's Road, Colombo 5.

OORLOFF - At rest with Jesus, CEDRIC, Beloved husband of Christobelle, brother of Linda, Phyllis and Gwen, loving uncle of Gillian and Michelle, formerly Principal of Wesley College, Colombo and Trinity College, Kandy, and Property Secretary Diocese of Colombo. His mortal remains will lie In the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour,' Colombo from 9.00 a.m. Monday 18th, service at 4.00 p.m. and thereafter-interment at Kanatte (Anglican Section), 370, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7

Cedric James Oorloff, B.A. (Lond-), was born on the 5th of December 1906. He married Christobelle Enid Lembruggen B.A., (Lond.), born 3rd July 1907, in Christ Church, Galle Face Colombo on the 28th of December 1936. She was the daughter of the Reverend Gerard Henry Percival Leembruggen and Enid Alice Raffel.

Photo: Mrs. CE Oorloff

With her quiet, kind demeanour — Mrs Oorloff never wavered in her sense of duty towards the students of Wesley. She was a highly gifted lady. She was a calm elegant person who stepped in to bridge the gap between the students and Cedric James Oorloff. She did it with style and to perfection. CEO was cultured and widely read with many interests and talents. With her MA diploma she taught the senior boys English and history and relished the challenge. Her involvement in the school stretched way beyond the teaching commitments executed with verve and aplomb. Well-organised enthusiasm, notable both for its vigour and extent, was the hallmark of her character. She was profoundly modest and self-effacing that she never really sought or got the recognition she deserved.

With her charming personality she immersed herself fully in the life of the school. Mrs Oorloff was an exemplary stalwart of the English drama tradition. Her contribution to the school theatre and drama is not an easy one to define, so broad has been her involvement and so widespread her influence.

Photo: Mrs Oorloff as the Principal of Lindsay Girls School in Bambalapitiya in 1935 aged 28. The school was founded by the Dutch Reform Church in 1900 to serve the girls living in and around Bambalapitiya. The school which was called Bambalapitiya Girls’ High School was later renamed Lindsay Girls’ School after Rev. Lindsay the priest in charge of the Bambalapitiya parish who passed away in 1899.

At Wesley Mrs Oorloff participated in a whole range of activities in productions and backstage. She had an inexhaustible enthusiasm for drama. She re-invigorated a generation of amature dramatists at school and made a tremendous contribution to the drama at Wesley. She was responsible for the upsurge in the fortunes of the School Dramatic Society. With her gift for getting students interested and involved made it an experience, which she hugely enjoyed. This gave her a lifelong love for Wesley College. I was a boarder then living behind the Principals bungalow. Tall flamboyant trees (Delonix Regia) with spreading branches surrounded the 150 year old building. The Oorloffs were the Lord and the Lady of the Manor of that elegant house. On some Saturdays I recall the lavish parties she had for us, little kids, with music and games with plenty to eat. We all thought her hospitality was “princely”. She enthralled us with her stories. Mrs. CEO was always smiling and had a calming effect on us all. Being a keen gardener she maintained an immaculate garden with flowers in bloom throughout the year. There were Temple Trees scattered on the periphery of the lawn. She was often seen in the evenings playing with Gillian (her niece) and the dogs in the well manicured lawn in front of the bungalow. An image of their apple green Austin Devon (A40) parked in the porch is firmly etched in my memory.

Photo: Award Ceremony - Mrs Oorloff served as the Principal of Lindsay Girls School in Bambalapitiya.

Mrs.Oorloff was the elegant First Lady of Wesley for seven long years and later on at Trinity College Kandy. At TCK the teaching and other duties she performed were not for payment, just as she wanted. We respect her not only as the wife of our Principal but for her charming and effervescent personality. I was saddened to see the obituary of Mrs Oorloff and remember her with gratitude and much affection. It took me back half a century into a tranquil and happy period of my life when the country was at peace and Wesley secured its place in the higher echelons of education. Mrs.Oorloff's decision to remain in Sri Lanka all through the dark days of the ethnic conflict showed her resilience and love for the land of her birth. She always kept faith with her beloved country through all its physical, racial and political transformations.

Photo: Mrs Oorloff with Professor Morris

They were both committed Christians, and were active in their faith. The Oorloff's disemminated the religion not by preaching but by the life they lead. Yet it was their gift for taking a genuine interest in people regardless of their backgrounds which made them bewitching company throughout their long lives. Their hard work, honesty and integrity were an example to us all. They dedicated much time to voluntary work and was greatly respected for their probity. In retirement they found satisfaction in social service, tending to their garden and church-related work.

Photo: Mrs. C E Oorloff with a photo of her beloved husband.

Their long association with 2 of the finest schools in Sri Lanka came to an end with the death of Mrs. Oorloff in September 2004. She was aged 97. Mr Cedric Oorloff passed away in August 1986. Theirs was a beautiful partnership and they complemented each other perfectly. They made us what we are today giving us the anchorage to survive and thrive in this big wide world. Now it is indeed an end of an era.

Many of their students both at Trinity and Wesley will remember them with much nostalgia and deep gratitude. The Lindsay Girls School and the students will have a special place for her in their hearts. Such dedication to duty is rarely seen nowadays. Their professionalism and service to education cannot be surpassed. We now live in a material world. They don't make individuals like the Oorloff's anymore!! The mould has changed to our detriment.

Christobelle Oorloff by Joy Goonewickrema

Karlsruhe is the site on which Wesley College stands. Mrs. Christobel Oorloff moved into Karlshruhe when her husband Cedric, became principal of Wesley in 1950. With them came their niece Gillian, who was a pupil of Ladies' College. Together they made a happy home. When Mrs. Oorloff joined the teaching staff, we found in her a person who had taken keen delight in the splendour of the English language.

Photo: Joy Goonewickreme

English was both a weapon and a toy in her hands. She could strike' with it, and play with it. She impressed upon us that English was one of the most valuable personal assets we could possess, and encouraged us to get a good command of it. Her classes were lively, and learning in that atmosphere was an in-estimable experience to us. Her standards were difficult to attain, and whenever we failed, her expressions of disappointment seemed to come from somewhere deep down within her heart, because she really wanted us to do well.

Where others might have been stern, she was gracious. I remember a boy who had not done his assignment for the day struggling and struggling to come up with a good excuse. Knowing he wouldn't make it, she put an end to his agony saying, "Sit down, I'll not tax your imagination."

Outside the class-rooms, she showed enthusiasm in such things as choral music, drama, and word-games. She was a fine actress, herself, and performed in some stage-plays that were acclaimed by cultured society The college choir which was among the finest in the country then, may have promp¬ted her to stage musical plays. She directed three operettas during her days at Wesley - Hiawatha, a Ladd in-and-out, and King of Sherwood. It was hard work for her, but she prayerfully laboured on to make them some of the most memorable performan¬ces of the 1950' s.

Whatever she did for the school, she did with all her might, and watched keenly as her husband steered Wesley to the fore. Yet, have we been amply grateful to her

All our teachers had nicknames, so we had to give her one. We turned to Shakespeare and Ganymede was what we picked. She knew about it but, in her wisdom, pretended to be unaware.

It was customary for small groups of boarders to visit the Oorloffs on Saturdays after dinner for a chit-chat which was accompanied with delicious cookies and coffee. On one such occasion, Mrs. Oorloff asked the boys, "Who's your favourite Shakespearian character?" The answer was a roar of laughter.

The smile that she was born with, she carried through the changing scenes of her life. Her everpresent grace, ready wit and kindly humour endeared her to our hearts.

The Rose of Karlsruhe is only a pleasant memory now. Her parting grieved us, but we have sought comfort in the thought that she had gone to dwell with the creator. Surely, the gates of heaven would have let her in willingly, because she was, above all, a devout Christian.

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera:

Joy Goonewickreme was a boarder at Wesley in the 1950's. He was a fine athlete winning the 440 yards for Moscrop House and representing the school in the Public Schools Meet at the Oval. He sang base baritone in the school choir and took part in the famous Operettas Alad-in and Out and also Robin Hood arranged by Mr Maxwell De Alwis. I recall with much nostalgia, Joy, singing a solo "Good King Wenceslaus" at the school Carol service. Since leaving Wesley he has become a prolific writer to the Sri Lankan Newspapers.

Christobelle Oorloff’s Memorial Service in Melbourne November 2004:

Hilary Abeyratne's presentation, (on behalf of Trinity College Kandy)

For 12 years, from 1956 to 1968, I had the privilege of being a colleague of Cedric and Christobelle Oorloff and, since I hold them both in such high esteem, I feel that it is indeed an honour that I have the opportunity to say some words in her memory. I might even express the view straightaway that I was more impressed by her than by him; he was a most imposing Principal with great integrity and dignity but she, I believe, was more personally involved in many aspects of the life of the school that brought her into closer contact with more of the students. Maybe this love for Trinity, that beautiful school on top of a hill in the most beautiful city in the country, may well have stemmed from the fact that having a brother there, she was already part Trinitian even before she came to us as the Principal's wife.

I shall start by telling you that it is no coincidence that, on a wall of my den here, in Mornington, I have 2 signed photographs of ex-Principals of Trinity and their wives; Rev and Mrs A.G. Fraser and Mr and Mrs C.J. Oorloff. The former pair was of course, way before my time at Trinity, but since their time, I have been keenly aware, as student and member of staff, of the role played by each of the wives up to 1974. I have also, since coming out her, heard enough about the others to be able to state categorically that the 2 wives I speak of today had the greatest impact on the life of Trinity in the twentieth century. Strangely enough, Mrs Fraser has the longest tenure as Principal's wife, twenty years, while Mrs Oorloff s stay is the second longest in the history of the school.

My association with Mrs Oorloff was such that I never spoke or referred to her as Christobelle but, if not Mrs Oorloff, more commonly as Mrs O; not because there was nearly a decade's difference in our ages, not merely because of her being the Principal's wife, but because of the respect and affection we, staff and boys, had for her. Everyone agreed that she was always a gentle, gracious and generous person, so friendly, cheerful and accessible to all in her own naturally charming manner tinged with a delicate sense of humour.

Apart from all her desirable personal qualities Mrs O's value to the school was inestimable in that little took place without her being there. It was difficult to decide in what order I should tell you what made her so very special but what is certain is that this is not just a catalogue of her virtues, but a heartfelt appreciation of an outstanding person.

I think I should start with the fact that her own warmth rubbed off on her husband and, for example, when she was the hostess when the school officers were entertained in the Principal's bungalow, they used to say that they felt so much closer to him as a result. She was on these and all other occasions the ideal Principal's consort, modestly taking the back seat despite her own strong standing in the school.

Then there was their common commitment to their faith. She loved the Chapel and David Paynter's efforts in the murals to give that faith a Sri Lankan landscape with the faces of his subjects also local. She was herself in the quest for stone masons who had not lost their ancient craft for continuing work on her stone pillars that so impressed her. The Chapel surrounds, far and away the most attractive part of the school and to keep them so was also, in part, her province while the flowers that adorned the chapel at all services were provided by her at her own expense.

There was also the Sunday school which took so much of her time because she organised and ran it with such enthusiasm.

And then she was certainly indispensable when it came to what took place on or back stage; to direct, to provide costumes, to do the makeup and whatever else was required of her in respect of any production in the schoolhall Nor was her interest in all else that went on in the school any less; from judging the annual contest for the reading prize and getting so involved and excited watching school rugger matches.

Those of you who have delved into the hundredth anniversary history of the school, may find that some of what I have been saying sounds somewhat familiar but what is most strange is how few people are aware of Mrs Oorloff's most selfless service to the school. Perhaps it was my bland use of the word 'honorary' that did not wake people up to the fact that Mrs Oorloff did a great deal of teaching of English for many years, from the University Entrance class downwards, without accepting a cent for her services.

Need I say any more to pay my respects to this great lady?

Photo: St Nikolaas Nursing Home in Dehiwela where Mrs Oorloff lived her final years

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

The Nursing Home was built on land that was a gift from the late Dr. RL Spittel, eminent surgeon and wildlife expert. The Dutch Burgher Union (DBU) constructed the buildings and the home was opened in 1951 to provide lodging and care for the members of the Dutch Burgher community. The compassionate staff preserve and maintain the dignity, individuality and privacy within a warm and caring atmosphere.

Wesley College Colombo – from Christobelle Oorloff’s writings to Gillian Leembruggen

Towards the end of Christobelle’s life, in the St Nikolaas Home, she was bed-ridden, ‘like a felled tree’, as she put it. Although her body was infirm, her mind was not. I suggested she write down for me her memories of notably happy times in her life of 97 years. Wesley College was one.

“ …….. when you asked me to write a few memories of our time at Wesley, I thought over things that had happened then, which of course are part of the history of the College; such as the building of the Highfield block and the Flats. But there are many more personal memories which made us feel that our own 7 years at Wesley were a very happy time for the 3 of us. You may know that Cedric had taught for a short while before he went into the Civil service. He was glad to retire early and take up the challenge of administering a school and found working with staff and boys to be a satisfying and rewarding task.

To start with, there was the house, perhaps the coolest in Colombo – with its high roof, large rooms, long wide verandahs, many huge doors and windows; and the beautiful artistic Lorenz screen dividing the drawing and dining rooms; its shady porch and wide sweeping lawn – all much appreciated.

The school Hall, well-proportioned and dignified, seemed made for order and discipline. Very soon we got to know the staff and realised we were truly among friends. Many of them had been there for years; for example, Mrs Joyce Leembruggen in the Kindergarten, Mr Fred de Mel and Mrs Iris Blacker in the Junior school – to mention just 3. Then there was Mr Lanerolle as Vice Principal and so many others of senior and office staff who all had the good of Wesley at heart; so the atmosphere was positive and productive.

I had been an ordained teacher and wanted to have a part in the school so I was given a half-time job on the staff and soon found myself fully involved in every dramatic project, something I greatly enjoyed. We had Maxwell de Alwis as choir master, Ivor de Silva as singer and Miss Thome as pianist. It looked like operettas were indicated! The Kindergarten produced Thumbelina, the Junior School Hiawatha and the Upper School, Aladdin and Out, and Robin Hood. You remember we had tremendous fun and a sense of satisfaction in painting the stage properties; from Mrs Mouse’s house in Thumbelina, to the hardboard trees for the forest in Hiawatha, the Palace in Aladdin and Castle in Robin Hood.

I enjoyed every minute of it; planning costumes, make-up and rehearsals and I think that the staff and boys involved enjoyed it too.

Other amusing memories were our own dogs; for instance, Jock, our sheepdog cross, used to accompany the Principal to the platform for Assembly and when after the General Assembly the non-Christians would be asked to leave, Jock would rise and pointedly depart. So the staff called him the non-Christian dog! Our little terrier, Inkspot, used to follow me to class and settle down for a nap till the bell rang and then he would get up and look inquiring. If it happened to be a double period, he would grumpily settle down again, to the amusement of the class. For a short time, we also had a long bodied, short legged dragonist-looking dog called Danister, aptly named ‘the Hot Dog’ by the boys. One evening, the dogs alerted us to the sound of hissing coming from the fern pots on the verandah steps by barking furiously and jumping backwards. The torch picked out an enormous polonga lurking amongst the foliage. Some of the staff started a Bachelors Club and we attended a social meeting; they all wore Bachelors Button flowers as their emblem. I believe the Club did not last long as most of the members got married! Needless to say, the more orthodox school societies carried on their activities very successfully. The Chaplains David Wilson and later Wilfred Pile were a wonderful influence and the Student Christian union flourished under their guidance. When we left Wesley to go to Trinity, we felt that we were leaving many dear friends among the staff and boys, and I am glad that some of them still keep in touch with me. They bring so many memories of the happy years spent at Wesley. “May Wesley go on from strength to strength! “

Christobelle Oorloff

Photos from the Oorloff Family Album

Photo: Lorenz Screen in the Principal's Bungalow

cal The Principal's bungalow was built around 1860 by an eminent Colombo Lawyer called Charles Ambrose Lorenz. He was a Burgher of Prussian descent. The architecture of the building is typical for that period with tall cylindrical columns supporting a large porch, a wide verandah and the lovely lounge with many spacious rooms. In 1859 Lorenz purchased the Ceylon Examiner which became the first Ceylonese newspaper. Until his death in 1871, at the age 42, Ambrose Lorensz wielded the powerful influence of his pen for social reform, championing democratic causes and courageously criticising the British colonial government, the Governor and his Executive Council. He passed away in this bungalow on August 9, 1871. Karlsruhe is German for "Charles Rest". Karlsruhe Gardens is perhaps named after Charles Lorenz which is the final resting place for an intrepid lawyer who died so young.

Remembering C.A. Lorenz - The first owner of our Principal's bungalow By Kalasuri Wilfred M. Gunasekera

Photo: Principal's Bungalow from Karlsruhe gardens with CJO's apple green Austin A40 in the porch

Photo: Rear view of the Principal's Bungalow

Photo: Principal's lawn and Bungalow

Photo: L to R - School Flats,The front view of the School Flats built in 1953, Hall - West side

Photos L to R:The West side of the Great Hall, School Assembly in Session, The Cartman Library

Photos kindly sent to me by Gillian Leembruggen

Prize Giving with Nalendra Abeysuriya receiving an award

Principal's Bungalow - As seen from the Biology Lab

The rear of the Principal's Bungalow - A view from the Hostel

WESLEY COLLEGE MEMORIES

By Gillian Leembruggen

Hi Nihal

Thank you for encouraging me to write down some of my memories of Wesley College.

My own memories of Karlsruhe are from the perspective of a happy and carefree childhood. I well remember the cool house and beautiful sweeping garden, the scene of many a birthday party. I had several friends among the staff children living on the premises and I particularly enjoyed rushing over to the Flats where my special friend Lala de Mel lived; we played hide and seek and climbed trees. NB. It was good to see that the temple flower tree near the garage still stands and appears none the worse for wear! For a time, my pet squirrel; which we had found newly born lying on the back verandah and hand reared, was part of the action. I would place it in my pocket, from where it would climb up and hide in my hair.

Photo: Gillian Leembruggen at the 2012 Cricketers Reunion, Galle Face Hotel

Living on the school campus, I was involved in its life; particularly the annual concerts. The preparations, from the auditions to helping by painting the scenery; and the buzz of the performances were exciting. In the house, the intricately carved Lorenz screen was always a focal point and the long verandahs were perfect for running up and down and playing hopscotch. On the weekends I would wake to the singing of Novenas from All Saints Church down the road; and walking to Sunday school through the park was an adventure. Nature was all around. I remember the visit from a charmer who promised to rid the garden of snakes! We sometimes heard/saw a snake or a polecat in the verandah ceilings, and who can forget the polonga incident?

Photo: Gillian playing with Lala de Mel (The Headmaster JLF's daughter) high on the Temple Tree

Mr and Mrs Oorloff with Gillian Mr Oorloff with Gillian

Gillian with her pet dogs Gillian's birthday party Gillian in the Principal's lawn

Photo: The ubiquitous Alamanda flowers

The vast garden was light and shade. I vividly remember the alamanda bower of yellow blossoms which ran alongside our bedroom windows; its secret spaces were the haunt of certain elusive migratory birds. Diving for the binoculars and bird books kept to hand, we all soon learnt to identify them. The rear garden contained a grove of citrus trees with fragrant flowers; where the ‘seedless lime tree from India’ took pride of place. Tall flamboyant trees formed a backdrop which partially screened the Hostel buildings. Then there were the large mango trees which happened to be just outside our bedroom window, a source of temptation to the boarders. I was fascinated by the huge cadju-pulang tree where flying foxes plundered the fruit.

I have visited these happy childhood haunts a few times recently and I wish Wesley College every success in all its endeavours.----Gillian Leembruggen

Cedric and Christobelle Oorloff with Gillian - Photos from Canberra 1948/49

Kindly sent to me by Gillian Leembruggen - 14th February 2019

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

My heartfelt thanks to Gillian Leembruggen (Melbourne, Australia) for the photographs and the information which has helped me to compile these notes. The students from my era can now relive those happy memories of school and the boarding in the 1950's. They can also get a peek into the lives of Mr and Mrs Oorloff at Wesley and thereafter. For the present and future students of Wesley, this is a taste of the mid 20th Century at Karlsruhe. As an old Chinese proverb goes 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. The black and white photos bring those times to life. As I walk the passages and long corridors of that great institution there is often a sense that my friends and teachers walk with me. Their voices swirl in the ether of the hallowed grounds at Karlsruhe. Ah! those were the days.

Links to further reading

"Their names liveth forever more"

GRANT HER O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Lionel Rajapaksha, A.K.Mather and Godwin Roberts

By Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Godwin Roberts

Lionel, Godwin and AK were boarders in the 1950's in the LA Fernando era.

Lionel had 2 brothers who were respected teachers at school Henry and MT. He was a talkative soul and a live wire in the hostel. I remember him joking to say that the only way to get his name in print is to die.

AK was the son of Rev Dr James Mather who was Chairman of the Methodist Synod and lived in the Staff quarters opposite Campbell Park. He was a quiet soul and a keen basketball player.

Godwin Roberts was a prefect (1957) in the school and in the hostel. He went on to study chemistry at the Peradeniya University and later joined the TRI Talawakelle as chemist. Subsequently he emigrated to Australia where he died of a stroke. Godwin had a brother Godfrey who was in the boarding and went to the USA for further studies of whom I have had no news since those halcyon days.

When we are in need of comfort
We walk down memory lane,
There we see your smiling face
We talk with you again,
And as we wander slowly back
We seem to hear you say
Don't grieve. don't worry my friend
We'll meet again some day.

May Their Souls Rest in Peace

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Terence. B. Robertson(Terry)

Terence Robertson 1929 – 2004

We regret to record the sudden passing of Terence, on the 15th September. The Committee and members of the Old Boys Union extend their deepest sympathy to Terence’s family and relatives at this time.
Terry was one of six brothers, all of whom studied at Wesley College; his three older brothers Ronnie, Wilton and Melville (all deceased) joined Wesley before him. Terence was at Wesley from 1937 – 1944. Youngsters George and Rex joined the school later.

A keen participant in most of the OBU social activities, Terry never missed a Senior’s gathering and always brought his camera to record the occasion. Everyone who knew him might remember him as “Happy –go – Lucky” and as one who always enjoyed a drink and a funny story. His presence always enlivened any company he was in, and he will be greatly missed.

Family and friends gathered to bid him farewell as he rested his last hour among us, lying beside the colours of his Alma Mater.

Goodbye, brother.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


Hilary De Vos By Keith de Kretser and Robin Reimers

Obituary 3rd December 2005

After a long battle with cancer, Hilary de Vos passed away in the early hours of today Saturday 3rd of December 2005.

Hilary was 66 years old. Hilary will be fondly remembered at the Senior Lunch on Sunday 4th of Dec for the immense contribution he made to the OBU Australia Branch and the spirit of the Double Blues.

Life to Hilary was best explained in the context of cricket which he loved with a passion. As a cricketer for Wesley & various other clubs in Sri Lanka & Australia he had scored almost 30,000 runs since he began playing as a boy over 55 years ago. Hilary was bowling with a fifteen yard run up at the age of 55 & he was playing club cricket in Melbourne at the age of 60 years. Wesley OBU family in Australia experienced his talents, charm and kindness over many years. He was a highly respected and admired by everyone -young and old.

Wesley old boys in Sri Lanka and around the world, teachers, friends, OBU-Australia, OBU-Canada, OBU-Colombo, and OBU-UK send their condolences to his wife Jenny, children Tammy, Roger, Vanessa and families, his brothers Harry and Joy and the sister.

Hilary De Vos is now no more but his noble Wesley spirit will remain with us forever.

The song is ended, but the melody lingers on...

Irving Berlin

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - CJT Thamotheram

Mr CJT Thamotheram passed away in London on the 4th of November 2005 aged 87 years

THAMOTHERAM - CHARLES JEYAM THAMBYRAJAH passed away peacefully on 27th October 2005 in England, aged 87 years. He leaves behind his loving wife Malar and six children Vijay, Sunetra, Thiru, Priya, Shanthini and Raj and six grandchildren Niranjalie, Ravin, Craig, Laura, Sharmini and Chrishan. He also leaves behind his sisters Mrs Kanga Snell, Mrs Arul Niles, Dr Amy Fernando (Australia), Mrs Tharumi Nadarajah, Mrs Thangam Mathar and brothers Nesar Thamotheram and Edgar Thamotheram (U.K). The funeral service and celebration of his life will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday 4th November, 2005 at Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9JT followed by a private cremation.

Remembered by Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

q7Mr. Thamotheram was an intellectual and a respected mathematics teacher at Wesley in the 1950's. Being a brilliant mathematician he didn't suffer fools gladly. I still remember when students misbehaved he said they would end up in the institution opposite Wesley( The Welikada Jail).

Teaching maths is a gift and a unique skill which he had in great abundance. He made an immense contribution to maintain high academic standards at the school. The engineering and physical science students of the era gained enormously from his erudite maths lectures. His premature departure from Wesley was a great loss. CJT left a legacy of care, concern and commitment as a teacher and the void he left was never filled.

Bryan Claessen , Wesley's famous cricketer from the 1950's has contacted his old maths teacher CJT who has indeed returned his call from London. Bryan remembers CJT taking the maths class in the classroom by the chemistry lab and the famous remark "I think you all are more likely to pass the ass ass C rather than the SSC".

CJT's father was the Principal of Hartley College Jaffna, a Methodist Institution of repute in the north. CJT himself was a student and later taught at this school before joining Wesley College. For him teaching was not a stepping stone for another more lucrative job. It was a profession and a way of life which he cared for passionately. CJT made a profound difference in our lives and made us think more deeply. At an impressionable age he set our feet on the right path. At the prime of his life he spent 10 good years at Wesley.

While at Wesley College he won a Fulbright scholarship for a year to the University of Pennsylvania, USA. On his return he continued to teach at Wesley. In 1954-55 he became the President of the Colombo Teachers Association and also founded the Ceylon Teachers Travel Club.

With his deep voice and powerful presence CJT was a formidable figure on the teaching scene at Wesley. He was feared and respected in equal measure. We all knew as students he could be refreshingly direct and “almost tactlessly” forthright, but also humorous, good-natured and hard-working. He carried these traits throughout his life and made many friends and some enemies too. In later years his thinking and writing revealed the sad intolerance of humanity.

The Methodist Mission in Colombo did not recognise his efforts and service to Wesley and Methodism. They ignored his desire for promotion. In retrospect, this was a grave mistake. A missed opportunity to have a man of his stature in a leading role in a school going through stormy times. He made no attempts to hide his feelings. Naturally , there was bitterness on his part for this lapse. From Wesley College, in 1959 he joined the British Council in Colombo as the First Administrative Assistant .

CJT's commitment to Wesley and to his students did not end on his departure. After emigrating to UK in 1961 he became the patron of the Wesley College OBU since its very inception. I last spoke to him a few months ago when he gave me his memories of JAT Sethukavalar the physics guru at Wesley College, of the 1950's. His mind was then clear and his voice just like in the old days. He was an old school teacher, now a rare breed, who cared genuinely and worked tirelessly for student welfare.

He taught countless students at Wesley and later on in the Latymer School in London from 1965-83. He started the first Tamil School in London in 1981. CJT was a tower of strength to the Tamil community abroad specially those displaced by the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka. He had the courage to stand up for the oppressed.

His contribution to Wesley College and education will always be fondly remembered by his students and colleagues. The brotherhood of past students send their condolences to his immediate family.

MR CJT Thamotheram A leading light of the Tamil Community has been extinguished but his memory will live on in our hearts forever

From Ivan Pedropillai, Hartley College, Point Pedro

The mortal remains of Jeyam Thamotheram were laid to rest in London, England on 4th November 2005. He passed away on 27th October at 87 years of age after a lifetime of service to the Tamil community. He was a loving a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a counsellor and above all the conscience and the motivating force that unceasingly mustered and rallied the intellectual and professional classes of expatriate Tamils to uphold and advance the cause of the oppressed Tamils of Sri Lanka in their struggle for freedom. The institutions he created and the network of friends that he made by his immense capacity of persuasiveness and his infectious energy will remain as edifices to his selfless devotion to the cause of justice and self-determination for Tamils in the northeast of Sri Lanka.

But before we paint a picture of a man who fought for justice and liberation for his own people, we must thank God for creating in him a man endowed with great moral and intellectual courage and an unwavering love of his homeland. The hallmarks of his character were formed in childhood in a family in which his father, Mr C. P. Thamotheram, was the eminent Principal of Hartley College, Point Pedro; a leading Christian College in the country which has established a reputation for producing brilliant scholars especially in mathematics.

Jeyam Thamotheram went on to study in other leading Christian Colleges, such as St John's College, Jaffna and St Joseph's College, Colombo. He was an outstanding student and entered the University College, Colombo on an illustrious exhibition award. He obtained a First class honours degree in mathematics from University College and went back to teach in his old school, Hartley College, from 1939 to 1942. Although he left teaching for a short period of two years to join the Ceylon Government Supplies Department, his love of teaching saw him return as a teacher to St Patrick's College, Jaffna for a couple of years and from there he left to join Wesley College, Colombo where he taught for over 10 years.

In 1944 he married Florence Thiviamalar Nalliah. She too comes from a leading Christian family, in which her father - Rev N. K. Nalliah was a prominent pastor in Jaffna. They were to have six children, three boys and three girls who have themselves gone on to become well-qualified and upright persons of whom Jeyam and Florence can be rightly proud. Jeyam was a loving husband and a caring father, and in turn the devotion of the children to their parents is a joy to behold. It has been a very moving experience for me to see how they have looked after him in his illness and have worked together with their own children to organise the final valediction for him.

While teaching at Wesley College he won a Fulbright scholarship for one year to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, after which he again returned to Wesley College to teach. His interest in serving the rights of teachers as a profession was to come to the fore at about this time. In 1954-55 he took on the mantle of President of the Colombo Teachers Association and led them ably to become a force for good in the teaching profession. He was also starting to prove his keenness in expanding the interests of teachers by founding the Ceylon Teachers Travel Club.

From Wesley College, he joined the British Council in Colombo as the First Administrative Assistant in 1959 and afterwards in 1961 he arrived in the UK to teach at a school in Luton. However, his longest service as a teacher was from 1965 to 1983 at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith - one of the leading public schools in London.

He was a man of phenomenal vision and capability and took on the tasks of building the different pillars that would form an infrastructure for the Tamils in the UK. While teaching at Latymer, he also inaugurated the Association of Commonwealth Teachers (1966); founded the Tamil Times (1977); founded the West London Tamil School (1978); and founded the International Tamil Foundation (1988). We could have thought that Jeyam would rest on his laurels after creating these organisations. But, even in his advancing age and with his failing health, he felt strongly that there existed another void amongst us, which was to represent the Tamil cause with intellectual vigour in the English media. Towards this goal, he was inspired again, in March this year to enlist with his customary tenacity some of us as writers to found the Tamil Writers Guild of which I am the first President. In his declining months, with both his legs giving way, he still came to our meetings as our Patron and contributed with his wisdom and experience to get TWG functioning. This was his swan song and we wish to invite more of you to join it as a lasting memorial to his irrepressible and indomitable spirit.

It would have been impossible for anyone else to start even one or two of these organisations and involve so many leading Tamil academic and professional figures in them. The vibrancy and growth of some of these organisations even to this day is a testimony to Jeyam Thamotheram's powers of persuasion, dedication, organisation and intellectual ability. He would be on the telephone from morning to evening, calling people and exhorting them or cajoling them to do something for the good of the Tamil people and their cause. Countless are the times that Jeyam has worked the telephones relentlessly to raise substantial monies to save Tamil newspapers and journals from financial insolvency.

He was respected and loved by the people that he knew - and there were many of them - and they trusted him and gave willingly for the causes that he sponsored. He was a true friend and a soul mate to a number of people and would instantly rally to their support in their illnesses and in their hour of need. He was truly a great man, a giant among men for he thought not of himself but of the community and others who were more in need. He was an old-fashioned gentleman, courteous and well mannered but also doughty and courageous and prepared to stand firm for his principles. We are all better for having known him.

Throughout his life he embraced students and people of all religions and backgrounds and he did this from the strength of his own Christian upbringing and values. Some of these friendships that were formed as a teacher in the 1950s have lasted for over 50 years and even to this day there are some of his former students and associates who have maintained their close friendship with him. Their love for him and his love for them has been undiminished over these many long years.

He was one of the founders of the London Tamil Christian Congregational church in Putney and in the moving service of prayer and thanksgiving in that very church on 4th November 2005 attended by many hundreds, our prayers have joined those of his family to wish him our fondest farewell when we know he has gone to join his loving God and creator in heaven. We wish to convey our love and deepest sympathy to his sorrowing wife and children and their families and pray that the good Lord will grant them peace of mind and his blessings. We grieve the loss of this colossus among us but we also celebrate the life of one so special and touched by God. May his soul rest in peace.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - NAB Fernando by Keith De Kretser

From the Daily News of 31st March 2006

FERNANDO - BENITO (Dr N.A.B. Fernando), beloved husband of Iranganie, adored father of Mali, Roshi and Ishani, much loved father-in-law of Adolfo, Tom and John, darling Seeya of Edward, Isobel, Miranda, Spiky, Ciara and Arun, son of late Mr and Mrs B.G.R. Fernando, loving brother of late Jenitta, late Greta and Clinton, Geoffrey and Indra and Ranjit and Birgit, passed away on 16th March 2006. Principal of Wesley College 1995 - 2000. Member of National and District Church Committees and Local Preacher of the Methodist Church in the UK and Sri Lanka, forty years service to education in the UK and Sri Lanka, founder member of the Association of Sri Lankans in the U.K. Completed London Marathon five times. There will be an opportunity to say farewell to Dr Fernando for family and friends on Thursday 6th April 2006 between 10 am and 8 pm at A.F. Raymond, 115, D.S. Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 8 and on Friday 7th April 2006 from 8 a.m. to 10.45 a.m. for the Wesley College, Community followed by a service celebrating his life and achievements at 10.45 a.m. at Wesley College Colombo 8. Private family funeral and internment will follow in Moratuwa. The family requests no flowers and any donations to be made to Wesley College, Colombo 8.

The news of the passing Ben has shocked many including his immediate family. I had the privilege as President of the OBU Australia Branch to forge a strong friendship with Ben who I must say was a teacher when I was a student, but who in his time as Principal of Wesley instilled an aura of confidence in his ability as an educator to guide Wesley through a difficult period and to direct Wesley, her staff and students towards greater achievements. The 125th Jubilee celebrations were a fitting tribute to the enthusiasm and pride he established in the alumni groups at Wesley. Those of us that attended the celebrations will remember the good times we shared and we in Australia were delighted to host Ben and Ira Fernando, Louis and Lisbeth Adhihetty and Upali Samararatne for the equivalent celebrations in Melbourne in 1999. It seems like only yesterday that he was here in our midst. Since he became Pricncipal I have made regular contact, and it was only in December, that I sent Ben and Ira a Christmas card.

I rang Ira tonight to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family not only from my immediate family but from all the Wesley College Old Boys in Australia. She was composed and expressed the shock she, the family and many friends the world over had experienced when informed of Ben’s passing. Ira gave me the very sad details of his passing. Many of you may not know that Ben obtained his Ph. D late last year in education and only graduated last Thursday week(9/3). Ira described his graduation as a fitting tribute to his lifetime of work in being an educator and stated that he looked a picture in his red robes when he graduated. Ben was a deeply religious fellow, a staunch Methodist from his roots in Moratuwa and was very involved in Church work both at the local level and the Church in general. He was attending a church conference over three days in Derby. He rang Ira each night (Tuesday, Wednesday) and was looking forward to being back home on Thursday. On the morning of Thursday there was a communion service before the conclusion of the conference. Ben received communion and shortly thereafter collapsed. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead. He had no symptoms of a problem, particularly heart disease. His body is still with the Derby infirmary and an autopsy identified blocked arteries. It was Ben’s wish even though having lived in the UK for almost 40 years, that his final resting place was to be Moratuwa. The family have decided to comply with his wishes. There will be a Service of Thanksgiving for his life this Friday in London, after which his body will be flown to SL where it will remain in State in the Wesley College Hall, his alma mater and the college that was instrumental in his development. His funeral will be on Friday 7th April 2006. Many of us treasure many memories of Ben and let us remember him with fondness and a sense of gratitude for his life’s work with not only Wesley College but with the youth of U.K..

I also noticed in the Sunday Observer(SL) today, that Upali Smararatne has also passed away and his funeral is tomorrow Monday 21 March 2006. It is indeed a coincidence that two friends and old Wesleyites at that should pass away within days of each other.

May their souls rest in peace and God grant them eternal rest.
Lest we forget.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Upali Samararatne

March 19th 2006

UPALI SAMARARATNE - JPUM All Island (Sales Trainer and Marketing Consultant - formerly of Ceylon Tobacco), beloved husband of late Budheni, brother of late Edna, Nalini Razeen and late Ranjith, father of Thushari (Australia), Thanuja and Dhanushika, father-in-law of Welindha Weerakkody (Australia) and Herman Pereira (SriLankan Airlines), grandfather of Mawitha, Cody, Pubudu and Johanne. Cortege leaves residence 17/3 A, Rupasinghe Mawatha, Nedimala, Dehiwala at 2.00 p.m. on Monday 20th March. Cremation at General Cemetery, Borella at 3.00 p.m. 

Remembered by LCR Wijesinghe

r5It was with a sense of disbelief that I heard of Upali Samararatne’s untimely death.I had met him on two separate occasions in December 2004 and he looked quite Healthy and spritely.
Upali was my elder brothers’ classmate and close friend. During College days I was not a member of their “ clique”. My early association with him was as a “rookie” member of the College First Eleven Cricket team. He was the wicket- keeper & vice - captain under the captaincy of Nalendra Abeysuriya. Upali was a hard hitting right-hand batsman and a competent and confidant wicket keeper. He had easily recognizable qualities of leadership and excelled in nearly all of the many extra curricular activies he cared to participate as a schoolboy. Upali left an indelible mark at Wesley and can be considered as one of her noteworthy products.

My friendship with Upali actually developed when he had left college. I became one of his many close friends and was a regular visitor to his Parental home at Wellawatte.
This was during our batchelor days. He was a larger than life personality and was moderate and sensible in his outlook towards life. He was an extrovert and the “ livewire” At any party or social gathering. I will not forget his own characteristic rendering of “ ba ba black sheep” which was a party favourite whenever he was present.

With the pursuit of higher studies, travel , employment & marriage our close association was broken. I am aware that he was a leading personality in Marketing in Sri Lanka and made his presence felt in his chosen field.I am also aware that he was a devoted husband and father to his three daughters.

It is truly sad to hear of his passing away and may he rest in peace.”

From - Neville Weerasekera and Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Upali Samararatne, a pal from my era and a well known and vibrant character. His charisma, warmth and common sense set him apart from the rest. While some were immersed in scholarly traditions, sports was his passion while at school. He excelled in it enormously. Upali was a fine wicket keeper. Sports writer Premasara Epasinghe describes him as one of the best in schools of his time. When he came in to bat there was always a wild cheer that echoed round the grounds inviting him to give the ball an almighty whack. Upali never disappointed his fans. Edmund Dissanayake, the Honorary Coach at the time relates a story of his batting prowess. In the previous week Anton Perera of St.Peters had annihilated the strong St Thomas' team with some fearful bowling. which earned them the sobriquet of "giant killers" in the newspaper headlines. Next week they played against Wesley, and Kenneth de Silva was trembling to go in and face Anton Perera. Upali volunteered to step in and Edmund agreed. Anton Perera's first ball was dispatched for six.So was the second, and the third for a boundary. At this point Edmund yelled from the pavillion be careful, and he blocked . The next went for two. and another four, making 22 runs in the over. Anton Perera stopped bowling and Wesley won the match. He was a fearless soccer player too. His dare and dash in the field and the hall mark sliding tackles subdued many able school teams. Neville Abeygunewardene, his football coach, in his memories of his years at Wesley, pays Upali a handsome tribute . We will remember him for his skills as an enthusiastic gifted sportsman, a natural leader and a fine Prefect at school.

He started his career at Ceylon Tobacco Co, where his excellent public speaking talents were recognised, and he became Training manager in a short while. Later he setup his own firm as a Marketing and Sales Consultant. He had the capacity to hold audiences spell bound. At a Multi Lac Paints Dealer Convention one thousand five hundred people packed the hall. Trade and Commerce Minister Kingsley T. Wickramaratne, Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Reginald Cooray addressed them. The man who kept the audience in pindrop silence was Upali Samararatne who addressed the gathering for nearly two hours.

He rendered yeoman service in setting up Sathosa Franchise scheme and became Chief Executive of the establishment. The Minister had given Mr. Samararatne the task of appointing 5,000 franchisees within two months. It took him only 58 days to achieve the target and the franchise sales reached Rs100 million per month, within four months without any bulk sales to Jaffna at that time.

He conducted a packed seminar on Marketing and Sales at BMICH, the proceeds of which were entirely donated to the Wesley OBU.

His social skills were his greatest asset. He made friends with a wide range of people, whom he brought together with brilliant results. He gradually became a nationally recognised adviser making his name in the field of marketing. He gave marketing in Sri Lanka an extra dimension and became a much sought after speaker in the field. Upali became a Management Consultant well known for his common sense and fine oratory. He was appointed all island JP, an honour bestowed for his integrity and honesty.

Upali was a man of great charm . He had a galaxy of acquaintances among leading figures in politics, corporate organisations and the trade. He was kind and generous to all with whom he worked and was cherished by his many friends

He always had a strong sense of social justice which endeared him to many. One of his final acts for Wesley was to visit an old boy who was in poor health and set up a Benevolent Fund for Old Wesleyites in distress.
He had an indefatigable love for his alma mater. His passion for Wesley was too great to ignore the troubles and the dissolution of the Colombo OBU. I wish very much he was allowed to lead the OBU which he wanted to reorganise and revitalise. Whilst unjustly frustrated by others in these efforts one of last things he did was to organise a get-together of Wesleyites from the1950's. A very happy and successful inaugural meeting of about 20 persons was held on the 27th of January at the Victoria Masonic Lodge. The next meeting was to be on the 8th April ,and Upali was making many phone calls to enlarge the group. Those who met on the last occasion have decided to continue these series of gatherings as a token of remembrance of a loyal Wesleyite.
Upali had much to offer and gave of his best to Wesley and to society. We will not see his huge sixes at Campbell Park ever again. It was a privilege to have known him. His smiling face and cheerful demeanour will be missed by us all. We will always remember him.

May he attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam - Felix Premawardhana

Obituary April 2006

Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

PREMAWARDHANA - FELIX Beloved husband of Indranie, loving father of Kuvera (Cardiff) and Kuveni (Devramani - Sri Lankan Airlines), father-in-law of Sobhani and Ranjit Wijeratne, grandfather of Eranthi and Diluka, expired. Cortege leaves residence on Friday 28th April at 2.30 p.m. for Service at Baptist Church, Cinnamon Gardens at 3.30 p.m. Thereafter interment at General Cemetery, Borella (General Section) at 5 p.m. 617/8, Nawala Road, Rajagiriya No flowers please

Felix Premawardhana was a burly, larger-than-life character, one of that rare breed of schoolmasters who gave their entire school career to one school, Wesley College. There he was ever present 24 hours of the day living in the College flats. Intensity and energy are words that most readily convey the impact of his teaching at Wesley. Like most successful teachers his work and influence did not cease at the school gates. With his background in the Baptist church he played an invaluable role as a counsellor for those in trouble. He had considerable talents and wide interests and was a man of modesty, integrity and kindness. Felix P influenced generations of colleagues and pupils as a teacher. In his interest and many roles in theatre and television became a popular household name in Sri Lanka. In the 1960’s the celebrated British dramatist Peter Schaffer’s play 'Black Comedy' was translated by Felix Premawardhana as 'Kaluware Jaramare' .This was hailed by the theatre critics a great success. For many years he was a stalwart of the school dramatic society when he brought many Sinhala plays to our stage like Ediriweera Sarathchandra's 'Maname'. There were also many productions of his own which he staged at Wesley introducing schoolboys to the pleasures and pain of drama and acting.

Felix P taught many subjects in the middle school. He taught ancient Ceylon history with a passion and held strong views about the original inhabitants of the island. The long held view that they were savages akin to the devil was fiercely contested and dispelled by him. History for him was a story which he related as a master story teller to a spellbound audience. He acted these parts brilliantly bringing the characters to life. It was a fun time provided we had done the homework

Photo: Wesley College Flats

Many would remember him as an energetic teacher of the Sinhala language. He was a strong character and had a real interest in academic detail. Our text was the infamous Kumara-rachanaya, a ‘gruesome’ collection of Sinhala prose, poems and comprehension. It still gives me nightmares and I have been known to recite the poems in my sleep!! He tolerated no nonsense and we all learnt Sinhala to sail through the difficult examinations. Above all he cared for our welfare and never forgot his mission as a teacher. Felix P was my class master in Form 1 in 1954. He had no favourites in class. Everyone was treated with respect. He pronounced his words with clarity and precision and spoke with authority. His message was robustly delivered. He was one of the fine all round teachers of my time.

w7Felix P had a passion for photography and was in charge of the Photographic Club of the school. He was there with his camera to record the proceedings be it the Sports Meet, Prize Giving, or the Founders day celebrations. The agony and the ecstasy of a generation of Wesleyites must be captured in his films. He took an active part in the Student Christian Movement and also joined the Social Service Club. Many would remember him as the enthusiastic master in charge of Hillard House. Felix P served Wesley for over 25 years and was the middle school supervisor for some of the time.

He was always well dressed. My abiding memory of Felix P is his well trimmed handle-bar moustache and his large frame in a light brown gabardine suit walking the long corridors of the school. His loud booming laugh still seem to echo in the background. He inspired great affection in everyone who knew him. Some people, through what they are and what they do, raise our expectations of human nature and thereby lift the spirit. Felix P did this. His serenity. lucidity composure, generosity, gentleness, compassion and sheer indomitable courage in his final illness made him an extraordinary man.

He was strengthened throughout his life by his very happy marriage to Indranie and also by his son Kuvera and daughter Kuveni. To them he gave his love and guidance always. To the school he gave his entire career. We miss him and give God thanks we knew him. We remember and celebrate his life and work. .

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

From Shanta Premawardhana

At his 80th birthday party this January, my uncle Felix, in a speech laced with his characteristic humour said to his guests that he has only a few weeks to live. Expressing his readiness for the inevitable end, he exhorted his family and friends not to be afraid to talk about death, since it is indeed, a part of life. It was one of the more powerful testimonies I have heard about the power of hope over death. Uncle Felix died on Tuesday 25th April 2006.

He was a prominent Baptist and Ecumenical leader in Sri Lanka. A renowned actor and director on stage he was also a movie star. As long-time director of Communications for the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, his efforts resulted in an Arts Centre that included a TV studio and an Arts garden in which artists of various sorts were welcome to rehearse. He was also an international movie critic with Inter-film. He is survived by his wife Indrani (Vice President, Baptist World Alliance), Kuvera (Physician, Cardiff, Wales) and Kuveni Wijeratne (Senior Executive, Sri Lankan Airlines)

I will officiate and preach at his funeral due to be held in Sri Lanka on Friday at 2:30 p.m. I will arrive in Sri Lanka following my meetings in Kazakhstan on the same day at 9:15 a.m. I will post more details following the funeral.

Links to further reading

In Memoriam - Rev. Cyril Premawardhana

Obituary 24th March 1979

Remembered by Dr.Nihal D Amerasekera

q8I am greatly indebted to Dhilanthi Fernando for providing the information about the good Reverend's early years. The photo, as we saw him at Wesley, was sent by Shantha Premawardhana,

Cyril Devadasa Ellawala Premawardhana was born on March 23, 1915. He was 2nd in a family of 10 children. His early life was spent in Horana where his Father was a Baptist Minister and mother a devout Christian. Rev. Cyril Premawardhana received his early education at Carey College which was a prominent Baptist School at the time. He then went on to Serampore, India for his theological education and obtained his BD. (Bachelor of Divinity). In the mid 1950s, Rev. Cyril Premawardhana studied in the United States and was conferred the STM (Masters in Sacred Theology) from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Newton, Massachusetts, and MA from Columbia University, New York. He returned to teach at Wesley College and continued his Church work in Nugegoda where he served his Parish for many years. Later Rev. Cyril Premawardhanastarted a PhD program at Vidydodaya in the late 1960s and went on to North Western University in Chicago to complete his studies. He returned prematurely to SL as his wife Mercy died suddenly that year (1970).

Rev. Cyril Premawardhana moved to the Theological College of Lanka in Pilimatalawa in 1965, and later became its principal in 1977. There he taught Buddhism, World Religions, and was the director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies. He died in on March 24, 1979 of a heart attack, while still the Principal.

He was president of the SL Baptist Sangamaya for 3 terms.

His main contribution to theology was to develop a close association with the Buddhist leadership of Sri Lanka, including Ven. Kotagama Vachissara, and Ven.Walpola Sri Rahula. He led the Theological College to understand that it was important to interpret the Christian gospel in a way that was relevant in the Buddhist context. He did this with much conviction and sensitivity.

I remember with great affection Rev. Cyril Premawardhana, who taught at Wesley from 1954-65. His roots were tenaciously Baptist. His father was a Baptist Minister. He was a committed Christian and an air of his ecclesiastical background remained with him throughout life. While he could have pursued a career as either a churchman or a schoolmaster and would have risen high in either profession, he chose both to become our Chaplain and also a teacher of divinity, history, civics and Sinhala.

As a Chaplain of the school he administered pastoral care with his special brand of discretion, good humour, kindness and commonsense. For this he was loved and respected by us all. He travelled to Wesley College from Chapel Lane Nugegoda in his BSA Bantam motor cycle with his son Shantha on the pillion. Stories were legion of their mishaps on the way.

Rev. Cyril Premawardhana wore his reverends’ collar with pride. He was, in fact, a very able priest. His preaching was memorable and he had a dramatic talent for creating worship that was, easy to comprehend without being intimidating. I recall his scripture lessons when he taught us St. Matthews Gospel. He dissected the text separating fact from fiction with the expertise of a forensic scientist. He showed a tremendous insight into the intricacies of all world religions and contributed enormously to the religious life of the school. We have always found him astonishingly alert and perceptive to alternative philosophies and ideas. He had enormous enthusiasm for teaching and was a great historian and a good Christian.

He taught in the middle school when we were in our mischievous teen years. Occasionally we tested his patience to the brink. There was a brisk rebuke but no canings or tantrums on his part. He controlled the class well with his experience and charm. What you saw was what you got - a man of God.

Rev. Cyril Premawardhana encouraged and inspired generations of students to lead a good life. He suffered from a chronic stiff neck which remained with him all his life. We schoolboys often had a wicked streak in us and called him "Bella" for his infirmity. I am sure he knew it but took it in his stride. That was the true Rev. Cyril Premawardhana and his forgiving Christian spirit. His name was synonymous with kindness and simplicity.

I last saw him when I worked at the Central Blood Bank in Colombo in 1970 when he greeted me with a bear hug. He reminisced in fascinating detail about Wesley, in which we had a common interest, but did not dwell on the past . He had followed events in education at School with a keen eye and made his comments politely. I will always remember this avuncular figure with dark rimmed spectacles and a benign smile. He was an embodiment of those values we cherished at Wesley, and was a wise and kind mentor to many. Rev. Cyril Premawardhana was a gentle soul who brought kindness to an often harsh environment. His humility was awe inspiring and his life was a mission fulfilled.

I recall his passing with deep sorrow, yet feel deep gratitude for having known him.

"GOD TOOK YOU HOME AND GAVE YOU REST"

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Lynfrey. K.(LK) Fernando By Dr. ND Amerasekera

Obituary June 2006

LYNFREY KINGSTON FERNANDO. Beloved husband of Thilaka, dear father of Chamil at Rest with Jesus. His remains will be removed from Raymond Florist Parlour at 10.30 a.m. on the 24/06/06 for service at Union Church Welisara at 11 a.m. and later for burial at the General Cemetery, Welisara. No.28/1, Kurunduwatta Road, Mahabage, Welisara.

I read with much sadness the loss of yet another school friend. We were together from Std 3 (1951) at the age of 9 years. I remember LK as a quiet curly haired chap tall for his age. His father was a Superintendent of an estate in Ingiriya. When Lynfrey was at the boarding his parents came to see him at weekends with his little sister.

Sports was never his forte and one could see this at a glance the way he held the cricket bat but he made up for this by his passion and support for the game throughout his school career.

My lasting memory of Lynfrey will be his gentleness. He spoke no evil, heard no evil and saw no evil. I cannot recall him being angry or unpleasant. I often wish we could have kept in touch. He left school after the GCE in 1960. Our paths never crossed as I left the country to settle abroad.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free.

We will never see his smiling face again but his quiet contribution to life of the school will not be forgotten. His voice and laughter must swirl in the ether of the classrooms and corridors of Wesley.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mrs. Sivasubramaniam - by Keith De Kretser

Obituary 11th August 2006 

Mrs Enid Annaratnam Sivasubramaniam – Mrs Siva Born 7.05.1921 Called to Glory 11.08.2006

Mrs Siva passed away peacefully on 11th August in Sydney Australia surrounded by family and loved ones. My recollections of Mrs Siva is that of a statuesque lady, a strong disciplinarian and a teacher who took a great interest not only in her students but the overall well being of the school community, i.e. staff, pupils and parents and in upholding the highest values for our alma mater Wesley College in every field of endeavour.

Whilst being a strong disciplinarian she also had this maternal instinct that understood the psyche of boys growing up and the scrapes they would get into, being able to deal with and manage the issues and to garner the respect and trust of the students. These characteristics were appreciated by a number of students who felt she was one teacher who bothered to understand their perspective and to afford them appropriate mentoring rather than corporal punishment being meted out as a quick fire solution to dealing with the situation. Mrs Siva acquired these skills by bringing up 6 sons as a single mother. As her son Patta once mentioned she used to punish them when they misbehaved and they would get a thrashing with the stick that was used to push out "pittu" from the old fashioned "pittu bamboos". At a time when single mothers were not known among the community as it is in today’s society, coping with this stigma in a country which embraced certain traditional cultural values and frowned on those in such situations, Mrs Siva balanced her duties as a mother, homemaker and teacher and brought up six sons on a paltry teachers salary. Mrs Siva had a strong Christian faith as she had strong family ties with the church. Her uncle was the first Bishop of Jaffna Rt.Rev.Dr. Sabapathy Kulendran. I recall she would take Christian assembly in Tamil on occasions.

At her funeral, her grand daughter (Ponnambalam - P Siva’s daughter) spoke candidly about the courage and determination of Mrs Siva during this phase of her life I quote from her eulogy, ..”My grandmother had it rough. She was a single mother of six boys in a very traditional society, It was a time I never heard her speak about, but it was a time that embodies her character. My father’s retelling provides me with a myriad of painful images. When she worked at Wesley College, she had only one sari. She would come home from a hard days work, every day wash the sari while she cooked a meal for her sons and happily wear the sari the next day and repeat the process. I know she went without food so her sons could eat. She took a small salary at Wesley College so her sons could attend a private school free of tuition fees. She provided for each of them with a small salary that she had.”

Mrs Siva taught Mathematics and English at Wesley. I recall the many lunch time sessions in the Highfield Block where Mrs Siva trained us to participate in the many successful Wesley College “Do you know?” and “Spelling Bee” teams in the inter-Collegiate competition on Radio Ceylon. She also wore the hat of both a teacher and parent and was also involved with the Parent Teacher Association. When Wesley competed in sport particularly cricket, one would find Mrs Siva there to support “her students”. She was one of those rare breed of teachers who was passionate about her work in a holistic sense and it highlights the wonderful job she did in not only moulding the lives of many students but her overall contribution to Wesley College in an era when Wesley boasted a tutorial staff that shared many of the same ideals as Mrs Siva.

I had the pleasure of meeting her after many years in the late eighties when the Wesleyites in Sydney formed an OBU Branch. She remembered names and always enquired about the well being of the students from yester year. Mrs Siva was active till her last days. In fact I was on a flight to Sri Lanka last year when I met her son Patta who was going to Sri Lanka specially to celebrate her birthday. At one stage in the late eighties she was hit by a car and broke both legs, her hips and her left shoulder. But Mrs Siva’s courage endured, never one to give up she was up and about after recuperating.

Mrs Siva was laid to rest on Tuesday 15th August at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney after a Service of Thanksgiving for her life. All her sons had gathered to give this grand matriarch a fitting farewell. There were many Old Wesleyites who attended the service. Mrs Siva’s final journey from the hearse to her grave involved the Wesleyites in attendance who were invited by the family to carry her coffin to her final resting place.

As the words of the last verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn “Forth in thy name O Lord I go …” which was the second hymn sung at the service state

For thee delightfully employ
whate’er thy bounteous grace hath given;
and run my course with even joy,
and closely walk with thee to heaven.

Mrs Siva thank you for your contribution to Wesley College and the many lives you touched. May your reward for your labour be eternal rest in heaven.

To the family we extend our sincere sympathy particularly Ponnambalam(P Siva), Rev Ariaratnam, Purushothamar Sivasubramaniam (the Athlete who won a number of Public School athletics events – held High Jump record for Public Schools) and Patta who were four of Mrs Siva’s sons that attended Wesley College.


In Memoriam - Charles Yesudian by Dr.N.D.Amerasekera

Passed away on June 23, 2006 

Dear Dr. Amerasekera,
I was trying to contact you since June 23 but I have lost your e-mail address. My father passed away on June 23, 2006 at 09.20 hours at home in Nagercoil at the age of 89. I was at his bedside at the time of his death. His funeral took place at the local Church of South India church on 24th afternoon.
I was going through all his photos of Ceylon , which he cherished so much. I came across one photo, which you may recognize. Please see the attached photo and the signatures behind it. It seemed to me a farewell photograph.
With warm regards.
C.A.K. Yesudian

d2d1Charles Yesudian was an innovative and inspirational teacher of biology, botany and zoology at Wesley from 1949 to 1961. He was a brilliant teacher; former students still recall a lecturer of compelling eloquence and inspiration. His lectures were lucid and skilfully organised. His students admired him unreservedly. He introduced students to the method and purpose of biology in a way that greatly influenced its teaching. Charles Yesudian insisted and introduced a source-based practical approach to the teaching of science. He was an iconic figure during this time and there are many who owe their careers to this great man. He was also a shy, generous and deeply kind man. He had an unswerving commitment to biology and its social purpose.

Charles Yesudian was a hostel master and a good one. His calm demeanour brought kindness and understanding to an otherwise harsh environment. He will mostly be remembered for his efforts in building an enormous library of books and specimens for the Biology Dept. He spent his free time admiring the fauna and the flora of the school grounds. We remember him for his gargantuan efforts to get us through the difficult University Entrance examinations. His words of encouragement still echo in my years. The results in those years speaks for itself. He was a legendary figure. Personally I was very fortunate to have been at Wesley during this time. His contribution to the academic and pastoral life of the school will be fondly remembered by his students for years to come. That was a golden era of science education at Wesley.

Hi Nihal,
It is with great sadness we see another of the great masters of Wesley College pass into the next world. Yesu was not only my biology teacher at Wesley, he was also the Dorm Master in my Senior years in the hostel, he was a great gentle and understanding man, in all my years at the hostel he never raised his voice once at any student, even if we got up to some pranks that deserved more than just a stern talking to. Thanks for the picture it brought back memories, it was good to see some of the senior men at College like Sheriff Fallil, L.C. R Wijesinghe, Nihal Fernando, Daya Perera, yourself and Sarath Wickramaratne. In concluding I can only say we were privileged to be taught not only knowledge by this great man, but also respect for our masters and peers.
Mike Christoffelsz (Australia)

Dear Nihal,
Thanks for your message. ( very sad news ) We at Wesley are privileged and blessed to have had such a wonderful, caring group of teachers. Charles Yesudian was one of the greaest.
I distinctly remember our last year, when the University Exam results were published how elated he was and Lafa too. Their dedication was not only for the education of the students but to make us good citizens of the world. That photo brings back many memories : Each and every one in our batch did very well . I noticed at least five doctors, Sarath Ranasinghe, NJ Nonis, Daya Perera, you and myself. Thanks to Wesley and our great teachers.
Kind Regards

Lakshman Jayasinghe (Brisbane Australia)

Hi Nihal, That is a great picture, I will try to get this enhanced. I was able to recognize most of guys in the picture, some I have a vague idea. Could you write their names,. It is a sad loss for all us who had known him over the years. He laid the foundation for what we are today. The picture does indeed brings back some old memories.

Thanks.

R. Somanathan ( San Diego USA)

Dear Nihal,
Thank you for letting us know of the passing away of Mr Yesudian. He truly was a Wesley icon.May his soul rest in Peace.
I can still recall with fondness, how he commenced his first Zoology class in the Bio lab ,where all of us were seated on Lab Stools,with new copies of that standard Zoology texbook (Grove + Newell) opened before us. If my memory serves me correct, he wanted us to write on the first page the words " Knowing the better and doing the Worst" - Prof Hogg.-- I really do not know who Prof Hogg was, maybe a well known Zoologist. Some of these memories are etched in our minds for always.
Thank you also for sending this autographed photo .......It should be treasured ...brings back so many memories.
Regards
Lalith Wijesingha (Emirates)

Please read the accounts written about Mr. Yesudian in the Teachers section of this website.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam -Tuan Kitchil Amith Fallil

 Obituary August 2006

Retired Central Bank of Sri Lanka, youngest son of late Noor and Nei Bagoos Fallil, beloved husband of Shirley (USA), loving father of Zianka (Medical Student, USA), expired on 9th August. Burial took place on 10th August, New Jersey Muslim Burial Ground. Family members sincerely thank all those who attended Janaza prayers at Kuppiyawatte Muslim Burial Ground on Friday 11th August. 381, Bradley Avenue, Staten Island, NY10314, New York.

From the CSI Adult Learning Center, STATEN ISLAND NY USA

There are students like Tuan Fallil, who fled Sri Lanka in 1996 after a terrorist attack destroyed the bank where he worked as an examiner.
"It was like our Twin Towers," Fallil said, explaining that a truck carrying explosives slammed into the bank, killing 360.
A month later, Fallil arrived in Meiers Corners and soon developed serious medical problems that kept him bedridden for three years. But he worked with his doctors to keep his illness under control.
Although he sometimes had trouble standing up, Fallil began attending classes to earn his GED. "Everyone encouraged me in class," said Fallil, 60, who will begin an undergraduate program in the fall to become a physician's assistant.

This was the last email (April 2006) from my school friend - NDA

Hi ND,
Nice to hear from you. I am sorry for the long silence. Now that I have discovered Nissanke is close by, I am in touch with him. It's a live conversation over the telephone.
End of 2005, Nissanke went to Sri Lanka for his mother's funeral. I was sad to hear about it. I did not know that Nissanke was your cousin. So it was your aunt who passed away.
Back home, Mr Felix Premawardane was a telestar. He appeared in many of the teledramas over the Rupavahini and ITN channels. What impressed me was that he looked and appeared very young. I found it hard to believe that he was my teacher for sinhalese in primary school. Both Mr Felix Premawardane and Rev. Premawardane taught my class Sinhalese. What a difference between the brothers? Rev. Premawardane was easy going while Felix was a 'terror'. His size and voice intimidated us. I wish Mr Felix Premawardane well and may peace be with him.
Reminiscing when I was in the 2nd standard, Mr Felix Premawardane was introduced to the class as having returned from the USA. he wore very dapper nylon shirts and at that time I thought USA was full of people who were well dressed .Now that I am in New York find the people dress weirdly.
So long, I will keep in touch.
TK

His comments in the Wesley College OBU (UK) Guestbook speaks for itself
T.K.A.Fallil
When were you at Wesley? 1950 - 1964
Please write your comments: Ever so grateful to Wesley College.

Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon
From Him do we come and unto Him do we return

Denzil Peter Perera - In Memoriam

Obituary August 2006 age 69

(Proprietor Quali - Packs) Past President Old Weslyites Sports Club). Beloved husband of late Joyce, son of late Victor and of Virginia, father of Sharmini, Aasha (LA-Petit Fleur) and Hiran, father-in-law of Malik, Vikum (Scanwell) and Dinali, brother of late Bertus late Clarice and of June, Neville, Cynthia and Roger, darling grandfather of Shirantha, Sugath, Keyasha, Yasara, Dishara, Hashini and Anisha. Cortege leaves residence on 31st August at 3.00 p.m. for service at Sacred Heart Church Rajagiriya and burial at General Cemetery Kanatte at 4.30 p.m. (RC Section). No. 55/1, Buthgamuwa Road, Welikada, Rajagiriya.

 

From Richard Dwight:

It is with regret that we record the passing away of Wesley's and CR&FC's hockey star of yester-years and, the former President of the Old Wesleyites Sports Club - D. Peter Perera, affectionately known to many as Denzil. Denzil wasn't enjoying good health for quite sometime now and, more recently was confined to his home, and eventually succumbed peacefully to cross the great divide on Tuesday night at the age of 69. A loyal stalwart of Wesley College , he had his entire education, both primary and secondary at Wesley, to which he stood committed to the end. Endowed with a pleasing personality and a fine physique, he was found to be meticulous student and a good sportsman, where he excelled at hockey with his trade mark powerful drive. Denzil in the wider sphere of life worked at Aitken Spence, before breaking out on his own to be the proprietor of 'Quali Packs'.

He was actively involved in mercantile hockey, participating in many a national. By far the best and crowing moment of his, was when he was a member of the first ever mercantile hockey team's tour of South India in 1956 where apart from Denzil amongst the others were Hugh Aldons, Vernon Prins, Chandra Schafter, V.S.De Kretser, Dennis de Rosayro, Ivan de Kretser and a few more. Amidst the constraints in the work-a-day business life, his concern however was to see his college and the club forging ahead. And so he gave sacrificially to both institutions, in an attitude of let not your left hand know, what your right hand doeth. He gave tone and direction to the OWSC during his revival days and was its President for 3 years.

Denzil liked the good things of life, he was a moderate and the good virtues he imbibed at school was brought to bear in later years and his salient feature was, that he knew when to speak and when to withhold his speech. He was a kindly man, of quiet disposition and a true friend, the like of whom Wesley will not see for a long time. His mortal remains which lie at his home in Rajagiriya, will be taken to the Rajagiriya Sacred Heart Church for a service at 3.15 p.m. and thereafter for burial at 4.15 p.m. at the Borella Cemetery . Denzil, whose wife predeceased him, is survived by his two daughters Charminie, and Asha and his son Hiran. For Denzil, there will now be no more pain or grief, may his soul rest in peace

From LR Goonetilleke (1999) :

Mr. Denzil Perera was appointed the President of the OWSC in 1994 with Tyrone Maye and Sunil Fernando as Secretaries. It was during his tenure of office that Captain Navin De Silva was appointed as convenor for the expansion of the Second phase of the club. Navin De Silva was motivated by a donation of Rs. 25,000/- made by Dr. G. Paul and the reserves in the club's coffers. He had Ivor Mahroof as Secretary of the project committee and late R. Kukendran designing and supervising the project. Some old Wesleyities contributed generously for the expansion and their names appear in the Roll of Honour displayed at the Club House. A plaque to honour President Denzil Perera was installed, on his gifting a magnificent Billiards table to the Club. His splendid and generous munificence, certainly enhanced the Club's status and profile.

From LCR Wijesinghe:

I came to know him with the work leading to the establishment of the OWSC . The most noticeable trait of his was his overwhelming generosity .
He had a passion for ballroom dancing and was a regular attendee at all the OBU and OWSC Annual Dances with his dear wife Joyce who predeceased him. Denzil lived a full life and enjoyed it to the maximum until fate dealt a cruel blow, by an illness which left him partially paralysed , wheelchair bound and bereft of Clear speech. Denzil was a past President of the OWSC and held that office with dignity. I recall the pleasant times shared with him at the numerous social gatherings I had the priviledge of attending. He had a large circle of friends and a close knit family . Neville and Roger were younger brothers and both outstanding Old Wesleyites I am aware he had an elder brother Bertus who was a DIG of Police and studied at Wesley.
Though my association with Denzil was a short one I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know him and appreciate his humane qualities.

May his soul rest in Peace.

Grieve not too long but look around,
In earthly things he can be found
A falling leaf, a growing tree,
In every breeze flying free.
As you were, you will always be remembered.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Milroy Bulner - A Tribute by Lalith C.R.Wijesinghe

Milroy Bulner was my front door neighbour at Baddagane,Kotte from about 1961 to 1962. He stayed with his sister Wilma and brother in law, who was a Captain in the SL Army, during this time. The two of us were Senior students at Wesley and were members of the 1st XI Cricket team as well. He was my senior by one year in the Cricket team, Milroy was Vice-Captain of the cricket team in 1961 which was his final year. He was an accomplished right hand batsman. He was also a College Prefect & won College colours for Cricket.
We became close friends during these last years at College travelling to College together & also coming home together after cricket practise. What struck me most about Milroy was his good manners, sensitive nature & concern for others. These were admirable qualities to possess & spoke truly of his family which was well knit & loving with good family values.I recall the regular conversations the two us used to have as schoolboys on our doorstep, sometimes till late evening.

Soon after leaving College he found employment with a Tea Trader in Colombo & worked there for a few years. Subsequently he joined the Trincomalee Tea Administration & moved to Trincomalee. This was the time I lost contact with him & regret it so dearly. As I never got the opportunity to see Milroy Bulner again. I came to know that he died suddenly of renal failure, after a brief illness. It was a premature & sad end to a life which could have meant so much to so many. Milroy, will be remembered fondly by his friends & family."

Addendum by ND Amerasekera
I first came across Milroy Bulner in the Primary School when he was in a parallel class. Then we were both in the boarding. He was a quiet lad with a deep sense of what’s right and wrong. I saw this when we played softball cricket together in the small park and umpired our own matches. He was a fine all round cricketer and had a good understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of the game. He partook in the mischief and the fun which was endemic in the hostel. This took our minds off the blight of homesickness. Milroy was a popular figure in the school and in the hostel. His place in the 1st XI cricket team of 1960 as its vice captain attracted the usual fan club of juniors. Even after I left the boarding in 1958 we continued to meet in the long corridors of our school for a chat and a laugh. Sadly after I left school in 1962 our paths never crossed . It is with deep sadness I note his demise at the prime of his life. The world needs the likes of him, kind, forthright and honest. There is some truth in the saying "Only the best die young". As they say for cricketers "may the turf lay lightly on him".

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me -
God wanted me now, God set me free.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Marshall Perera Remembered by ND Amerasekera

Obituary September 2006

PERERA - MARSHAL Long Standing Worker of Wesley College for 68 years, expired. Funeral Saturday the 23rd at No.28, Mahindu Mawatha, Railway Town, Kekirawa.

a6Marshall was the Office 'Peon' and man Friday doing the errands and making the coffee. He worked the Gestetner cyclostyle machine and generated the paperwork that oiled the machine that ran the school. He was a close associate of Mr Eric De Silva, the Bursar, who was the backbone of the school for over 30 years. Marshall walked the long corridors of the school many times everyday carrying the good and bad news and the paperwork to the teachers. In the process he warned us the Principal was on his way - "becareful".

It is indeed an end of an era. I have always associated Wesley with Marshall. With his three quarter sarong and his toothy smile Marshall was often seen 'loitering with intent' within the school premises. He looked after school property as if it were his own. Marshall had a remarkable memory and knew all the students and teachers past and present. On my many trips to Wesley it was Marshall who greeted me first. He never failed to take me on a conducted tour of the school mentioning little snippets of news of old boys and Past teachers. He conducted his many duties with dignity and honesty. Marshall is the last of a long line of dedicated workers who have provided such a fine service to the school over many decades. Ranis the Great, Chemistry Rodrigo, Physics Silva and Marshall formed a quartet of dedication to the school. Their lives were closely interwoven with the fabric of the school. Their combined years of service would amount to an incredible 200 years. They were an integral part of the school community and will all be remembered fondly and with much respect by the many generations of school boys who have passed through the gates of Wesley College.

I do not think Marshall ever retired. He was too much a part of Wesley. An old soldier who remained loyal to the very end to just fade away into eternity. He is one of our definitive cultural figures. A man of unsurpassed knowledge of Wesley's recent history, and of its dignity and heart.

The grateful Old Boys built a house for Marshall in Kekirawa for his retirement.

Links to further reading

May he attain the ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam - Glen Rabot by Yohan Ferreira

December 2009

s4RABOT - GLEN (Odel Pvt. Ltd), Died under tragic circumstances. Darling son of Maurice and Patricia, dearly beloved nephew of Florence, May, Anton, Elaine, Christopher, Hillarine, Trevor and Mignon, sadly missed by all grieving cousins. Cortege leaves A.F. Raymond's Funeral Parlour on Saturday 9th December 2006 at 4.30 p.m. Burial at General Cemetery, Kanatte (General Christian Section). 15, Wewala Road, Weligampitiya, Ja-ela.

I have some sad news to share. Some of you may
remember Glen Rabot of the 1998 batch. He had met with
an accident last evening and passed away.

While at school Glen was a Prefect and the Vice President of the Student Christian Movement. His body will lie at A. F. Raymonds funeral parlour in Borella from this evening (Thursday). The funeral is on Saturday, 9th December 2006.

Glen will be sadly missed by many of us who knew him.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Brian Goonetilleke remembered

By Nihal D Amerasekera

Died in May 1976

q3Brian was a boarder with me at Wesley in the mid 1950's. I remember him as a decent and polite friend mad about cricket. He joined in the fun and the laughter ever present in the boarding. I will always remember his smiling face. Brian left Wesley to join Law College where he qualified to practice the profession in the Matugama and Kalutara Courts. He married Chandrani Corea and had 2 sons Sanjeeva and Shelan. He died after a tragic accident at home aged 34. With his honesty and kindness he would have made a good lawyer. Sadly his life was cut short in its prime before he was able to serve his community to the full. As they say only the good die young. We will always remember him.

Born in April 1942

Died in May 1976

Your precious memories are for keepsakes,
with which we never part,
God has you safely in his keeping,
But we have you forever in our thoughts

I thank Damian his brother for providing the information and the photograph

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Trevor Gunasekera - Tributes from his friends

Photo - Trevor Gunasekera taken from the 1st XV Rugby photo -1959

From ND Amerasekera

Trevor was an icon of our time at Wesley. Above all it is his eccentricity that has made him an iconic figure. Even after the passage of nearly 50 yrs we still remember Trevor and his antics. I have vague recollections of Trevor as a Rugby player. Built like a tank those who tackled him must have felt his presence!!
Trevor was a decent bloke at school despite his somewhat erratic behaviour. He was always teased at Wesley which he handled with characteristic belligerence. His unsophisticated humour often amused and even frightened us in those days as he pounced on unsuspecting students. Perhaps his innate affability was not allowed to surface due to his personal circumstances. He never failed to give me the customary "Salaam" in the long corridor. Occasionally he extended his kindness by tapping me on the back with his powerful spade like hands sending me reeling onto the tarmac below. Then came the booming baritone voice next to my ear "sorry ND, are you ok". When we left school, sadly, our paths never crossed and I never saw him again. I sincerely hope he had a good life. I wish to remember Trevor as he was in the 1950's, a firebrand. I am convinced behind that aggressive facade was a gentler soul. It would be true to say he has left a void that can never be filled!!

Our brotherhood of Wesleyites extend our condolences to his family.
May God Bless you Trevor and mind the pearly gates of heaven and open them gently!!

From Robin Reimers

My story is about my first meeting with Trevor since 1961.....its important that you know that this story is told "sine livor" (without malice....hell if its good enough for Keith its good enough for me!!..)

It was during the 125 year celebrations in 2000...a group of us Aussie Wesleyites decided that we would meet for a pre function drink at "the Library" of the Trans Asia Hotel where a lot of us were staying at the
time.I had managed to make contact with Trevor at Crescat Residencies that afternoon & decided that it would be good if he could make it to this get together where he would be able to meet others like Bill Deutrom,Reg Bartholomeusz,Keith DeKretser etc (well it seemed like a good idea to me at the time!!!)

The original intention of the the group was to have a couple of drinks prior to the main event which was the 125 Year Celebration Ball.....as is the normal Aussie way it was planned that the bill would be split between us all and away we would go.....now that was the plan untril Trevor got in the way...he had arrived there with a big big thirst which seemed to get bigger by the minute.....double scotch after double scotch gleefully chased with a cold beer had us Aussies looking at one another & wondering

(a) how much can this bloke drink

(b) do we have enough money to pay the bill &

(c) how to "cut & run".....well a plan was hurriedly hatched that we call a last round of drinks...no names.... but a bloke whose 1st name is William & surname starts with D offered to pay for Trevor's considerable consumption which went a long way towards soothing the angst that had built up among some of the Aussies & partners who had no idea who Trevor was anyway! Everything looked to be going ok until a waiter arrived to say that a gentleman over in the corner would like to buy our group another round of drinks.....the man in the corner turned out be Afghar Mohideen who was in a deep discussion with a member of one of Sri Lanka's ruling families(not the Senanayakes)....after a quick discussion (Trevor's opinion was not sought!!) it was decided that we would seek a rain check on Afghar's kind offer......you all also need to know that this was the only drink that was refused by us for the entire period of celebrations!!!!I did see quite a deal more of Trevor during the next fortnight at the various events & enjoyed his company over a drink or three. I shall remember Trevor for being a man of considerable bluster on the outside but a very genuine person on the inside

From Peter Christie

Fortunately for me I met Trevor while I was on my way to an assignment and the company van i was in just happened to slow down, because of the Temple Trees traffic on a bright Colombo morning. Lo and behold was the "looming larger than any Wesleyite" image of Trevor or Golu standing on the pavement, waiting for a "putt putt, tukk tukk" or whatever. I remembered not to let my enthusiasm get the better of me so after careful thought I shouted out "Joe" instead of my usual "Goluwa". He approached and asked me "where the .... are you going to?" "Assignment" I replied very meekly, remembering his knuckles hurt. He opened the door and said "drop me at St. Michaels" (THE BLANKS ARE ON FOR LOU's heart). I told the driver that he had a detour and that the mahathaya was a senior "ussas police niladhraiyek" and we took old Golu to St. Michael's. "Wait for me" and I did. I was thinking to my sef "You mess up everybody's life and you are still scared........... when you see Golu."
He finished his whatever he came for, then wanted to be driven back to where I had picked him from. According to Willie only Layton VanderPutt could have said "no" to Golu and I decided that playing tough guy was not advisable. More traffic jams and Joe got talking about "Blubber". Now Robin, I had not heard you nick name since 1961.Le morale de l'histoire. I bought the driver a meal just in case someone had seen us all together and wondered why I had a war-head in the back seat of a Lake House vehicle

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Allan Eustace Gunawardena by a family friend

Our lives were enriched by his friendship

To all those who knew Allan Eustace Gunawardena, his untimely demise on January 27, 1997 has left an immense void, and a sorrow filled emptiness. An illustrious product of Wesley College, Colombo, Eustace — as he was affectionately known — played a leading role in the affairs of the Wesley College Old Boys Union, and was elected its vice president. Today, an English literature prize is awarded in his name for the best Year 11 student at Wesley.After some years of in the Treasury, Eustace served as the principal of a private school in Colombo. He took a keen interest in developing the school and worked tirelessly to help mould the students.During his spare time Eustace engaged himself in writing poetry and other literary works such as Poems of Sri Lanka, Reconciliation and Reconsideration, and Sara Makes a Bid.

He also edited his own journal Liberty and Progress from 1964 to 1970. Eustace was also involved in the World Liberal Movement and attended the World Liberal Convention in Tel-Aviv and the School for Freedom in New Delhi.Eustace never forgot to fulfill his duty towards his family. He was a devoted and faithful husband to his wife Florence, loving father to Sitha, and doting grandfather to Viranga.

The world he belonged to no longer exists. A true gentleman, Eustace was unassuming. He went through life hardly revealing his many achievements.Leonardo Buscaglia who authored a number of New York Times best-selling inspirational books on love and human reticence, eloquently sums up the indelible imprint Eustace made on all whose lives touched by him:

I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death.
They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make.
Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories.
We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.

A Tribute by his Grandson (Sunday Times 23/01/2011)

January 27 marks 14 years since my grandfather went to rest in the arms of Jesus. During my early, formative years, he not only played the role of grandfather, but also that of a father figure. There is so much to tell about my grandfather. It is no easy task to capture the essence of his life in this limited space.

My grandfather made my childhood and teenage years delightful and memorable. Those years are forever etched in my memory.

He took me to school each morning and brought me home in the afternoon. He took me for scout training on Saturdays and for tennis classes on Sundays. My fellowship with my grandfather during my childhood and youth are filled with vivid recollections and unforgettable experiences. We shared so much in those years.

He was a true gentleman – a rare breed in this day and age. He taught me by example to be forthright, to tell the truth, to pay one’s debts on time, and to stand by one’s principles, whatever the inconvenience. I appreciated the honest, clean example he set for me to follow.

He influenced me to look at my life from a positive perspective, to enjoy each and every day, and to contribute to society. My grandfather was a great man. His commitment to God, Church and Family was total. He loved everyone, and everyone loved him in return. In his latter years, circumstances did not offer me the chance to be close to him. I was deeply saddened to hear of his demise, and that I was unable to be at his bedside in his last days.


In Memoriam - Diyanesh Rajaratnam

By Suresh Muthulingam

 Obituary March 1997

Ten years have passed so fast since Diyanesh passed away in March 1997.

After having attended Wesley College and Thurstan College, Diyanesh took to law in the family tradition and passed out as an Attorney-at-Law. He was one of the first to successfully complete the MBA programme at the University of Colombo.The mundane business of making money however attracted him little. This led him to join the Employers Federation of Ceylon and specialize in labour law.

Diyanesh was also a great sportsman and excelled in rugger and cricket. He was also a cricket commentator during the latter years of his short life that ended in 1997 when he was 44 years. Those who knew Diyanesh will agree that there was something exceptional about him. He had a remarkable mind and he read and wrote widely. He was a gifted draftsman and an accomplished advocate. New or intricate legal points interested him. His uncanny and profound knowledge of the law coupled with his ability to direct one to an authority from memory was unusual.

He did not parade his knowledge but humbly shared it with all who sought his advice. He was known for his humanity and particularly helping little people who needed help. Diyanesh's achievements speak for themselves and he brought an unparalleled degree of dignity, courtesy, fairness, candour and complete integrity to everything he did. His knowledge of the law was one matter. He could talk with authority on the classics, science, poetry, sports or whatever. There is so much respect for Diyanesh's pursuit of perfection. He demanded so much from himself and instilled into all who surrounded him that great yearning for perfection.

I write about Diyanesh now as he deserves to be remembered. Diyanesh was a great man and was a role model par excellence.

"They who think that you are gone,
Because no more your face they see,
Are wrong, for in our hearts you live
And always will in memory".

Our thoughts are with his beloved wife Devarani and his two wonderful daughters Dashanya and Dhanushka.

Addendum : Diyanesh Rajaratnam

'His life was a sparkling knock of brilliant strokes'
The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes,
And he that tossed Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all - He knows - He knows!

The Rubaiyat

And so, very unexpectedly, so stunningly and so dramatically, the life of Diyanesh Rajaratnam ended on the morning of March 25. This day also was the 17th wedding anniversary of Diyanesh and Devarani.Diyanesh was a devoted family man and whatever his professional duties were, he made time for his family. He doted on his two daughters.I first became acquainted with Diyanesh and his manifold talents, when he was leading his school cricket team. His versatality was obvious and he revelled in playing cavalier cricket. He appeared destined to blaze a trail in the sports arena.

I next encountered him when he applied to join our professional staff at the EFC. He was recruited as an Assistant Secretary fifteen years ago and rose to the position of Assistant Secretary-General which he held with distinction. He was also appointed as Director Training subsequently.Diyanesh had many opportunities to exhibit his forensic talents at the EFC. He grasped a point very quickly, he assessed facts very shrewdly, he cross-examined with rapier thrust effectiveness and could either charm his judge or stand up to him as the occasion demanded. At times his zeal seemed excessive, but there were many member companies who loved his approach and sought him out to handle their work. They perceived a Rambo-like streak in Diyanesh, which perhaps he gained on the rugger field, having once been an outstanding player.

In recent times, I entrusted to him some challenging assignments. He handled the disputes at Ceylon Diamonds, Polytex Garments, Veyangoda Textiles and Pugoda to name a few. He was always self- confident and could stand eyeball to eyeball against the strongest opposition. He delivered results in all these matters.Communication skills were a blessing which Diyanesh was probably born with. Whether in English or Sinhala he had a facile and engaging way of putting a thing across. These skills were used to the fullest in his training activities.

He was a born improviser and once an idea was put to him, he was unstoppable and would make the best use of it. He had a flair for articulating an idea and the Supervisory Training Programme which he ran for several years will perhaps be a lasting monument to his competence as a trainer. He was an Attorney-at-Law like his father, the late S.S. Rajaratnam and his brother Suresh-Chandra. Diyanesh had undergone specialised training with the I.L.O. in the field of Human Resource Development and he was one of the first to obtain an M.B.A. from the University of Ceylon (Colombo Campus).

Diyanesh's passing was in keeping with his character. He always appeared to me to be in a hurry. He worked until a few hours before his death. The news of his death therefore shattered us, his colleagues at the EFC. Diyanesh played his last innings with aplomb walking out without waiting to be ruled out. His life was a sparkling knock, studded with brilliant strokes which will remain in our memories.

I was proud to have been his boss but I am more proud that even in discussing our official work Diyanesh lapsed into calling me 'machang' which was the term which he used liberally with all his colleagues at the EFC.
Franklyn Amerasinghe
Secretary-General,
Employers' Federation of Ceylon (EFC).

A reservoir of legal knowledge, he shared it with all by Suresh Muthulingam

Diyanesh Rajaratnam

Sixteen years have passed so fast since Diyanesh Rajaratnam passed away in March 1997.Educated at Wesley College and Thurstan College, Diyanesh took to law in the family tradition and passed out as an Attorney-at-Law. He was also one of the first to successfully complete the MBA programme at the University of Colombo. The mundane business of making money however attracted him little. This led him to join the Employers Federation of Ceylon and specialise in labour law.

Diyanesh was also a great sportsman and excelled in rugger and cricket. He was also a cricket commentator during the latter years of his short life that ended in 1997 when he was 44. Those who knew Diyanesh will agree that there was something exceptional about him. He had a remarkable mind and he read and wrote widely. He was a gifted draftsman and an accomplished advocate. New or intricate legal points interested him. His uncanny and profound knowledge of the law coupled with his ability to direct one to an authority from memory was unusual. He did not parade his knowledge but humbly shared it with all who sought his advice.

He was known for his humanity and particularly helping those who needed help. Diyanesh’s achievements speak for themselves and he brought an unparalleled degree of dignity, courtesy, fairness, candour and complete integrity to everything he did. His knowledge of the law was one matter. He could talk with authority on the classics, science, poetry, sports or whatever. There is so much respect for Diyanesh’s pursuit of perfection. He demanded so much from himself and instilled into all who surrounded him that great yearning for perfection.

I write about Diyanesh now as he deserves to be remembered. Diyanesh was a great man and was a role model par excellence.
“They who think that you are gone, because no more your face they see, are wrong, for in our hearts you live and always will in memory”.


In Memoriam - Norman ARMSTRONG

Obituary March 2007

Beloved son of the late Fred and of Gladys, husband of Kumu, brother of Gordon and the late Herman and Rani and of Sharmini. Cortege leaves A.F. Raymond's Funeral Parlour on Saturday 24th March at 3.30 p.m. Cremation at General Cemetery Kanatte at 4.00 p.m.

Norman Armstrong by Peter Cassiechitty

At some stage or other in our lives at Wesley , we have all run into the most colourful Armstrong family. Three brothers -- Gordon, Herman and Norman , were prominent their mischievous ways.

Well the youngest and the brother I knew best, has passed away and it is heartbreaking to think that the last time I set my eyes on him was over the "tsunami" period. I was rushing to an assignment and lo and behold Norman's gravel grinder voice boomed out "Ado, Val Kitchi" a la "parana coat Roberts". Needless to say, I forgot teh assignment for a while and we stood outside the War/Memorial comparing notes, England, France, Sri Lanka and mostly Wesley College and the "Bullet, Balli and Bella days". I remember him describing me as the professional scorer in the 1963 cricket team and having a hearty laugh when we lost to Richmond by an innings under Thurairatnam in 1965.

I remembered the dreaded days when the cricket team was at the butt of his jokes and imitations, but then who could have blamed him. He'd run into Royalists and Thomians at Sunday school and he got a hard time from them. He was the opening quotes as Dennis Azariah was the closing quotes. Like Lone Ranger and Tonto, they hunted in pairs these two.
Norman would sheepishly avoid me when the Rugby team were on show in the second term, but the two paragraphed articles were easily missed and I was always late enough to miss the announcement in the College Hall.
Norman and Herman were reported to have been at many weddings without being invited. I never found out whose imagination was running riot, but I would not put it above these two to do a "gate crash" just for a laugh. Some laugh we had when they told us how they'd walk around gorging themselves at the Cinnamon Gardens parties pretending to be relatives of either the bride or grooms parties depending on who they were speaking to. Takes a lot of brass balls !!!
Norman, I know that if your are in heaven the inmates will all be having cramps laughing.
So after Golu Gunasekera, it is now you. We have buried Lovell and Cedric Van Dort and now here is good ole Norm. Guys keep in touch, say a prayer that his soul will be at a party where he'll meet Golu and the rest.


In Memoriam - Asoka Ranasinghe (ASP) and Shirley Ranasinghe (SSP)

By Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

ASOKA RANASINGHE(ASP)- (Attorney-at-Law J.P.U.M. Minuwangoda Courts). Beloved husband of Amitha, father of Kasun (Attorney-at-Law), Sathika (Open University), father-in-Law of Dr. Deepika (Base Hospital - Negombo), grandfather of Nadith, expired. Cortege leaves residence at 3 p.m. on 8th June 2007. "Court Lodge', Veyangoda Road, Minuwangoda.

Asoka and Shirley were brothers who enriched our lives in the boarding in the 1950's. They hailed from Minuwangoda and I remember his parents visiting them in the hostel. They were fine softball cricketers in the small park and excelled in the fiercely competitive house matches. Asoka was a good left arm spinner making full use of the uneven batting strip of the infamous small park. Asoka left Wesley in 1957 to enter Law College and started his career in Puttalam where he became a respected Attorney. Asoka was reticent but quietly determined and would have been a formidable opponent in the Law Courts. His popularity and influence grew and in 1972 he contested the Puttalam seat for the MEP to become a member of parliament although without success. I doubt the cut-throat nature of Sri Lankan politics would have suited him and he decided not to stand at the next general election. As a fine product of Wesley he improved the lives of many. Asoka moved back to his hometown in his later years. In 1969 attending Puttalam Magistrates' courts as a Judicial Medical Officer I tried in vain to locate Asoka. Perhaps he was not working that day. I never met him after leaving school and wish we had the opportunity to meet and reminisce as we had much in common.

SHIRLEY RANASINGHE (SSP): Prefect 1956-57, College Debating Team 1956, College Volley Ball Team 56-57, Asisstant Librarian 1956-57, Gogerly Scholarship 1955. College Hockey team 1956-57, SP Foenander Scholarship 1953, Dr S Fernando Memorial Prize 1953, Mendis Gunasekera memorial Prize 1955

Shirley was a good all round cricketer and an academic, winning many prizes and awards at Wesley. He was well respected and was held in high esteem at school. He was known for his remarkable memory and love of the sciences. We admired his quick mind and sense of humour. In those days we realised he could be a fearsome foe or a staunch ally. Shirley became a prefect in his final year at School.

He left school in 1959 to enter Medical College Colombo. With his sharp mind, kind and caring ways he would have made a good doctor. In spite of the brightness of his glittering school career, Shirley’s personal life was plagued by darkness and occasional despair. He was bedevilled by severe depression. Shirley was unable to complete his medical studies and left its precincts to lead a quiet life in Minuwangoda. Here his mental illness troubled and tormented him until his untimely end in 1962. He sadly took his own life.

May they both attain the ultimate bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam - Donald W.Thurairatnam by Peter Casiechitty

D.W Thurairatnam 1946 – 2007

w5I remember quite vividly one Saturday morning in August 1960. The memorandum on the main notice board by the hall had said that Under 16 cricket practice would be held in the first week of the August holidays. I needed to show off a second hand pair of “Winit” cricket boots given to me by a Peterite friend. He had grown out of it and it fitted me like a glove so to speak.

I sneaked into the pavilion and changed. Most of the other boys, a year at the most older, were already on the grounds. Nigel Christoffelsz, my classmate and the only friend I could have relied on, was on holiday somewhere far away where his father a Senior Police Office was stationed. Nigel did not need to come as early as we did because his place in the side as wicket keeper was established; beside he could bowl and bat. Teddy Campbell walked off with a group of accomplished players and as captain, started fielding practice.
One other boy, I noticed was as ill at ease as I was and I am sure neither of us fancied our chances of making the final fifteen .Donald Thurairatnam and I were in the same group for fielding and when Mr. Edmund Dissanayake asked him to “pad up”, I could notice a lot of furtive glances aimed at Thurairatnam. Allan Jansz and the quicks were allowed to test the left-hander and he was up to it, moving his feet and driving beautifully through the covers.
Walking back after practice, he looked to me – I must add that I had taken a lot of stick till the ball was tossed to me and somehow the jokes at my expense ended as did practice.
I knew everyone at practice having joined Wesley as a kindergartener. We walked talking about “who’s who” and he seemed impressed. When the season started he batted at the top of the order and I was in as a reserve, till Teddy Campbell fell ill and Allan Jansz took over. My friendship with Thurai grew and we became inseparable.
The first year he showed what a stylish left-hander he was and made good scores.
The next year he was skipper and Ananda Thevadasan his deputy. Things worked well because in both seasons we beat Royal and St. Thomas' -- not a mean feat.
So then came the best when we were in the 1963, Ist Eleven. He said he could not spell so I had to do the scorebook. He carried the water. Milroy Mutuvaloe and Darrell Maye led us to great games and Wesley was the Best School’s Team. Darrell Maye, Schoolboy cricketer.

The author- Peter Casie Chetty
The following year we had Everard Schoorman and Mervyn Hamer to lead us. His best effort for me was when he partnered Mervyn Hamer in a record-breaking partnership and he was on song nearing closing on a hundred when Perusinghe the Kingswood skipper attacked his leg stump.
He was back and a chance to make the ton, gone. More often than not since that match he made starts but every school seemed to know he liked to sweep and Thurai played by instinct. He did not play anywhere near his potential. He was an energetic fielder who shared the catching positions with Russell Hamer and Willie Deutrom. Team effort and I made headlines in one match, after the Coach Mr. Henry Van Buuren threatened to drop me.Thurai may not have been the century-maker Lou Adhihetty was, nor did he hold catches as spectacular as Sarath “Monkey” Wickremaratne or Russell Hamer did. His leg breaks were not exactly like C.T.Rodrigo’s and rarely landed where he wanted them to. But he was one hell of batsmen. Good enough to be picked for the Under 18, Ceylon Schools’ team under Anura Tennekoon of St. Thomas’ and later Sri Lanka Skipper.
I had to bowl at him when we were both called up for Ceylon Schools trials. Although Thurai was chosen to play on the same side as I, a last minutes switch meant that I did all my bowling at him. The inevitable happened. Thomian Sriyantha Rajapakse was selected to play and I was OUT of the side because Thurai “murdered” me instead of Rajapakse. I think I burned all my bridges with representative cricket that day, a headstrong teenager with one remark to the Chairman of Selector’s.
Thurai was an International cricketer at 17, as was Russell Hamer who represented Colombo schools against the Touring Indian Schools Under Sunil Fernando (St. Benedict's) and was two month's short of his 16 Birthday. Had he been encouraged as Farweez Maharoof has been Hamer would have risen to greater heights. However Wesley's so called historians have conveniently forgotten these achievements.
The following year Thurai was elected Captain and I was his vice captain. Everything went well till we played Royal College. The Royalist we had in a stranglehold but for one batsman and he saw them out. The intricacies of playing on grass we never mastered and things went from bad to worse. With each match Thurai was getting into a shell, looking for some reason to hide away from this bad dream, till the ultimate humiliation came in Galle. Does anybody remember though that we had no one to tell us where we were to go. No proper coach and no support. We both looked up and saw nothing coming but criticism. The one man who could have saved us was Edmund Dissanayake who was faced with his personal difficulties and could not help us bail out. Thurai went to pieces and I was no better. We were like the “babes in the wood”, I survived because I was street wise.
Thurai was the polite boy who never swore, so I did all the swearing sometimes on his behalf. I was surprised when the announcement was made that I was vice captain. Willie Deutrom I thought should have skippered and Thurai vice captain. Wesley College is somehow different and full of little surprises.
Thurai I noticed had an accent and said things like 'runk and 'riving or benian and bino clauses (binoculars) we'd have a laugh all round. He always took it well unlike others who refused to speak to us if we got at them. He was a real gentleman and he sulked only for a moment.
Club Cricket - and we played for rival Clubs, he for Colts and I for BRC. We rarely met and when journalism put an end to my cricket, Thurai moved on and out of sight. When I migrated I made it a point to look for him whenever I returned, but by then he had migrated to Australia there leading a very quiet life.
He avoided the limelight and one Founder’s day speech in 1965 clearly showed how timid he was. Making the speech before lunch that day was like dragging him to the gallows across the road. This was one event I could never stand in for him and his intention to feign illness was soon shot down. William Deutrom wrote out the speech and I added the bits and pieces. We even sat beside him and I remember sitting there and watching him read the manuscript with a tremor in his voice in harmony with the rustling of the paper as his hands shook.
Although the speech was written and meant to be short I suspect he even skipped a paragraph or two.
He was a good friend, a decent person and a true Wesleyite. Each and everyone who knows him will miss him. He will find a nice quiet spot wherever he goes, and that will be outside the lights, so may his soul Rest in Peace. –

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mano Gnanapragasm by Shanti Mclelland

Obituary 23rd July 2007

The memories are deep blue and beautiful, I promised to meet and greet, but …

a4Mano Gnanapragasam will be always remembered by his friends for his honest and good humouredly friendship willing to call a spade a spade without twisting his words, yet willing to walk away without offending anyone in disagreement. There are two distinct features that his friends will always remember, his affectionate and genuine smile and his affable loud voice intertwined with a distinct laugh. My last encounter with him was at York Street Fort, in Colombo. I was glad recognized me from far and walked up to me without a doubt linked the past with his good humored and cheerful slap on my back. It was brief, but we had the time to share some fond memories of good old days at Wesley. Amazingly, I found his love for Wesley, the teachers as intact as it was for Sri Lanka and its people. Even though he had left the tiny speck of land the pearl of the Indian Ocean many a few years after he left Wesley, his memories were fresh and genuine, he missed the warm and friendly country and the sandy beaches lined up with swaying coconut trees, the lust green rugby grounds at Colombo 7. Mano was ecstatic he was back home after many years and was happy to be back close to Havelocks and Colts grounds at Park Road, Colombo 5, where his school mates the Hariharan and Sridharan Jeganathans lived. All talked was of Wesley and the wonderful green green palm swaying shores of the white beaches filled island of Sri Lanka. It was in January 2004 and we promised to keep in touch, the promise I never kept, but the friendship will always be deep and beautiful and it will be cherished as years go by.

It was nearly forty yeas ago I first bumped into Mano at the Wesley College grounds at Campbell Park. He was training for the 400 and 800 metres to take part in the school sports meet. He had just joined Wesley and was ready to take his place in the honour list at the Wesley College Public Schools meet. As always a true double blue, he was proud to don his double blue jersey as he represented Wesley and Passmore House at Rugby and Track and Field. He excelled in both sports, but I think he loved Track more. For record, Mano won the college 400m race with ease, I still remember his stylish long strides and the burst of speed at the start of the race to take a lead he would keep to the end. Mano represented Wesley at the Public Schools meet in 1965 at the Police grounds, running the 3rd lap in the 4x400m relay, along with Reggi Bartholomeusz, Upali Silva, and myself. Mano was always well dressed and sociable in his ways. He was well liked by his friends and teachers, and he excelled equally in his studies. Mano Gnanapragasam, I always remembered as good-natured friend, a partner in sports, and an outstanding Wesleyite with lots of grit and lots of fun.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Percival Reginald VANDEN DRIESEN

 Obituary September 2007 

(Ex Sri Lanka Army, Swedish Embassy). Beloved husband of Clyone (nee Perera), precious father of late Joeland, Leroy, loving son of Percival Gilbert (deceased), Sybil Ranee (Aust) much loved brother of Deso (Ex Browns), Elmo, Doreen, Jenny (Aust) Edward (Cinnamon Grand), brother-in-law of Luke David, Martha Eric Mark (Aust), Marlene, son-in-law of Richie Perera & (late) Olga Perera, brother-in-law of Tyrone and Naomi Perera (Canada), Odette (Salon Anoma), Warren De Mello (Dialog). Remains lie at Jayaratne Funeral Parlour from 8 a.m. on Sunday 2nd Sept. Cortege leaves for interment on Wednesday 5th Sept. at 10 a.m. for burial at Borella Kanatte.

A note by Peter Casiechitty

Reginald was one class senior to me at Wesley and had two brothers Elmo and Edward who were junior.
Their father Percy Van den Driesen was a Police officer and a classmate of my Dad's -- therefore an old Wesleyite too.
I remember the three boys coming to school on a motor bike with their father riding.
No traffic laws were broken because the two younger fellows travelled in a side car. All of them had distinctive grey eyes
.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Austin Salgado

Obituary September 2007

(Retired Lecturer, Teachers’ College, Peradeniya), husband of late Estelle Salgado, mother of Indira (Staff, Methodist College), Rukmal (Staff, University of Peradeniya) and Mahes (Staff, University of Peradeniya), father-in-law of Geethal (Staff, United Tractors and Equipment Ltd.), grandfather of Cherith and Cheran (Wesley College), brother of late Newton. Funeral service at Methodist Church, Katunayaka, 3.30 p.m. on 25th September. Cortege leaves residence at 3 p.m. 186/1, Airport Junction, Katunayaka. A special service will be held at Kandy Methodist Church, 24th September 12 noon.

Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Austin Salgado was an old boy of the school in the late 1940's and early 50's. He pursued the study of the arts at the University of Peradeniya. Austin was inspired by his experiences at school. After completion of his degree he joined the Staff at Wesley. With his dark complexion and unmistakable large frame he was ever present at assembly, in the long corridors and at the pavilion at cricket matches. He was a scholar and a talented teacher and soon earned the respect of his students. His innate kindness did not exclude the firmness needed for teaching. Austin was fond of earthy jokes and had a dry sense of humour. He expressed his pleasures and displeasures most eloquently. He preferred to tease insolent students than punish them.

In those days Diplomat shirts were the craze which was a sign of schoolboy affluence and elegance. I overheard him speaking to an errant lad " you wear Diplomat shirts but you are a real "polmat". He left Wesley to join the Teacher Training School at Peradeniya from whence he retired after long years of service. Methodism and the Church was in his blood. He came from Katunayake, a strong enclave of the faith. A cultured and personally charming man he had a wide range of interests covering the arts. Despite his large size he was a gentle soul. We remember his contribution to the life of the school as a student and a teacher. The world is a poorer place without him but as it is said in the scriptures he has returned to his Maker.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


Tyronne Maye by Keith de Kretser, Melbourne, Australia

Obituary October 2007 age 61

MAYE - TYRONNE MAURICE (Belcey Pvt Ltd). Son of the late Alfred and Cora, loving husband of Audrey, brother of Arlene Wijemanne and Darrell (Australia), brother-in-law of late Srilal and Aloma (Australia). Cortege leaves residence at 3.15 p.m. on 7th October for service at St Lukes Church, Borella. Thereafter, for burial at the general cemetery, Kanatte (Anglican Section) at 4.30 p.m. 5 Rodney Place, Colombo 8.- From the Ceylon Daily News

r5It is with a heavy heart that I pen these few words in memory of Tyronne Maye. Over the past four decades, Tyronne Maye has been an integral part of the Wesley College alumni community be it with the Old Boys Union(OBU) for many years or with the Old Wesleyites Sports Club(OWSC). When one reflects on the years of dedicated and loyal service to these two bodies and through them to his beloved alma mater Wesley College, you will find no one else who has ridden the roller coaster ride of the challenges Wesley has faced in that time. A loyal and dedicated son of Wesley College whose sense of service and commitment to her well being has been inherited from his father Alfred who likewise was dedicated to serving Wesley.
Tyronne who gave so freely of himself to Wesley, was outspoken in his endeavours and no doubt would have upset those along the way who would be critical of him. But we (Wesleyites) must never forget that it is individuals like Tyronne, with the passion, commitment, loyalty and a sense of service who persevered regardless in their endeavours to make Wesley College and her alumni organisations a better place and to uphold the standards we all cherish for Wesley College.
As the words of our beloved College anthem reminds us - ….”and when Wesley’s call shall sound ready aye shall all be found, in duty and in honour bound, Wesley to the fore.” Tyronne answered Wesley’s call with a passion and in abundance.
As Old Wesleyites around the world receive this sad news, there will be many who will gather their thoughts and reflect on the life of Tyronne. I am sure his dear friend Peter Christie(Casie Chitty as he is known today) and others are better qualified to pay tribute to this sincere, passionate and proud(he was proud of his education) Wesleyite.
To his wife Audrey, brother Darrell and sister Arlene – Tyronne was one of a kind. Not only was Wesley his great passion, but his commitment to other community related activities reflected his sense of duty to put back to the community his share or contribution to make things better for his fellow citizens. Now he is at rest and at peace – no more suffering, pain or worrying about others.
As the quotation from Vince Lombardi states - … It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever -- the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.”
Drawing inspiration from our College anthem – “boys of Wesley through the land(world), Wesley boys together stand, bound by one fraternal band” stand up and remember with fondness and a sense of gratitude this dedicated servant of Wesley College and friend to us all for a job well done.

Farewell Tyronne and may God grant you eternal rest.

Wesley Sportsman Tyronne Maye no more By Richard DWIGHT

A wave of grief surged over amongst Wesley’s fraternity, when news filtered through that former sportsman, Tyronne Maye an old boy of Wesley College , had passed away on Thursday at the age of 61.
The sadness and sense of loss was all the more profound, mainly because as a stalwart of the college, he was a man for all seasons for no function or event at Wesley was wholly complete without Tyronne painstakingly striving hard towards its success. He certainly did have a hand in everything that Wesley stood for.
Tyronne who had his entire education at Wesley proved to be a conscientious student, to go further ahead on the field of sport where he represented the college at cricket and hockey, not forgetting that he was a promoter of all forms of sport. His brother the illustrious Darrel Maye, captained the college cricket team and was adjudged the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year.
Tyronne, with his pleasing manner and well meaning ways, endeared himself to many to be ever so popular. The noble virtues he imbibed while at school, was brought to bear in his work at Aitken Spence, where he rose to be one of its Directors.
Notwithstanding all this, he took possessive pride and had a sense of belonging for Wesley, which was his second home where he strove for its betterment and progress, with unflagging zeal and passion.
Spanning a period of well over 35 years until his untimely death he served the cause of Wesley by being the secretary of the OBU for 15 years, the President of both the welfare society and the old Wesleyites sports club and, was as well as on the governing board of Wesley college.
Not to mention that he also served as warden of St. Luke’s Church, Borella.
In the different foras of the varied bodies of the school, he was independent in his thinking, one who stood for justice and fair play, to be forthright to call a spade a spade.
If he did hurt another’s feelings, he was quick to forgive and forget, for his attitude was always reconciliatory. With his clear diction and high tone of voice he was a live wire of any party or social gathering be it a dance, concert the walk or an event on the sports field.
He was indeed a rare kind of person and the void created at Wesley will be hard to replace. The college most fittingly in honour of him saw to it, that his remains was brought to the college hall last morning where a service was held. Funeral arrangements will be notified later.
How true for everything there is a time, a time to work and a time to rest, the time for rest has now come for Tyronne, farewell dear son of Wesley. He is survived by his wife Audrey.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Charles de Silva

Obituary 16th December 2004

LELWALA GURUGE - DON CHARLES DE SILVA. (Retired Vice Principal of Wesley College - Colombo). Beloved husband of late Mrs Pearl Guruge, loving father of Bandula (USA), father-in-law of Janaki (USA), brother of late Nancy, Francis, late Thevis and Alexander. Remains will lie at Jayaratne Funeral Parlour, Borella on Wednesday 15th & 16th December 2004. Cortege leaves Parlour at 4.30 p.m. on Thurday (16th) for Cremation at 5.00 p.m. General Cemetery (Kanatta) Borella. 130, New Galle Road, Moratuwa.

Charles de Silva - Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

A Teacher at Wesley 1947-1973

Charles De Silva taught Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit at Wesley in the 1950's and 60's. Through his dedication to the school during those years he convinced the Methodist hierarchy to appoint him as the Vice Principal, a prestigious post never held by a non-Christian before . Although he lacked the glamour, charisma and the sophistication of his predecessors as Vice Principal he brought to the the job a genuine purpose and a welcome new direction in the fast changing field of education. It would be fair to say that he helped to steer Wesley safely through the rapids of the 1960's.

I first came across him when I studied Pali for the O'levels. He was strict but kind. In his enthusiasm to teach he splattered and bathed the students in the front row with saliva, as he spoke. All his students faired well at the exams except myself due to my appalling grammar.

Charles De Silva was affectionately called "Boat" probably because he came to school in an old fashioned boat-like dark green Morris 8 car. This glistening vehicle was his pride and joy and provided the students a focus for mischief and jokes. He accepted these with a customary smile.

In the realm of education, often rife with politicking and petty squabbles, Charles De Silva stood out as a genuinely modest man who seemed to have nothing bad to say about any of his colleagues. He was much loved by his students, who appreciated his gentle manner and ability to listen; many of whom have gone on to have significant careers.

Charles De Silva was always conscientious, sometimes to a fault. He was widely respected for his honesty and ability to bring common sense to the most apparently mundane tasks. He was a fine teacher and had a certain graciousness that made him be respected widely. He carried out his duties with outstanding courage, skill and initiative and proved beyond any doubt his appointment as the second in command was an inspired choice. He was a Teacher with traditional values and virtues – he was polite, cordial, modest and well-meaning. Despite his diminutive stature and somewhat rasping, high-pitched voice, he was a brilliantly gifted teacher. I personally would describe him as a small man with a big heart who gave of his best to Wesley.

From Mr Edmund Dissanayake

Mr. Charles de Silva will be retiring in December, 1973 having served Wesley for 28 years. Students affectionately remember his earlier Morris 8 car which was reminiscent of a padda-boat. This car was made available to staff and students in wet weather. His appointment in 1972 as Vice Principal (Acting) greatly redounded to the credit of the Governing Board, as he was the first Non-Christian to hold such office at Wesley. He filled this post with much acceptance.

May he attain the ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam - M.W.Wickremaratne

Obituary April 2008

WICKREMARATNE - WIMAL Of 153, Canterbury Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 4LQ, UK (Tel +441438210158). (Former Director of Sri Lanka Tourist Board UK). Son of Misilin & late William Wickremaratne (Ayurvedic Physician, Kiriwattuduwa), husband of late Nandani nee Lokuge, beloved father of Shamila (UK), Sadhani (Morton Thornton UK) and Kanchana (Tesco Head Office UK), father-in-law of Dr Wajira Herath (UK) and Jonas Anderson (GE Capital UK), brother of Chandra and late Thilak, brother-in-law of Rathnasiri Hettiarachchie, Sumana Balasuriya, Ranjith & Sitha Lokuge, Gamini Lokuge (Minister of Sports and Public Recreation) & late Srimathi Lokuge, Chandra & Ariyarathna Perera, Malkanthi & late Nimal Lokuge, Padmini & Keerthi Jayasinghe (USA), Asoka & Upul Devasurendra (France), Malie & Kumar Kumarasinghe (SriLankan Airlines), Yasamalie & Wimal Jayakody (Australia), precious grandfather of Thilanka, Malithi, Dilshan & Neil, passed away peacefully in the UK. Cremation will take place at Harwood Park Crematorium UK on 20th April at 1.15 p.m.

May he attain the ultimate Bliss of Nirvana

The Journey’s End - Reflections on the loss of a friend By Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Friendship is one of life’s rich gifts. Those that are made at school during our formative years remain strong in our hearts and minds throughout our lives. The great dispersal at the end of our school careers come as a shock to us all. We then embark on our journeys through life in the wider world stepping on the treadmill to carve ourselves careers and raise our families. It is not until these life’s obligations are fulfilled do we get the time to look back and trace our school friends who meant so much to us. Good communications in the 21st century, internet and telephone services have made keeping in touch easier. But these still remain an alien culture to many of us who grew up in the fifties. This great dispersal and my own destiny has brought me to the UK where I have lived for the past 35 years. A distance of 5000 miles from home is a hindrance to my efforts to trace friends. In my retirement, with time on my hands, this remains a frustration and a regret.

I joined Wesley College in 1950, in its heyday. Cedric Oorloff, a career Civil Servant, was its head and driving force. Mutual respect, good manners and courtesy that pervaded Ceylonese society in those days also filtered through to the schools. The discipline at Wesley College was exemplary. The academic standards improved tremendously and so did our sports. This was the scene when I met Wimal (MW) Wickremaratne alias ‘Mynah’, a nickname that stuck to him like glue. We were boarders together in the harsh prison like environment of the fifties. It sounds oppressive by today's standards, but it was a magical childhood. The boarding was a place of great warmth and spontaneous humour. He was a small stocky lad from the outback of Horana. Wimal was a natural sportsman with a fantastic eye for the ball. In the early days he was at his best playing cricket in the small park, which was our amphitheatre behind the school. This dust bowl of grass and pebbles was a bowler’s dream and a batsman’s nightmare. It was there we found friendship which was to last a lifetime. Be it football or cricket, the games were played in the blazing sun and torrential rain until dusk when the victors and the vanquished returned to their homework. In all this, what struck me most was Wimal’s even temper despite his sportsman’s natural desire to win.

Living in the boarding away from the parents, friendships meant much. We formed a remarkably close-knit, self-reliant and mutually supportive group. This strict environment prepared us for the vicissitudes of life in the wider world. There was a surprising sense of calm and order to our lives. Despite the regimentation we had time to put our arms round our friends and share in their joys and sorrows. We shared our secrets and exchanged stories about our families. There was a certain closeness which was rarely seen in friendships later on in life. We talked about our dreams and aspirations and assumed we will always be friends. It fills my heart with sadness to think many of us will never meet again. It is a horrible reminder of our own mortality to read or hear of the death of boarders who played, laughed and fought with us all those years ago. For me they will always remain young, healthy and smiling. It is hard to believe they will not be playing those elegant cover drives ever again.

As we moved up the school ladder Wimal struggled with his exams but excelled in sports. He played 1st XI Soccer for Wesley and represented the school in the 4X100 meter relay at the Public Schools Meet held at the oval. He achieved much in sports but was modest and kept his feet firmly on terra firma. Even during those challenging teenage years Wimal remained a kind and thoughtful person. The Public Examinations came and went and Wimal decided to leave school in 1960 and briefly started the A-Level course at Stafford College. Academia never appealed to him and soon he joined the Ceylon Tourist Bureau which later became the Ceylon Tourist Board. Changing names was a fashionable pastime in the sixties. I continued my studies but never met him again for several years. Then once in Nugegoda in 1963 as I went into a shop on High Level Road I saw the familiar figure. He was a manager, temporarily, in a small store. We hugged and reminisced at length as the customers formed a long queue. I stepped out without paying as he refused to accept money. Then there was a long pause of 40 years when we were both busy building up our careers and raising our families. There was no contact of any kind.

I have always tended to follow a wandering star. I had made my home in a delightful suburb in rural England when in 2003 I heard a familiar voice on the phone. The emotions overwhelmed us. Wimal was a senior member of the Ceylon Tourist Board and was posted to London. He had been in the UK for 5 years but didn’t know I was here too. We decided to meet at Bond Street underground station at 3 pm. I was there on time and looked for that familiar face. I paced the busy Oxford Street by the station many times but Wimal was not to be seen. Then our eyes met. He was enormous having filled out on all sides with a fat face, body and a huge tummy. Much of the black hair had turned grey. I must have changed too. Our lined faces and baggy eyes perhaps gave us a leonine nobility. Round the corner from the station was the famous Claridge’s Hotel in London, a refuge for the rich and famous. There, Ranjit Rosa, another past boarder was the Chief Engineer. We paid him a surprise visit and spent time in their plush lounge reminiscing. Hours passed as we exchanged stories of our lives and our ups and downs. There was laughter mixed with tears and sadness of the lost years since school. The conversation seemed to return incessantly to where we first met at Wesley as the stories and anecdotes of our school lives flowed freely. It amazes me still how much of it we have retained for so long in the archives of our minds. We remembered mutual friends who are no more.

The life after leaving school brought its own pleasures and pain. Wimal had lost his wife to the scourge of cancer, in her forties. This has taken a lot out of him as he raised his family as a single parent. The ever present glint in his eyes spoke volumes of his loss. The daughters were now married and happily settled in the UK. The night wore on and it was time to leave. We bade a long goodbye and I watched Wimal disappear into the stillness of the night. I wondered, once more, if we would ever meet again.

We kept in touch, from time to time, until he moved to a house just 15 minutes away from me. I was ecstatic to have a friend so near to me. We met again in our houses and mostly spoke of mutual friends, of school and of the ravages of time. Somehow the spark has gone out of his life although he maintained a bold front. As always he was kind and understanding and never had an ill word for anyone. Wimal enjoyed the company of his close family but for many of us who knew him in his youth, he had become withdrawn, and a recluse. He, however, never lost his passion for sports. Wimal watched football and cricket on television all his waking hours. British TV is a sportsman’s dream. He refused to look after his health, eat sensibly and to take regular exercise. He had a sweet tooth and enjoyed his Sri Lankan cuisine enormously. Despite advice to the contrary he maintained his large frame. Wimal lead the life he wanted and never searched for the fountain of youth. Perhaps, he let destiny take its course after losing his soulmate and the light of his life.

In 2007 Wimal retired from work and fulfilled his dream of travelling to the West Indies for the Cricket World Cup. He had much to say on his return of this fantastic sporting spectacle. He embraced retirement and the new found freedom with both arms. Wimal then spent a month in Australia visiting friends and relatives and stayed in Sri Lanka for further couple of months before returning to the UK. He then looked happier than ever but continued his reclusive existence. I wished we could have met more often but that was not to be. Time slipped by.

On my return from a holiday in March 2008 there was an email from his son-in-law that Wimal has been admitted to hospital and had cancer. I saw him many times in the same institution which was my place of work for a quarter of a century. He was in some discomfort. After he came to know the diagnosis he showed the courage I saw in his youth as a fine sportsman. His health deteriorated rapidly and lost much weight but his mind remained clear. He was unable to fulfil his desire to see his 96 year old mother in Sri Lanka due to his rapidly failing health. Her loss must weigh heavily on her fragile self. Age 66 is too young to die but longevity and a protracted life has its own drawbacks seeing the demise of ones siblings, friends and children. In the 21st Century our judgment of youth and age has slid away from its traditional moorings. Healthy diet, exercise and good healthcare can give us some extra years but we depend so much on having good genes of which we have so little control.

Wimal bore his final illness with the customary stoicism. Despite the rigours of chemotherapy and surgical interventions he remained courteous and thoughtful to the very end. Their were times he was at the end his tether and wished his life would end sooner. Then one day the dark clouds and the dismal weather echoed the loss of a good man. His serenity, dignity and sheer indomitable courage in his final illness made him an extraordinary man. When such tragedy strikes you are on your own. In this long and tortuous journey none of us will get out alive, but we continue to grieve for those who are gone.

Grief is a universal experience. Unlike in the old days there are no comforting rituals to sustain the bereaved. Anger, denial, relief and guilt are the emotions that swirl around in our psyche. Nowadays there is no wearing of mourning attire which would signal to others our fragile state and the need for time and space. Pressures on our time has robbed us of the necessary grieving period which would create a safety zone around us. Hence, after writing this note, which in itself is cathartic, I reached for the comfort and wisdom of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend
Before we too into the dust descend
Dust into dust, and under dust, to lie
Sans wine, sans song, sans singer, and – sans end.


In Memoriam - Rev William Holden

 Obituary 16th March 2008

Past Principal of Wesley College

Rev William A Holden

f3Revd. William Alfred Holden's obituary is stipulated in the minutes of Methodist conference 2008. It reads as follows:

WILLIAM ALFRED HOLDEN: Born in Southport on 6th April 1910 into a Wesleyan Methodist home. He was educated at King George V Grammar School, Southport. His first job was in the printing industry. Regular attendance at Young Laymen's Conference at Swanswick led to his call to the ministry. Following a pre-collegiate year at Millom, he trained for ministry at Handsworth College, where he met his beloved Hetty Hodson, the Leader of a Peoples' group at a local church.

From college he went to Burma for two long spells, followed by service in Accrington, London Fisbury Park, London Highgate and Basildon Circuits. On retirement he and Hetty moved to Somerset Mission Circuits, where he continued to preach and fulfil a devoted pastoral ministry until well into the nineties. The major part of his active ministry was in Burma. His service included spells as Principal of Mandalay Wesley High School, on the staff of the Union School Kalaw and at the Ministerial Training Institute in Mandalay.

During World War II he moved to Ceylon to act as Principal of Wesley College, Colombo. At the end of the war he was commissioned as an army officer serving in Burma Civil Affairs Service, responsible for rehabilitation work in the North Shan States. He was ordained and married to Hetty in Mandalay, where their only son William was also born. His contribution to the Burmese church included commentaries in Burmese on Job and Romans, together with the translation into Burmese of The Methodist Order of Divine Worship.

He was a genuine scholar, whose preaching was thought-provoking, instructive and challenging. His direct, sometimes blunt approach put his listeners on the spot. His prime concern was for their spiritual welfare. He was a demanding Local Preachers' tutor, feared and loved in equal measure by his students. He was universally regarded with respect and affection as a caring minister, whose home visiting was legendary. Bill died on the 16th of March 2008 in the ninety-eighth year of his age and the seventy-sixth year in ministry.

A Letter from Rev William Holden

Dear Dr Amerasekera 
Thank you for your message.
We were informed that Rev William Holden died on 16th March 2008, a few weeks before his 98th birthday.
His official obituary will not be appearing in our Conference minutes until the new edition which will be available in September, at the beginning of our Connexional Year.
I am attaching a copy of the contents of a letter of condolence which we wrote to his son when we heard the news of Rev Holden's death. You will see from this that he served for just 2 years in Sri Lanka and we have little information about this period of his ministry on our office files.
With best wishes,
Rev William Holden

From World Church Office

In the World Church Office we have been sorry to hear of the recent death of your father just a few weeks short of his ninety-eighth birthday. May I on behalf of the World Church and personally send you and the family our sympathy.

At the next meeting of the World Mission Group on 23rd July we shall recall and give thanks to God for your father's commitment and service to the church in Burma (Myanmar) and for two years (1943-44) in Colombo, Sri Lanka as principal of Wesley Boys College. We shall remember that your father first sailed for Burma back in 1934, and was one of the first European Methodist ministers to be ordained in Burma in 1937; and then, by the rules of the time, was able to get married to your mother in Mandalay.

His commitment to Burma represented not just by those first eight years (1934-42); but by his return in Government service in 1944-45, and with the church in 1950-53, with an extended period of furlough to do translation work, before the change of Government in Burma prevented his return again to work there. His courageous service and dedication was greatly valued by the World Church office, but more especially, by the Methodist Church of Upper Burma.

May the love and presence of the risen Christ give you hope and uphold you and the family at this time.

Yours sincerely

Michael King

Team Leader, World Church Relationships

From Alfred David

Rev. W.A. Holden (1943 to 1944) came to Wesley as Principal in March 1943. He steered the school during the war years, since the school had to be content with temporary accommodation in Kittiyakkara. In fact Rev. Holden was not able to do more than keep the college “going”. The prevailing conditions greatly restricted advancement or improvement. The number of students dropped to less than 100 but Wesley continued to function. In his report in 1944, Rev. Holden said “Wesley has a purpose, it enshrines much that is fine in educational life in Ceylon. Such institutions cannot be lightly set aside, they have their roots deep in the life of this land and to seek to tear them up, root and branch, is tear out much of what is noble. It is to throw their traditions to the wind as no value. But that cannot be done without very great and serious loss”.

In September 1944, Rev Holden bade farewell to Wesley.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Indika Ratnayake

Indika Ratnayake joined Wesley from middle school and had a remarkable school career which lasted up to his A/L studies. He was exemplary in displaying his qualities of Leadership which saw him become a College Prefect, and a house captain. in the field of sports he was a ruggerite in the junior team and as well as an athlete.

A man gifted with the skill of effective speech, he was a member of the sinhala debating team and went on to win the school debating prize for Sinhala debating (the ranabahu Memorial prize). he was also the treasurer of the Buddhist society.

Passing his A/L examination with three 'B's he gained entry in to the Diyatalawa military academy and brought great distinction to his alma mater by topping the batch and being selected for a year long training scholarship in the prestigious Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in UK, which contributed in moulding military greats such as the late Gen.Denzil Kobbakaduwa.

Upon passing out from the Diyatalawa academy he was commissioned to the rank of second-lieutenant, and served valiantly in precarious operations such as the Silawathura campaign, and several others of note, in the recent war scenario. He was stationed in operation areas of Mannar and lastly in Vauniya, serving in the Army's Engineering regiment. he was promoted to the rank of (full) Lieutenant on the 27th of march this year which also happened to coincide with his 25th birthday. an accomplishment which he told several 'as the best birthday present' that he had got. he was by any standards a remarkable officer and a gentleman who served with untiring effort and undiminished courage, committed to serving the motherland and keeping true to the Wesley spirit which is evoked in our college song in the line-'and for our dear land we'd be men of grit and industry' he was a popular figure in college who left many fond memories with his riotous acts of light hearted mischief. his sincerity as a friend endeared him as a brother true to all who befriended him. and forever he will remain embedded in our hearts and minds as a loving brother who made our lives brighter in every way he touched us.

May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.


In Memoriam - Bertha Bernard nee Weerapass - by Keith De Kretser

f4I have just been informed that Mrs Bertha Bernard (nee Weerapas) passed away in her sleep today aged in her eighties. Some of you may remember her and please pass on this information to others you may feel may know her in our Alumni Community.

Aunty Bertha worked in the office at Wesley in the era of Fred de Silva and Papa de Mel. She treasured fond memories of her time at Wesley and especially would relate stories of her time at the College and Shelton Peiris who she respected so much. Please inform Shelton of her passing. Also Richard Dwight who was a Wella Methodist parishioner.
Aunty Bertha was a delightful lady of strong Christian faith, a proud Methodist and the wife of the late Andrew Bernard. The family were pillars of the Methodist Church Wellawatte where I had the good fortune to be a student in her class at Sunday School and since then have had a long standing friendship with her and her family. Those who met her were touched by her gentleness and simple Christian faith and she was much loved and respected. She had a wonderful talent in writing little verses in her cards she sent for Christmas always with a simple inspirational message of hope, love and encouragement to keep the faith with our Christian beliefs. I used to see her less frequently as old age and ill health took its toll. She never failed to attend the Combined Colleges Carol Service in Melbourne regardless of how frail she was and made sure she caught up with many of the choristers who she knew. She enjoyed hymn singing and the choruses we sang in Church and I belonged to a quartet who regularly sang in Church. We all migrated to Melbourne and her delight was to get us to lead the singing and reminiscing those wonderful days at Sunday School and Church when we would gather.
Aunty Bertha’s life is reflected in the words of one of Charles Wesley’s hymns “Forth in thy name O Lord I go”

Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go,
my daily labor to pursue;
thee, only thee, resolved to know
in all I think or speak or do.

The task thy wisdom hath assigned,
O let me cheerfully fulfil;
in all my works thy presence find,
and prove thy good and perfect will.

For thee delightfully employ
what e'er thy bounteous grace hath given;
and run my course with even joy,
and closely walk with thee to heaven.

Aunty Bertha I am sure has reached that glorious destination and is at peace with her maker.

From Nihal D Amerasekera

Miss Weerapass as she was known in my time at school was everyone's kindly aunt in the school office. Her photo brings back fond memories of a fine lady and a gentle soul. We met her as we made our errands or visited the office for punishment. Miss Weerapass had a kind word for me as I emerged from the Principal's office after a beating, one 'soggy' day. She was a kindly face in the harsh environment of education in the fifties. She is the last of those stalwarts of Wesley from my era to leave us.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Kingsley T. Wickramaratne

Appreciation by Shanti McLelland

Obituary October 2008 Age 75

a2Kingsley was the President of Wesley OBU from 1972-1976. Kingsley an affable entrepreneur rose from the small beginnings as owner of Wicks Advertising Campbell Place to become an astute politician. He rose to the rank of Governor, Southern Province, Minister of International Trade, and was elected to the prestigious position of Vice President in the worldwide organization - Jaycee International.

He came to the rescue when the OBU membership and interest was at a very low level and evergreen P.B. Herath consented to fill in as pro-term president. The few others who rallied around him before the centenary year with Ponnambalam Sivasubramanium (Treasurer). The notable office bearers were, Walter Jayasuriya, Shelton Peiris, P.B. Herath, Rohan Amrasinghe, Patrick Edema, Watson Wijewickrame, Cecil Fernando, Garath Jayawardane, D. S. Wijemanne, Rajah Sinnadurai, Tuan Camball, Sunil Fernando, Rex and R.M. de Silva, A.M. Mohideen, Rohan Soysa, Jayalal Jayasekara, Christopher Goonatileke, Edmund Dissanayake, and Lakshman Samaraweera. The OBU had less than 50 members with the OWSC having half the number. Under Kingsley’s leadership, The OWSC hockey team won many of the major hockey tournaments organized by the Colombo Hockey Association. A championship dinner dance was held at the Galle Face Hotel organized by Mr. L.A. Fernando while he was the Director of the Unite States Educational Foundation.

In 1974, Kingsley’s vision was to hold a dazzling dance on a floating stage at Bentota, with an International cast of entertainers. Unfortunately, the project glittering and ambitious project had to be abandoned as the investors were not provided with audited accounts by the Welfare Society and Wesley OBU could not substantiate the financial integrity and the application of funds generated to the charitable cause of School development and Education. However, with limited resources, Kingsley as President quickly came up with an alternate solution by drawing the Wesley’s top marketing talent, Frank Samaraweera, B.J. Karunatilake, Neville Perera, Nihal Wijetunga, Garath Jayawardane, and Denzil Perera ably directed by Mr. L.A.Fernando to organize the grand Centenary celebrations.

Kingsley was sociable and genial and many time invited the executive and the member to the Serendib Hotel at Bentota, where he was a Director. Always looking for new ideas, he spearheaded a successful three-day event at the Lionel Wendt Theatre, to stage Haig Karunaratne’s production of “Rainbow Man”. The paper raved about the “House-Full” as one of the best produced and staged by a school with over 100 participants. The profits from the show helped to pave the front road way with the help of another old boy, Nihal Peiris who brought in his crew to finish the job over a week-end.

At the political front, Kingsley first contested the Kaduwela seat in 1977. Then he campaigned from his Mercedes Benz to draw large crowds who were curious and was happy to test ride in an ostentatious vehicle. As a shrewd marketing and advertising guru, his theory was that people would vote for successful and colourful politician who is a winner than a loss leader. He was elected to parliament many times and was hand picked to be Governor of Southern Province, which was developed rapidly under his leadership. Later he used his vast International experience to become the Minister for International Trade.

Wrapped in glory, he never lost his common touch. He would always would reached out with open arms and greet anyone with a smile and sincere friendship. At the OBU always had an anecdote to tell, and with his jovial smirk he once related how he allowed a beggar to sleep at the office door step after closing at night and after a few days he was asked for an advance for acting as security for his office. Kingsley was a true Double Blue his office and staff was always made available for OBU work. Kingsley will be missed as he was always there to support Wesley at anytime with no fanfare and publicity.

From Asian Tribune : Sri Lanka Bureau

1st of October, Kingsley T. Wickramaratne, Ex- Governor of the Southern Province passes away at a private hospital , in Colombo a shortwhile ago. He was a powerful minister during the Chandrika Bandaranayake regime. He was also Advisor on International Trade to the former President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Bandaranike Kumaratunge.Kingsley T. WickramaratneKingsley T. Wickramaratne
He served as the minister of Internal and International Commerce and Food in the Sri Lanka Government Cabinet of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga from 1994 to August 2000. Seventeen (17) departments/ Corporations, in trade, Commerce and Food sectors of the country came within the purview of his Ministry. By virtue of this key ministerial portfolio and his expertise, he was actively involved in cabinet Committees to foster International Trade and Investment, Industrial infrastructure and Socio-Economic Development. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for the District in 1989 and served as a Parliamentarian up to August 2000.

He has led Trade Mission to the United Kingdom, Russia, United States, People’s Republic of China, Iran, Egypt, Italy, New Republic of Yugoslavia, Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives, India, Nepal, Thailand, Chile, Sweden, Germany, Portugal and UAE. He also led Sri Lanka's delegation to the SAARC commerce Ministers meeting in India in 1995-2000 and to the WTO meetings from its inception in Singapore. As advisor on international Trade he specialized on matters related to W.T.O.

He was educated at Wesley College, Colombo. He was a fellow of the British Institute of Management (UK). He was the first Sri Lankan to be admitted to the Young Presidents Organization in USA. He was a founder member of the institute of Marketing, the institute of Packing and the International Advertising Association (SL - Chapter).His professional career has been as a Management and Marketing Consultant. He became the first Sri Lankan to be elected as Executive Vice President, Junior Chamber International and sixty four (64) countries which came under his jurisdiction. He has traveled widely. Before entering Parliament, he was private Sector Entrepreneur. He had been the Chairman of the Serendib Group of Hotels and of the Wicks Group of Companies. He also served on the Board of Directors of several leading companies in Sri Lanka.

Twenty six years ago in 1975, he presented a comprehensive paper on " One Economy - One Market - One world " at the JCI World Congress in Nice, France, which was vigorously debated by representatives of eighty- four(84) countries. He also the author of the book - Tomorrow's Economics. His political affiliation with SLFP ( Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike's Party) began in 1974.
He was elected as Assistant Secretary of the SLFP in 1978. In 1983 he was appointed as Treasurer. in 2001 he was elected as the Senior Vice president of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. He is a family man, married to Helen. They have three daughters.

May he attain The Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana

In Memoriam - YU, DR. SHEE HUNG

Obituary October 6, 2008 Age 61

General Practitioner, London, UK, passed away suddenly on Monday, October 6, 2008. Loved husband of Tracy, devoted father of Timothy, Simon, Jonathan, Rebekah and Nicholas, dearly loved son of Yu Chin Win and Shum Mei, much loved brother of Dr. Ma Hung, Dr. Koa Hung, Lar Hung, Nan Hung, and Sai Hung, brother-in-law of late Dr. Rukshana, Zakia, Irene, late Naguib Hussain, and La Chin, cherished uncle of Marium, Christopher, Emma, Nabeel and Cha How. Visitation hours are Tuesday Oct. 14: 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 15: 9 - 10.00 a.m. at the Co-operative Funeral Care, 16-18, Ashfield Parade, Southgate, London N14 5EJ, U.K. Cortege leaves the funeral home at 1.00 p.m. for burial at Highgate Cemetery, Swains Lane, Highgate, London N6 6PJ, U.K. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008. A funeral service will be held at 2.30 p.m. at the cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charitable organization of your choice.

Obituary from the British Medical Journal 19th Oct 2009

From his brother Dr M.H.Yu

Following his internship in Sri Lanka, Shee Hung Yu spent a brief period in general practice. While practising as a general practitioner, he came to the UK in 1978 to further his education. He started in anaesthetics in Chelmsford in May 1978. Finding that general practice was more to his liking, he followed his instinct. He did his training in Guildford in 1984 and then settled in Edmonton, where he worked at different surgeries before finally setting up his own surgery at Chalfont Road in 1990. He gradually built up his practice through hard work and was dedicated to his patients as a single handed general practitioner. He was well respected and liked by all his colleagues and patients. He was direct in his approach in both his work and dealing with people whom he came into contact with. He was generous in both his actions and his deeds to his patients, friends, colleagues, and family. He was a staunch supporter and member of the local medical committee and the Edmonton branch of the BMA, working tirelessly for both institutions. He was a member of the professional executive committee of Enfield Primary Care Trust between 2003 and 2005. He was forthright in his opinions, which were sound. He was always willing to help the underdog, and he helped doctors and colleagues in various ways. He loved politics and was considering running as the Conservative candidate for Edmonton before he passed away suddenly. He suddenly took ill on 6 October 2008 and passed away at Chase Farm Hospital following meningococcal septicaemia and myocardial infarction. He leaves behind a wife, four sons, and a daughter. Two of his sons and his daughter have followed him into the medical profession. He is still fondly remembered and missed by his patients and all who knew him. General practitioner Edmonton, London (b 30 October 1947; q Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1975), died from meningococcal septicaemia and a heart attack on 6 October 2008.

A Tribute to Dr Shee Hung Yu by Dr.Nihal D Amerasekera

Shee hung was a learned, cultured and tolerant man. He was many years my junior and I came to know him just 2 years ago through other UK Wesleyites. Our association became closer as we served together in the OBU-UK Committee. It was a social ritual he enjoyed enormously. Totally unblinkered by the usual prejudices of the day, he saw people and institutions from entirely new angles. Unfortunately his prose sounded a tone unfamiliar and not everyone was ready for it. There was never a wilful desire to provoke, Being a true blue Wesleyite He was much concerned with the management or the lack of it in his alma mater. He tried his utmost to bring about clarity and transparency to the various bodies that ran the school. Although vehemently critical of the current school politics it was never directed to any individuals but to a system which needed change. In his enthusiasm Shee was most verbose at the Committee meetings. Those comments were laced with sincerity. No doubt, now, those vitriolic outbursts will enter into the folklore of the OBU-UK. His forthright manner has left its foot prints on the organisation he loved.

In the 1960' it was an impossible task to enter Medical College as a top sportsman from school. Playing competitive games and attending practices took too much time. But Shee had the intelligence, ambition and stamina to combine studies with sports, a rare achievement. He captained the School Rugby XV and played 1st XI Cricket for Wesley College. Having spent many happy years as a boarder at School he showed much loyalty to the hostel and tried his best to support and uplift its declining fortunes.
Shee Hung was a respected General Practitioner in North London in a busy practice where he was the voice of reason and of practicality. He was a true professional and gave of his best to his patients who in turn gave him much respect. Shee moved with the wealthy and the underprivileged with equal ease and treated them all with dignity and respect. Shee was never in the least tainted by greed or his many achievements in his illustrious career. He had carried through from Wesley College the best traditions of the school of kindness, helpfulness and also honesty and integrity. The medical profession has lost a good caring GP.
Shee Hung was loved for his courage, his humour and above all for his unflinching, uncompromising honesty. He will be remembered with profound admiration and affection by all those who knew him for his tremendous love for his school and his amazing loyalty to his numerous friends.

May You Attain The Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana

A Personal Tribute from Afghar Mohideen

Email to sent to Ma Hung (Shee Hungs’ brother who is also an old Wesleyite seen in the above photo standing 1st from the left):

When your sister called me last morning from London and mentioned that Shee Hung has passed away the previous night I was in a state of shock and took sometime to recover. She did not know how to contact friends from his old school now living in London. I had to convey this sad news to all colleagues in UK and to Reggie in Melbourne.

It was only last week Shee Hung e-mailed me and as he knew I was coming to London on the 11th October he wanted me to bring him two college ties, Shee Hung was a fanatically loyal Wesleyite and he was determined to give back to college in whatever way possible in gratitude to all what Wesley had given him. He was bold and fearless in whatever he had to say and never compromised with anything that was dishonest. He was very active in all Wesley College activities in U.K. As a medical doctor he was totally committed and devoted. Whenever I needed medical help he has helped me at all times. He was extremely generous and contributed lavishly to all the get-togethers, parties etc., He was devoted to his family. He got down his parents and other family members to London and looked after them. Three years ago he brought down to London his aunt and uncle from Avissawella, for three months, having paid for their air-tickets. They also stayed with him at his home. He told me that this uncle and aunt had helped him financially during his difficult days whilst being a student and now they have fallen on hard times and he needs to help them.

Shee Hung was a great and a sincere friend with a good sense of humour. He was a good father to his five children and he was determined to give them the best education, I know they will all miss him.

As mentioned to you during my telephone conversation yesterday, if the funeral is on Sunday 12th October I will certainly be there.

May he Rest in Peace.

From Azahim Mohamed

It has taken a few days for me to come to terms with the passing away of a very good friend and a true Wesleyite. I have known Dr Shee Hung while we were schoolboys at Wesley. However it was in England that I got to know him really well. We worked closely as members of the Wesley College OBU UK. Shee was a genuine supporter of our Alma mater.

I have kept a very close link with Shee and would meet over Buriyani and Watlappam. When my festival Eid was announced he called me and said lets meet for Lump Rice and watlapam. On the day of the Eid Festival he told me that he was too tired and that we should meet up again later. The last I spoke to him was on Saturday 4th october 2008 when Wesley OBU UK rugby was in action in the Schools Touch rugby tournament. He informed me that he would be there and requested me to give direction to the venue. Later on in the day he called me again to say that he would skip the event as he was feeling too tired. He suggested to me that in the event Wesley enters the Semi finals we should give them a good feed. Wesley did enter the semis...... .

Later that night his call was of a man tired with the strains and stresses of a seven day working week. Late into the night he sat examining papers and patients, a father, a provider a brother, a son and a friend. A generous man, he was never too far from his roots or his boots be it cricket or rugby. His great big heart worked overtime for the lives of people he did not even know. An appeal for a child who needed surgery and he wasted no time and sent the money as fast as he could .

He had a little time for himself. He always sent us funny emails and comments. The friendly banter and the cameraderie was always there.

He loved and respected his parents who lived with him and he was ever grateful to Wesley. He was ever thoughtful of his teachers and to his multitude of friends. He was planning to contest the Edmonton Council Elections on a Conservative ticket and chose Peter as his campaign Manager, I am told!!

We can moan him in silence.
But the Almight must have known that Shee was better off at his side.

Dr. Shee Hung (From Excerpts from Peter Christie, Bunny Taylor, Leon Ingram, Cassim Cader, Indran Niles & Daya Winslow). Kindly sent to me by Shanti McLelland

It was nearly 50 years ago in 1959 on a pleasant January morning our friend and colleague Dr. Shee Hung and his brother Dr. Ma Hung walked into the grandeur buildings of Wesley for the mandatory Grade 6 admission interview. Daya Winslow now living in Germany remembers Dr. Shee coming the same day in January 1959 for admission to Wesley to the 1st Form as it was called for Grade 6. Many students like him from the outstation came to Wesley with hopes of achieving high standards of education and the opportunity to enter university.

Dr. Shee came from a catholic school in Trincomalee along with him for admission was many other students from Jaffna, Tangalle, Badulla, Kalmunai, Batticloa and even from closer place like Moratuwa and Seeduwa. They travelled with their father from the famous city on the Eastern sea coast of Sri Lanka where the continental shelf is lined with serene clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean hugging the beautiful Nilawali Beach splashing sympathetically on to the lover leap Swami Rock, and where lies hidden the world famous natural harbour.

It was an era when the bold and the wonderful banded together as proud Moscropites by default. A time when friends like Algamas, Rohan Soysa, Wimal, Rosa, Jayantha, Amarasekaras, Lal Jayasinghe, Conrad Fernando, Wanigatunge, Siriwardanes, Razark, Daya Perera, Robin & Glenn Reimers, Scarnivel, Winslows, Tala & Kosgahakumbura, Phillips, Wijetunges, Lasantha & Anil Ferando, Priyantha Perera, Neil and Christopher Harvie, L.R. & Dr. R.G Wijesinghe, Prasad de Silva, Koilpillai’s, Jacobs, Arthur Goonasekara,, Kantha de Silvas, Sathanandans, Daluwatte, Wijayakumar, Murugespillais, Upali Perea, and even day scholar Mohideen joined the hostel. The hostel was considered a sure path to dedicated study and a clear solution to the highly competitive problem of entering a university (I am sure I have missed some of the wonderful hostellers of that time).

Then the Highfield Block had become a reality and at the helm was amiable former Wesley cricket captain and senior prefect Mr. Harold Nonis. Latin was still a favoured subject taught by Mr. Nonis to those who clamoured to enter the hallowed halls of medical college at Kynsey Road and the Law College at Hultsdorf. Double Blue Fates were a simple norm to raise funds, as Wesley opted to become a Christian non-fee levying private school along with Methodist College under Methodist Mission, after giving up prestigious and historical Richmond and Kingswood colleges. Then Welfare Society was not collecting large fees from students coming from diverse socio-economic homes, who were mainly selected on merit and exemplary citizenship. Mrs. Nonis and her band of loyal and energetic volunteers from the PTA and OBU organized events, while the 14th Colombo scouts given the task of security and the sound was ere handled by the Wesley hostellers who were electrical and sound wizards knowledgeable about acoustics, amplifiers and turn tables.

Many students like Dr Shee Hung and brother Dr.Ma Hung joined Wesley for the Hostel facilities and for Wesley’s fame and glory. It was a time when we were proud that Old Wesleyite Sir Oliver Goonatilleke held the rank of first Governor General of Sri Lanka. It was just after 1958 turmoil, a time when Shee and many others thought of Wesley as a safe haven with all the multi-religious, multi-racial, multi socio-economic and multi-language students were able to study and play together in harmony. Then like now, Trincomalee was no safe place for a kid whose destiny was to become a life saver a physician and an active OBU member.

Dr. Shee joined the 1st Form, as it was known then, and had the choice of joining the Tamil, Sinhala, or the English stream and switchover to English stream if he was to go to medical college a dream his father and mother had determined for him and his two younger brothers and sister. Then Shee had the opportunity of sleeping in the comfortable dormitory of the Wesley’s Hostel. The hostel was vibrant with teachers like Mr. L.A. Fernando and Mr. Kiruppurajah a former 400m sprinter. Both had returned from the United States after graduating with a Masters in Arts and Science, and Bachelor’s in Kinesiology respectively. The others who maintained Wesley discipline and scholarly standards were Dr. Frank Jayasinghe, Rajapaksa, Cyril Fernando, S. Thevarokiam, L. Dharmarajah, R.E. Abaraham, Arulanandan Aruliah, J. Dhanapala, M. Kalupahana, and Premadasa.

It was in Form IV that many of his friends teamed up together for various activities, from hostel lunches for college teams, the English literary union, and at the pavilion. In his class were some of the bold and famous, Alston Koch remembers him class, possibly meeting for Biology taught by Mr. Sundaralingam, Chemistry by Mr. Ramanathan or English by Mrs. Sivasubramanium. Then there were the other famous school mates, Harmers, more than one Bartholomeusz, Siavapakkiam, Azariah, Armstrong, Easwaran, Iqbal Cader, Ponna Sivasubramanium, Bunty Aniff, Rohan Soysa, Sarath Algama, Wimal Silva, Omar Jayasekara, Lal Jayasinghe, Rohan & Dr. Lakshman Amarasekara, Asoka Jayawardane, Dr. Prasad de Silva, Dr. Parasuraman, and Dr. Paramjothy, and host of others.

Dr. Shee was passionate about cricket and rugby. But, at the back of his mind it was one mission to become a doctor and a healer. After school and sports, when the All Saints musical bells tolled 6pm, to Dr. Shee it was book, books, and books till late night. He and his brother was disciplined and determined and they were engrossed in the stacks of homework paged marked by unforgettable teachers like V.R. Roberts (Mathematics) Ramananathan (Chemistry), D.A. Pakianathan (Chemistry), R. Chandrasekaran (Physics), Sunadaralingam (Botany & Zoology), Welikala & Felix Premawardane (Sinhala), Rev. Cyril Prmawardane (religion), Mr. Wilfred Wickramasinhe and E.L.Rodrigo,, while Haig Karunaratne & Joseph, Watson Wijewickrame, Lionel Jayasuriya Lyon Bellath taught English. He was a kid when cricketing stalwarts like Senthil Sinnaiah, L.R. Goonalitllake, Koddituwakku, L.C.R Wijesinghe, Evaraad Schoorman, C.T. Rodrigo, Sarath Wickramaratne, Upali Samaratne, Milroy Muthuvelu, Milhar, Bulner, Chandran Perera, Rodney Perera and Ebert and Smith carving Wesley’s name into history and rewriting the record books.

Dr. Shee proved his mettle and his determination when he passed out as a Doctor of Medicine along with his bother Ma Hung in the early 1970’s. He also made sure he captained Rugby at a time when Wesley had to practice either on the rock hard gravel grounds at Campbell Park or at the distant Havelock Park. As captain, he led the practices when the volunteer coaches were hard to come by.

The most hilarious story narrated by Bunny Taylor is how Shee emerged donned with a clear double blue jersey after the St. Benedict’s match at Kotahena from the boggy mud and putrid muck after heavy rains from the overflowing drains, a jersey he was proud to wear and protect all the time!!!! While the most frightening story Dr. Shee experienced was also narrated by Bunny. Dr. Shee had kicked the door at his boarding to protect another young boarder from being bullied and he set a storm in a tea cup infuriating a nasty gang from Maradana wanting his head. Fortunately, his friends were able to get him out of the rut and cool off the situation. At school he was straight with his feeling if teachers were not doing their job or if kids were misbehaving or bulling in the hostel. As a prefect he stood his ground when it came to issues of discipline. This reminds us of another great leader. It was said that Rev. Highfield had a snapping temper and he once visited the hostel and found the door closed and losing his cool kicked the door to his own dismay of ending up with a dislocated foot. At another time he had the courage to admonish the British Administrators for jailing civic activist like D.S. Senanayake for descending against British Rule. Another scary incident at the hostel was when Arthur Gunasekara fell off from the top of a coconut tree at the school front yard. His friends were shouting not to drop the young coconuts, while Arthur was suffering with broken and a rammed jawbone at the bottom of the coconut tree.

After completing his medical studies along with his brother Ma Hung, they migrated to England and Bunny Taylor was one of his first points of contact to set himself up in London. In the recent years he was actively involved with the OBU and was a strong voice for the Association. Peter Cassie Chetty, A. M. Mohideen, Azahim Mohamed says Dr. Shee will be greatly missed by his family and friends as a great healer and negotiator. Many will miss his straight talk especially in the UK so says Ananda Thevadason, Ramakrishnan, Wimal de Silva, Dr. Anandanesan, and Senthil Sinniah. There was hope Dr. Shee will help lead OBU (UK) to greater heights, but sadly he will leave behind a legend that others will have to carry out in the future, possibly Wimal de Silva who will take over as President of OBU UK. Dr. Shee Hung leaves world a better place and an exemplary model for others to follow. Thank you and farewell.

Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha


In Memoriam - Derek Meloney

 Obituary November 2008 Age 58

The voice still echoes in our ears - By Sisira Chandrasekara, UK Correspondent for the SLBC in London

w4Derek Meloney, veteran broadcaster, radio DJ, news reader and TV presenter, passed away on October 16 from pneumonia at the age of 58 in Perth, Australia. November 2007.
Derek joined the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation as a relief announcer for the English Services in 1977 and worked there until he left the country for Australia in the early ’80s. I was the technical assistant who worked with him on his very first shift on the SLBC commercial services live broadcast studio in 1977. Derek became popular among listeners and built up a huge audience within a short period. I can remember the amount of postcards and letters which he received from loyal listeners.
He used to come for the night shift from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. once a week. Those days the people-request programmes were popular among radio listeners. Derek prepared for this one-hour programme well in advance and wanted me to do my best. On his webpage he had made mention of me: “Thank you to Sisira Chandrasekera, the legendary operations assistant of the ’70s & ’80s and to the fans who termed the phase "Music Memories & Good Old Fashioned Meloney Magic ".
It was in 1962 when he first walked into the studios of Radio Ceylon as a 13-year-old schoolboy lucky to be picked for the Wesley College school choir that he made that first entry to one of the most famous buildings in the Indian subcontinent. This was Radio Ceylon, the home of some of Asia’s best known broadcasters. Livy Wijemanne, Jimmy Barucha, Shirley Perera, Mil Sansoni, Chris Greet, Leon Belleth and Nihal Bharetti to name a few. This was the place where he met "The Movie Man About Town", Jimmy Barucha; happy-go-lucky Greg Roskoskie, Gingernut Vernon Corea and shortcake Leon Belleth and the great Livy Wijemanne, the man whose voice was on air when Hillary and Tenzing received Radio Ceylon on their tiny transistor radio from atop Mt Everest.
After this brief foray, came an intense desire to be a part of this empire, filled with people who were fiercely possessive of their place of work and of the image it gave them. It was a few years later that he was introduced to the original "Mystique" of commercial radio Chris Greet.
Thus began Derek’s love affair with the microphone. He caught the eye of Hector Jayasinghe who was the head of the Drama Section of the SLBC, and so it was not long before he started attending the Corporation’s training institute down Jawatte Road. Soon he was on the way to becoming a guest producer English National Service and so followed the programmes Radio Quiz Club, Just For Fun, The Soul Searchers and Let’s Spin A Disc.
It was around 1974 whilst working for Lloyd's Advertising Services, he decided to apply for a position of relief announcer. To his amazement he was one of the lucky few, but alas his endeavours were all but lost, as the rules of engagement were that advertising agency staff were not permitted to work the commercial beams, a rule he found hard to accept. He was entirely out in the cold as his voice was now approved to present commercial programmes for clients of the agency he represented, his co-habitation with the station’s best known producer Harold Fernando was about to begin and so the commercial world of radio saw Derek Meloney team up with Leon Belleth to present programmes.
It was the beginning of the advent of "Music Memories and Good Old Fashioned Meloney Magic". By this time he had caught the attention of Jimmy Barucha and Shirley Perera who reminded him that the day he left the agency he could return to the panel of announcers on the commercial beam. This was incentive enough for him and in 1977 Music Memories And Good Old Fashioned Meloney Magic was heard on the commercial service on a regular basis.
He spent the last 19 years in Perth -- 15 of the last 19 years in the public service and part time broadcasting with the Overseas Service of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He made the occasional appearance on the ethnic radio stations.
Whenever he came to Sri Lanka he did a spot of announcing and news reading at the SLBC. He was a faithful, sincere, dedicated broadcaster to the SLBC.
I lost a dear old good friend; the SLBC lost one of its best ever announcers and our listeners lost a great broadcaster. Derek although you are not among us, your voice is still echoing in our ears. I can remember the good old days we enjoyed so much working together as a team in Studio C. Although you are no longer with us your name will stay in our hearts and memories forever.

My dearest friend may you rest in peace.

Added 25th January 2012

Derek's voice has charmed many By Sanath Weerasuriya

The name Derek Meloney has been synonymous with broadcasting, since the early 70's. Derek and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation are not just two names but the combination of great commercial cohabitation. Derek made his first appearance on Radio on what was then known as the English National Service with veterans like late Christene Blacker, Hector Jayasinghe and Mark Anthony Fernando. Derek is in town after many years and he is very much alive at his favourite beam at the SLBC.

'I migrated to Australia in 1984 and since then I have come down in 1997 and this is my second visit to Sri Lanka,' he said. Derek was exclusively interviewed by TV Times last week while he was spared with little time from SLBC. Speaking on his latest visit he said it was to launch 'Ishala', the Aussie- Sri Lanka friendship CD by his good friend Gary Ellis. The famous line 'Music memories and Good Old Fashion Meloney Magic' was started by this broadcaster, during his career at the SLBC. 'I was very fortunate to have grown up and listening and later on working with some of the greatest broadcasters of all time,' he said. 'If I am what I am today is anything of value, I would have to pay homage to people Like Jimmy Barucha, Livy Wijemanne, Mill Sansoni, Tim Horshington, Greg Roskowski, and Christ Greet, some of whom only inspired me whilst others, I was privileged to work with', Derek said. Derek presented few programmes while he was on holiday here in 1997. Likewise he is busy at the SLBC with his favourite programmes 'Wednesday Musical Clock', Choice 'of the People' and 'Family Choice'.

I owe a personal debt of gratitude to Shirley Perera. It was Shirley who ''picked'' me from relative obscurity on the English National Service, encouraged and motivated me to become the commercial broadcaster. Derek was immensely popular in the early 80's and even won the outstanding broadcasters award presented by the then Ceylon Daily Mirror. ('This country lost one of its greatest assets in the industry and commercial broadcasting was never quite the same', he said. Derek describes his association with the microphone as "the most successful love affair to date". In fact he insists it's the only love affair he has ever had. He adds "as much as I miss my listeners I am very much aware of the fact they miss me. It is this factor that keeps bringing me back to Sri Lanka. So naturally my plans for the future will always include radio in Sri Lanka. On this occasion I was specially brought down for the launch the 'Ishala' album and I am grateful to Gary Ellis Cameron Kolambege, Robin Foenander, and the great Desmond Kelly, he explained.


He will be leaving the island in early September to Australia, where Derek will be the special correspondent to Rupavahini and SLBC in Aussie. 'That is my new appointment and I am glad to work with my friends in Colombo' he said. When asked whether he will come back to Sri Lanka on permanent basis, Derek said. 'If I get the right offer I would love to come and work in Sri Lanka'. He also said the new voices and new comers on new stations sound very amateurish and a broadcasting academy would solve the problems faced by these young ones. 'Some broadcasters do not know how to speak or present a programme. Sometimes it is irritating to listen to these people. It is a sad situation,' Derek said.

In conclusion, he pays tribute to his closest friend, producer and compiler Harold Fernando for his loyalty and support through all these years.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Kingsley Redlich 1891-1916

This appreciation is an excerpt from the Wesley College Magazine February 1919 (From the archives held by Edmund Dissanayake)

By C. V. HONTER- Our Heroes lost in the First World War

Kingsley Redlich was the youngest of 5 brothers who received their education at Wesley College. He commenced his school career ill' 1900 and worked his way up by steady perseverance to the Senior Cambridge Form. He was a quiet, cheerful fellow whether in classroom, drill ground or playing field. He passed his Cambridge Junior and 2 years later 'entered the Ceylon Medical College. While a Medical student, he was also a member of the Ceylon Medical Corps and helped in attending on the wounded sailors of the "Emden" in the Military Hospital at Colombo. He was mentioned in Military orders and thanked for his services.

He left for England at his own expense early in 1915 and had the distinction of being the first Wesleyite to offer his services for the Empire in the Great War. Although his brother, Rev. E. B. Redlich, had arranged for a commission in the R. A. M. C., Kingsley preferred to join the fighting line and enlisted in the London Rifle Brigade in July 1915. He was sent to a big training Camp at Tadworth in Surrey where he was very popular among his comrades, by whom he was always endearingly called "Darkie." After the usual training in drill, route' marches, bombing and musketry, he left for France with his regiment in February, 1916. There he went through a furthur course of severe training for several months before being sent up to the firing line. He was in the front trenches in June, 1916, and drove back a band of Huns who attempted to capture his trench. In a letter written about this time he says, "A few days ago I was in the trenches for 3 days. We were quite close to the Germans this time. 'We weren't shelled very much during this second visit of mine. The Huns had a raid on our trenches the first night we were there. When we opened fire, they ran for all they were worth. We were off duty this morning, and so I took my opportunity and received Commun¬ion." On the memorable 1st of July, 1916, he took part in the First Big Push on the Somme. On the 14th of July, brother cabled out the sad news that Kingsley had been killed in action, being one of the first Ceylonese to make the supreme sacrifice. "After life's fitful fever', he Sleeps well' somewhere on the sunny fields of France, but his memory will live with us for ever as that of a. young man, with' promising career before him, who gave up all' for the sake of his King and Country.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Harold Staples

1896-1917

Our Heroes lost in the First World War

Duty wears a golden crown: for 'tis no myth or mystery
That Duty nobly done makes noblest history
. - A. Staples

Aristotle says that "honourable descent is in all nations greatly esteemed." The Staples family has been a household word in Ceylon for over half-a-century through the disinterested public service and singular literary gifts of several of its members.
Harold Staples was born in Colombo on 2nd November, 1896. His early years were spent with his grandparents, whose simplicity, integrity, and robust l'eligiotis faith contributed to develop his character. He was an amiable and dutiful child. full of healthful enjoyment of life. Many an incident has been narrated which reveals his charm of character. For instance: when he was about five his favourite dog fell into the well. His anxiety was intense, and in his sore plight he retired to the bedroom, knelt down, and prayed with touching simplicity: "O God, hear me! Save my puppy. Don't let it die!" His joy knew no bounds when his pet was rescued. 'Childhood shows the man.' As he grew up the noble traits which marked his tender years bore abundant fruit.

Harold was taught at home, and at five was sent to the Pettah Giris' High School when Miss Ledger (now Mrs. Highfield) was at the head. He gave unmistakable signs of dawning intelligence. He had the honour of presenting Lady Ridgeway with a bouquet Of this occasion the then Principal says: "The only thing I remember about him is that he was brought to a Prize-Giving with his hair curled and wearing a dainty Muslim dress that made him look like a pretty little girl." In the photograph which was taken out about that time we see his well-chisseled features and bright chubby face, with a toy gun in his hands. The love for soldiering created at so early an age never forsook him.

When his grandfather died in 1903 he returned to his parents. He attended Miss Ferdinands'school for about two years, was for a brief period under' the able tuition of the Rev.G.A.H. Arndt. and then joined St. Thomas' College. Here a new world opened to him; and apart from his studies, his interest in man¬ly games and athletic exercises was aroused. He was alive at every pore. In 1911 he joined Wesley College, and often spoke of the three happy years he spent within its walls with sincere gratitude. His sunny disposition, winning ways, and absolute truthfulness won the hearts of the masters and boys alike. He was a keen Cadet. and on the football field his enthusiasm was unbounded. He was fond of fun and frolic. Out of school he loved to wander' over the country with an open eye and heart. He had a boy's affection and reverence for animals, and especially for birds. He studied their natural history, and was encouraged to do so by the sympa¬thetic interest taken in him by the Vice-Principal. To this he joined a love of reading and quiet meditation. The College Sunday School was of real help to him, and in after years he became an ardent worker in the Cotta Road Sunday School. He left College in December, 1914, from Lower VA. to enter business.

It was felt that a journalistic career would be congenial to his literary tastes, but as there was no immediate opening he joined Aitken, Spence & Co., and subsequently the Ac¬countant's Office, C.G.R. He had a genius for friendship and was loved by his fellow-clerks. With the outbreak of the Great War he was on active service as a member of the C.L.I. both in Colombo and Diyatalawa. This culminated in his enlistment.
On 15th September, 1915, Harold sailed in the MM. Amazone with the Ceylon Contingent through the "Times' Passage Fund." In his entertaining letters en route he showed his keen-eyed interest in all that he saw, and was a tower of strength to many of his' comrades. After an eventful voyage he reached England, saw the great sights of the Metropolis. and was quartered in Seaford Camp and then at Oxford: The natul1al charm of the old University town cast its spell over him. Kind friends treated him with lavish hospitality. The training was exacting but he welcomed it. He deepened in character. He steadily disciplined his sOl11 for' the perils, the squalor, and the ghastliness of the battlefield. Life to him was duty. The 'vision splendid' loomed large before him.

In January, 1916, he was with the Royal Fusiliers in the thick of the conflict. His innate cheerfulness was a priceless military asset in the dark days of disillusion and disaster. He took part in many a bloody struggle; he was in the valleys of decision where-
'The thundering line of battle stands, and in the air De3th moans and sings.' His graphic accounts in letters- the garnered memories
of the dramatic experiences of one year-would fill a little volume. In the last Number we had an inkling of his power for word painting. Enough for us to know now that through it all his indomitable wit, selfless courage, and unquestioning faith in God never left him.
In the battle of Ancre he fought with dash and vigour.

He fell in action on February 28, 1917. The Chaplain wrote thus: "Our men took a trench on that morning, and he was alright up till mid-day when he was hit in the head and body by shrapnel and killed instantly. It would be some consolation to you to know that he could not have suffered. He had done very well and we are sorry to lose him." In a very touching letter to the writer dated 21s't January, 1917 which reached four days before he fell-he wrote: "I am simply longing for this cruel war to end when I shall be able to go back to Ceylon," But God willed it otherwise! He has 'gone over the top' never to return. But what a triumphant death! He fell in the cause of right and justice.
'This is the Happy Warrior; this is He That every man in arms should wish to be.'
Let us ever cherish and keep green the memory of noble and chivalrous young men like Harold.

"His ashes in a peaceful urn shall rest,
His name a great example stands, to show
How strangely high endeavours may be blest E
When Piety and Valour jointly go."

The above appreciation is an excerpts from the Wesley College Magazine February 1919 (From the archives held by Edmund Dissanayake)

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Paul Modder by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

 Obituary 1970

Paul was a quiet, unassuming, sensitive and cultured student at Wesley in the 1950’s. I came to know him when he sat next to me for a whole year in the 4th Form in 1957. Modest as well as charming, he possessed a great gift for friendship. He wasn't impressed by academia but came to prominence in the school as a writer and a poet from his numerous contributions to the annual Wesley College Magazine. Paul was articulate and had a wonderful command of the English language. He spoke eloquently and wrote fluently. He expressed his views of the world as a teenager most elegantly.

Although he came from an elite social background from the posh surroundings of Barnes Place in Cinnamon Gardens he had his feet on the ground and remained down to earth, at all times. Paul was often seen with his then soul-mate called Moore. They were inseparable friends. Paul always remained a very private person.

Many would remember Paul arriving early to school and watching the world go by from the Biology lab corridor. It was a vantage position to watch the busy traffic on Baseline road, see the prisoners being taken by the guards for their hard labour and also to watch the teachers and students walk up the driveway for their days toil. He remained there quietly and patiently, deep in thought, until the bell rang for assembly.

He was such a warm, intelligent, sophisticated and gifted personality. A complex figure, Paul seemed, despite his talents, more often than not to have been dealt a peculiarly bad hand for the game of life. Although he was happy enough as a schoolboy Paul seemed troubled deep inside. We were then in our emotional and idealistic teenage years. At times I have seen his mind in turmoil but seem on the surface to cope with life's adversities like the rest of us.

Paul was a poet who wrote with great sensitivity and style. "Poets," wrote Shelley, "are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." We turn to them to express what is best in us, to give us words during all the important emotions and situations that shape our lives. We remember poets whose words continue to inspire, and whose legacies live on in their poetry. And so we will remember Paul.

I lost contact with Paul when I moved on to the GCE Science class in 1958 and got immersed in the preparations for the examination. I thought he would become a journalist and would have made a good one. Although I remembered him from time to time our paths never crossed and sadly we never met again. He emigrated to Brisbane, Australia with his family in 1961. Paul went to high school for a short time and then worked in a laboratory in the city of Brisbane. He always loved nature. Paul took his own life in 1970. A tragic loss of a young life in its prime.

Paul will be remembered fondly for his integrity, insight and honesty. He was the most generous and mild-mannered of boys, unfailingly polite and self-effacing. There was not a trace of arrogance in him. He never gave himself a chance to make a difference to this world but he certainly made a difference to the many who got to know him as a friend. Paul looked into the distance and frequently smiled suggesting a lad who knew beyond doubt that the world through which he was passing might have rhyme, but no reason. He left this world a poorer place by his early exit. We bring into this world our own destiny and have little control over its awesome force. We should save our sadness for the rest of the Modder family who lost a son and a brother, so young. My thoughts go out to his parents and sisters,Yolande and Megan.

Although we had a short sojourn through life as friends they were our impressionable formative years. Paul was calm and deeply courteous to everyone. I will always remember his kindness and his smiling face. No one could have predicted the tragic conclusion to his life. I Wish Paul found a way to keep going. What a sad waste. He was a gem in a world of pebbles. This world was never meant for one so sensitive and caring as Paul Modder.

Don't grieve for me now, for now I'm free.
I'm following what God laid for me.
I took God's hand when I heard the call;
I turned my back and left it all.

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Eustace Basil Nathanielsz

Born April 5, 1919. Died January 12, 2009

Remembered by Peter Casiechetty

NATHANIELSZ - EUSTACE BASIL (TITA) At Rest. Dearly beloved husband of Jeanne, much loved father of Jilska, father-in-law of Michael Payoe, devoted and loving Grandpa of Aleisha & Tamia, brother of Maisie, Helen, George, Kathleen (Barno), Oliver & May (Ting) (all deceased), brother-in-law of Ralston, Summa & Romaine, Malcolm (deceased), Walter & Margot. Funeral arrangements to be notified later. 11, Sri Sunandarama Road, Kalubowila, Dehiwala.

One of the many old Wesleyites we have to be proud of. I knew Tita for only a little while, but that while was long enough to admire the Man.
Frank and forthright he was an old school old Wesleyite and they don't make them in that mould any more. He was a senior executive in the Mercantile Sector and had an Office in the Old Colonial sector of the Fort near Gafoor Buildings. I knew his brother George a lot better so I will not therefore venture to touch on his great cricket career for Ceylon and the Colts or Wesley.

GRANT HIM O LORD

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Memories of Maurice Weeraperumal

Obituary April 2009

By Upali Perera & O.K.Hemachandra

a7Our friendship with Maurice Weeraperumal goes back to our school days, way back to early 1950’s. I knew Maurice from my hostel days and “O.K” developed a friendship in the Campbell Park during their athletic endeavourers especially while they were hurdling.

I could very vividly remember Maurice beating “O.K” in 1957 in the 110 hurdles event whilst “O.K” was the unbeaten champion for many years. This event was filled with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement due to “O.K’ trying to beat the college record held by Abu Fuard .

Maurice was a very talented sportsman excelling in Rugby, Athletics and Hockey during his school days. His generosity too was limitless. The inheritance he received from his aunt, who was very fond of Maurice, was spent on us as friends for musical shows, motor races, & other boyish activities along with a donation to the College Hockey team. He had a heart of Gold.

In his working life our friend was extremely well regarded in the Garment Industry as one of the best Quality Controllers in the Country. During these days he was very helpful to all his close friends in finding jobs and was very lavish in financial assistance to those who needed.

Maurice was a carefree, lovable individual, who enjoyed life to the fullest without much thought for the future. This was his weakness, which led to some hardships during his latter years. In 1996, Maurice had a severe heart attack and had no funds to under go an urgent operation. Organised by “O.K”, all his friends locally, from Australia and his relatives rallied round to quickly pay the costs of the surgery performed by well-known surgeon, Dr.Dalpadathu. We must not forget the crucial part taken by “O.K” who was instrumental in this process, using his influence as the Director CID to get assistance from the active Presidents Fund.

After the surgery he got back to his garment Trade and in the year 2000 obtained a staff position in Karachi, Pakistan. After two weeks, Maurice got a stroke and never recovered. The then High Commissioner for Pakistan, General Srilal Weerasoriya with the help of “O.K” and Capt.Dalkin Samidon helped Maurice to return to Sri Lanka. From here onwards life was a huge struggle until his death. I personally know that “O.K” was helping him until his final days.

Maurice was a dear and a sincere friend who was loved by many. Friends who knew him well enjoyed his sharp sense of humour. Maurice enjoyed doing favours to those who were dear to him at the risk of his reputation and was ready to face any adverse situations.

GRANT HIM O LORD

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Maurice Werapermall Remembered by Nihal D Amerasekera 2/4/09

It was with deep sadness I received the news of the demise of yet another friend from our era at school. I came to know Maurice and his younger brother Bryan when they joined the boarding in the early 1950’s. Their father worked in the Coconut Research Institute in Lunuvilla. They had a Renault car with the engine at the rear and I do recall they arrived in the hostel at the beginning of every term with the trunks on the roof.

Maurice told us firmly at the very beginning that his name was not Weeraperumal but Werapermall which is a European name, No one believed him but now I know that was true. Maurice was a smart guy. He had a light hearted attitude to school work but I recall being in the same class with him for English with Fred Abeysekera as the teacher. He had a wonderful command of the English language and produced some fine essays. His spelling was exceptional.

He was a great sportsman himself and also a vocal supporter of our many school teams. My lasting memory of Maurice is playing cricket in the small park. This was long before the limited over games began. He wanted a quick finish and batted and bowled to that end. He was a demon bowler who sledged his opponents not to intimidate them but to make fun. He swung the bat and on a good day the ball reached the Nalanda grounds. Maurice played Rugby for the school 1st XI. His speciality was athletics and hurdles in particular. He came up against a formidable opponent in OK Hemachandra. They struck up a friendship which lasted until the end of his life.

He loved the bohemian life style in the boarding but despised its regimentation. Maurice was a rebel, pretty forthright and spoke his mind. Yet that was his strength and also his weakness. In the fifties we were not allowed to express our views. We were only to be seen and not heard. His hot temper left him impatient of anyone, even fellow students. We understood his body language in that situation and avoided him. However, his flinty, selfless integrity never wavered and no one had a bad word for him.

Maurice was always well groomed and well presented. He had a western swagger, good looks, and an impeccable sense of style. He was the author of much mischief at school. No ripe papaws or plantains in the premises or just outside were safe when he was around. He had the remarkable ability to give boys nicknames to suit their persona and their ways. These names were so realistic they stuck with them for life. Despite his apparent arrogant and aggressive demeanour at school these first impressions were misleading. He was a loyal friend and had a heart of gold. I have witnessed first hand his kindness towards the less wealthy and also the less able at school during our long association. He had a wide circle of close friends who supported him all through his long and final illness.

Maurice had a fine sense of sophisticated humour, rarely seen at school. He made us laugh. We will always remember him for this. I last saw Maurice in 1960 when he left school. I wish I had the good fortune to meet him after leaving Wesley. He had a fine repertoire of amusing anecdotes which he changed to suit the occasion. I was told Maurice lived life to the full and was a popular figure. I sincerely hope he has had a good life despite the troubles of the last few years.

Maurice's flamboyant style, irreverent humour and loyal friendship ensured him a unique place in school life and beyond.

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Mr. C. M Fonseka by J.L.F De Mel

Added 16th April 2009

A Teacher at Wesley from 1916-1945

The last of the band of contemporaries to retire from Wesley among those who belonged to the Highfield regime and the good old days of Dias, Mack and Honter-passed away with the sudden death of Mr. C. M. Fonseka on the 6th of March 1958.
One could hardly believe that the familiar figure of C. M. that unfailingly showed itself at every school function or gathering will be henceforth conspicuous by its absence. When, almost the other day, he was seen hale and hearty as ever, moving among his friends, colleagues and past pupils during the Old Boys' week end and in reminiscent mood, relating various incidents that stood out concerning school personalities during a period of well nigh 40 years, and later sat to lunch with a record number of Old Boys, little did ·he or any others present realise that it was. in fact the last memorable Scene in the Final Act in the drama of Life, so far as C. M. was concerned. Even so, it seems to us now the most appropriate way for C. M. to have moved away from the scene of his labours after having foregathered with a representative section of those who came within his benign influence and held him in high esteem and affection as one who had given of his best in loyalty and devoted service to his Alma Mater for a record spell of years.

C. M.'s amiability and friendliness and the way he enjoyed doing what he could for his old school were characteristic of the man; for even just before he made his final exit from the school premises he was impressing on a group of friends the great benefits Wesley boys could enjoy from establishing a Dental Clinic-a project he was sure could be a present reality. During his years of retirement he busied himself contacting Old Boys to help swell the Building Fund, and it must have been a matter of gratification for him to have seen for himself that the Highfield Memorial Building had reached completion. He joined the staff of Wesley in 1916 and retired only four years ago, in December 1953. During those years he showed great enthusiasm in the teaching of Geography and took a special pride in the fact that he was one of the earliest Hostel Masters and perhaps the First assistant Scout Master of the first Wesley Scout Troop. He was greatly interested in Gardening and yearned for the fruition of a great scheme of his to establish a School Farm where he could use his many talents to train his pupils in Horticulture and in the rearing of birds and animals, thus passing on his own expert knowledge and enthusiasm to the younger folk, to find in such a pursuit both pleasure and profit. It was indeed unfortunate that when his dream was about to become an accomplished fact, World War II intervened and the opportunity passed.
Yet those who have visited his home know what a veritable Botanical Garden in miniature filled his compound and what pleasure he derived from taking his friends around, talking of his rare collection of plants and the pets, birds and poultry' as well. This aspect of his interest he put to good use in the school by the care and attention he paid to planting out in well laid garden plots and flower beds cuttings and seeds from his home nurseries-a labour of love he continued for many years till he retired. It was a fitting tribute to his devotion to the school that he was made Supervisor of the Primary Department during the period before retirement . . Unassuming, quiet, simple in his ways and always genial and friendly he took a personal interest in the boys he taught as well as in those who came to know him in one way or another. A host of grateful pupils as well as many others who came into close contact with this veteran teacher who endeared himself to them by his simplicity and kindliness will long cherish the memory of one who served the school he loved so dearly with such zeal and fervour. May he rest in peace.

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Ralph Cecil Arthur Woutersz - By Nizar Sapideen

20th April 2009

1939 - 2009

RALPH WOUTERSZ Obituary April 17, 2009 Loving husband of Elizabeth and devoted father of Andrew. Forever with the Lord A graveside service for RALPH will be held in the graveyard of St Peter's Anglican Church, Windsor Street, Richmond, Sydney, Australia this Thursday morning (April 23, 2009), at 9.30 a.m. A Service of Thanksgiving will follow at the Epping Baptist Church, corner Ray and Carlingford Roads, Epping, Sydney commencing at 11.30 a.m. By request no flowers.

Ralph Woutersz passed away yesterday. Ralph was ailing for some time and his demise is a sad loss to Wesley OBA (NSW). Ralph was a class mate of mine in the very late 50's. He was a good athlete, excelling in the Hurdles event and represented Wesley at the Public Schools Athletic Meet.

Photo - Wesleyites at the Funeral

Left to Right: Nizar Sapideen, Bill Deutrom, Harris Anthonisz, Mel Mottau, Ernie Algama, Ralph Pereira, Ken Anthonisz

Nizar with Mrs.Woutersz and Son, Andrew

From the Editor: My grateful thanks to Nizar Sapideen for the photos and script

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - P.G.R. (Gilbert) Fernando sent by Keith de Kretser

 Obituary May 2009

FERNANDO - P.G.R. (GILBERT). Retired Head Master Wesley College , Colombo . Safe in the hands of Jesus. Beloved husband of Nesta (formerly at Jayawardenapura Hospital ), loving father of Nishanthi (Shin Kwang Lanka), Nalin (ICC Ltd.) and Gihani (Dialog Telecom Plc), father-in-law of Damayanthi, loving grandfather of Nimhan and Nimsari, expired. Cortege leaves residence 244/7, Dines Place , Kaduwela Road , Pittugala, Malabe at 1.00 p.m. on 29-05-2009. Interment at Raddoluwa Methodist Church Burial Ground at 4.00 p.m.

I noted with sadness the passing of Mr PGR Fernando another one of those famous teachers that served Wesley for more than 25 years with distinction. Many would remember him I am sure as he was an institution in the Junior school for many years. I think he was house master of Lemphers House in the Juniors School .

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Neville Oswald Ludowyke

Obituary July 2009

The many tributes from his loyal friends

Funeral Mass for the repose of the soul of Mr Neville Oswald Ludowyke will be offered at St Simons Church, 2 Taylors Lane, Rowville, TOMORROW (Sat. July 4, 2009) at 11 a.m. The Funeral will leave at the
conclusion of Mass for burial at Springvale Botanical Cemetery, Princes Hwy, Springvale. Rosary will be recited in Tobin Brothers Currents of Life Chapel, 505 Princes Hwy, Noble Park (opp. Browns Rd) TONIGHT at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Peter MacCallum Institute. Envelopes will be available at both venues.

Good Bye Nifty (Neville Ludowyke) by Keith de Kretser- Melbourne

A bleak winter’s day greeted mourners as they gathered with the Wesley brotherhood to farewell Neville “Nifty” Ludowyke on his final journey home to his maker. The church began to fill from 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. service of thanksgiving and as expected a large crowd was in attendance to farewell one of life’s nice guys. A free spirited generous guy in every sense of the word to his wife, son, family and friends, Neville was a popular bloke and many were there as he had touched their lives in some small way along life’s journey. The brotherhood of Wesleyites was well represented and sat in the seats next to the choir looking sombre at the loss of a loyal and proud Wesleyite and all wearing the College tie that identified our pedigree the ‘band of double blue”.

The many Wesleyites present were choristers in their day at Wesley and lived up to the Methodist traditions of music and supported the choir in all the hymns singing with gusto. Neville lived life to the fullest and in that symbolic new testament passage of scripture from St Paul’s letter to Timothy, the words rang true …. ”As for me the hour has come, the time is here for me to leave this life. I have done my best; I have fought the good fight. I have run the race; I have run the full distance and kept the faith. …” Older brother Winston in a brief eulogy paid tribute to Neville capturing in words the lovable larrikin and spirit that Neville represented and some of his experiences as a schoolboy at Wesley and later on in life in Sri Lanka and overseas.

At the conclusion of the service, the cortege left for the lawn cemetery where his mortal remains were to be buried. At the request of his wife and son and knowing Neville, possibly his final wish, he wanted his beloved alma mater to feature in the final moments of his journey. As the mourners braved the grey skies, intermittent drizzle and bitterly cold winds all the Wesleyites present, about twenty in all, formed a guard of honour as his coffin was carried to his final resting place. With the final strains of the graveside hymn “Nearer My God to Thee ‘ still ringing in the mourners ears, the old boys began the College Song which was sung in full concluding with the War Cry “Zam, Zam Zacky” which Neville look forward to singing at all old boy gatherings.

Nifty was one of the founding members of the OBU Australia Branch and served on the committee. He was a Wesleyite through and through. If there was anything for Wesley be it fund raising, hosting Old Boys regardless of the era, Nifty was there and would pledge his support. His wife Mignonne and son Trevine were dutifully inculcated about Wesley and in what it was to be a Wesleyite and to be the wife and son of one. The last time he joined the brotherhood to celebrate was at the senior’s lunch in 2008 when struggling to walk due to his illness, he climbed a short flight of steps to partake in the festivities. He would not miss it. Sadly as his condition deteriorated we did not see Nifty at our functions again and when we had that nostalgic re-union when Dr. Nihal Amerasekera visited Melbourne, Nifty could not join us. Nifty supported all the functions of the OBU since inception and he would ensure that at every Double Blue Dinner Dance he would organise at least two tables.

At one dance when he was Social Secretary in our formative years, we had over 450 patrons in attendance. At the end of the night it was the Social Secretary’s duty to organise the clean-up, etc. We searched and searched but could not find Neville who was responsible for co-ordinating this task. After sometime we finally found him being carried out to a waiting car to go home. The dance was a great success and Nifty had celebrated the occasion in fine style and was sadly a bit under the weather. As friends and colleagues gather their thoughts I am sure there will be many fond anecdotes that capture the character of Neville. So as another passionate and loyal Old Wesleyite leaves our midst, we remember Neville with love and treasured memories of happier times.

As the words of that famous old fireside classic Beyond the Sunset remind us, may Neville’s soul rests in peace for evermore beyond the sunset of this earthly life.

Beyond the sunset,

O blissful morning, when with our Saviour heaven is begun;
Earth's toiling ended,
O glorious dawning,
beyond the sunset when day is done.
Beyond the sunset,
no clouds will gather,
No storms will threaten,
no fears annoy; O day of gladness,
O day unending,
Beyond the sunset eternal joy!
Beyond the sunset,
a hand will guide me To God the Father whom I adore;
His glorious presence,
His words of welcome,
Will be my portion on that fair shore.
Beyond the sunset,
O glad reunion,
With our dear loved ones who've gone before;
In that fair homeland we'll know no parting,
Beyond the sunset forever more!

A Tribute from a family friend

A dear friend of our families since 1955. Thanks for the fond memories of friendship and laughter, embellished with
a deep spirit of your generosity and love. One of natures gentlemen, a diamond in the dust now lost forever. Your battle in life well fought, the race over. As you play on Elysian fields we will always treasure the priceless legacy of your friendship forever. Deepest sympathies to Mignonne, Trevine and Natalie. Rest in Peace

GRANT HIM O LORD

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Neville Ludowyke remembered by Nihal D Amerasekera - 29th June 2009

We are all travellers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend

Robert Louis Stevenson

I came to know Neville in the boarding as a boy of unfailing courtesy and great charm with a quiet but very real sense of humour. Despite his strong character and husky voice soon won our confidence and affection through his genuine kindness and sympathy. Even at a young age he fought for the needy and the underdog. In spite of his natural reserve he was wonderful company. At school he loved the outdoor pursuits more than the books and tests. Neville joined in the cricket and football in the small park and thrived on the heated banter which was part of the game in the hostel. At school Neville rarely pulled out of an argument but was always reasonable helped by his wit and common sense, which were rare gifts. He was always a loyal and genuine friend. Our mums were friends from their schooldays in Girls High School in Kandy. This gave us something in common and remained friends until he left school to emigrate to Australia. Then we lost contact for two decades and made contact again through my Double Blue International website. Neville was a founder member of the Old Boys Union Australia and remained a loyal supporter in the committee for many years. The passage of years did not diminish his love for his old school and remained a true blue Wesleyite to the very end.

Neville was a keen Rugby player and represented the school in the 1958/59 seasons. He recounted his vivid memories of those years in his article to the Double Blue International

Links to further reading

When I planned to visit Melbourne he wanted me to stay with him but I knew of his poor health. I phoned him 3 weeks prior to his demise and had a long chat reminiscing. In any life there are difficulties and Neville was not immune to these. There were health problems. Despite his disability due to his final illness he had the courage and the dogged determination to lead as normal a life as possible, aided by the devotion of his wife Mignonne. Neither did his sense of humour desert him. To me he will always remain young, seventeen and smiling as when I saw him last on the steps at Wesley. We will not see his cheeky grin ever again. To his family he gave his love and guidance, to his friends his loyalty and to his school much affection. We miss him and give God thanks we knew him. Neville passed away at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne after an eight year battle with cancer.

GRANT HIM O LORD

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In Memoriam - Robin Reimers

Obituary July 2009

An Appreciation by Nihal D Amerasekera

Praising the quality of his all-too-short life is easy. Making sense of the injustice of his death is harder. No one conquers death. But you can achieve a certain triumph over it. This Robin did, and how he did it is a lesson for us all. The lesson is that it is not the longevity of your life but the intensity of it that counts.

Robin came into my life at school at an extraordinarily young age. He had the same feelings, anxieties and crises as the rest of us. But he had the self-awareness to recognise them and the determination to overcome them. Robin was a charismatic and dashing lad at Wesley with a clear, youthful and incredibly engaging manner. He was a man of sharp mind and yet of much heart. Everyone knows individuals with one or the other of these characteristics but they are seldom combined in the level of quality Robin personified. In the 1950's as a schoolboy he was upto all the pranks. His rascality and naughtiness was his hallmark but he had the remarkable ablity to prevent its escalation into anything serious. Despite the hard talk at times he had a more gentle and thoughtful nature too. He had a natural empathy for the less affluent and the less fortunate at school. We liked him much and his sparkling exuberance was a joy to us all.

Cricket was his passion then and was a good criketer at that, representing the school in the 1st XI for a couple of years, in the early sixties. His exploits on and off the field are legendary and have passed on to cricket folklore at Wesley. It must have been Robin's seemingly bottomless supply of self-belief that made him such a good sportsman.

Robin and I have been friends for 60 years. Although we were separated by many thousand miles have kept in touch with email. When I finally decided to meet my school friends in Melbourne Robin asked me to stay with him, despite his illness. We met on the 19th of March 2009 when the OBUA held a dinner. It was great to see Robin and all my friends. The chubby 'baby' face he had in school was gone. He had aged far more than his years. The lines and furrows in his face were the result of his battle with cancer. I will never forget his hug which nearly broke my ribs. Nothing much seemed to have changed in that score since the schooldays. I felt so grateful he made an effort to see me despite his pain and discomfort. Harmless gossip was exchanged. Our enduring friendship was re-invigorated. We laughed and reminisced late into the night until the pain returned. Robin still remembered the stories and anecdotes which brought us all together at school. Robin had an almost boundless capacity for friendship. He's the most amazing person to be with, no effort at all, and I feel I've known him for years and actually I have.

He didn’t always know he was going to die young. But he lived as if he might. Robin was widely and deeply loved, surrounded by friends in good health and in bad. His own conviviality won him loyalty among others, in whom his jovial modesty brought out the best. He loved a social occasion and the crowded room.

My last farewell - Melbourne, March 2009

Robin and Glen were great chums at Wesley and also in later life. I am very grateful Glen made time to see me at the dinner in Melbourne. To see them both together again since schooldays was a special treat. Robin was philosophical about the future but was determined to fight his long battle to the very end, and so he did, most valiantly.

Now, all the good we say about Robin doesn't mean he was a Saint. He has an irreverent streak which probably debars him from cannonisation. His range of expression was broad and and his views were often robustly delivered. His essential quality was that he cared about others. Robin really did value his friends and was unstinting in his support for them. Loyalty and dependability are admirable qualities in this changing and competitve world.

Robin left a huge gap in the lives of his family and his many friends, but also left many fond memories. He will be remembered by his school friends for his vitality and sense of humour. He received the respect of all who knew him. Our sympathies go out to Trilby and the sons and also Glen.

Robin passed away without fuss and with great dignity. Wesley lost one of its most contagious and mischievous smiles, and twinkliest of them all.

Happy Get - Together at the OWSC

We will remember Robin - Always

GRANT HIM O LORD

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Robin - Blubber by Peter Casiechetty

Riemers I suppose it is easy for me remember "Blubber" Riemers as Robin was affectionately known to all, as the plumpier of two brothers. Robin was a kind lad and in primary school I used to take time off from throwing stones and watch him at a game of cricket, with his class- mates in the small park. I liked to watch him bat and if he was on my stone throwing stopped for as long as he batted. I was a little nuisance and all he needed to do was frown and I would by respect for an older brother look for something else to do. The boys in his class were older than mine and while Tony Musafer, or "Big Baboon", Samahoon Dennis Colin Thome and Kaki Bill Deutrom were "well behaved" Golu Gunasekera and a few others were politely put, not. On the park we learned a few new words, but never one from Robin.

He was the decent, kind type. The Riemers boys were boarders for a while and Glen was the smartly dressed chisel nosed statuette whose sleeves were impeccably "balance" at the elbows, his trousers creased making him look a young Cary Grant. He had in my opinion all that was needed to make him a Hollywood star. In the opinion of many Mount Mary girls too. Robin was a normal as any William we read about in the little hardbacks for schoolboys. His shirts fought to stay out side his trouser tops and his socks slipped into his shoes. He was one of the crowd and a popular boy. As we moved on the politics of the country, rightly I will add were changing. Those of us who knew only English were looking gloomily at the horizon and what the Antipodes or Europe had in store. Who could blame them! The first load of immigrants were at my doorstep - Kotahena, the Harbour the ships and the leaving to settle down. On Fridays of Second Term we heard the team announcements for the Under 14 and Under 16 cricket matches.

On Mondays at General Assembly was all about the results of the games played. The same names kept coming up over and over again. Robin's was one always mentioned. He was a stylish batsman and could have looked to a long and a grand career if his parents had chosen to stay. For four years he shone and then the Riemers left the boarding and were day scholars. I saw Glen and Robin together on the school bus. Glen was ever the aloof. Now a major player in the Ist XI cricket, hockey teams and also in the Rugby XV he never seemed to lose his guard or his nerve nor have time for the indisciplined like me. I could see that Robin was a mite different. He would peep out of the bus at the good looking school girls with a smile and a joke. This was the Galle Road bus that went down to Moratuwa. There was Milroy Jebaraja who was always funny and Robin, Evarade Schoorman in a bunch. Ignoring us completely and we raised hell. When things got out of control there was Robin's glance and a word and things cooled. I do not know if he had plans but after the first year of cricket mostly in the "hot dug out" Robin took leave of Wesley. he was young. I would have liked to see him and Dennis Colin Thome bat together or Russel Ingram and Teddy Campbell. But the politics of the day meant that these youngsters would make people in Australia and England marvel at their artistry. Russell Ingram as we all know met with a tragic death. Teddy went on to Preach and Robin continued to charm the Australians.

He would charm one in particular and that is Trilby. She and the children have our kind thoughts and I want her to know that Robin was a gentleman to the soles of his feet. He was a kind and generous person and never ever tolerated a bully. I know he helped Trevor Gollu and a number of his classmates financially and warmed at my idea that we should be in a Collective to Aid Old Wesleyites who have not got Social Benefits that we have. That meant the one we left behind in Sri Lanka. Robin also shook me into place when I treated an old boy with scorn over a remark he made about a friend. I was seething and poured my heart out in an email. "Stop you ranting and get to the point" he said. Robin you know I did, because I loved and respected you. If I was going to be insulting again, I did not let you know because you must have remarked when you were watching that I am incorrigible. I thank you for the lessons I learned at Wesley, and I thank Wesley for boys like you Robin.

My last few miniutes to you on the phone were too short. I wanted to write you a letter and tell you that you'll live to a 105 because you are a tough bugger. I was told you were in pain. Today I hope you are not and I know that you are at peace. I was there and came back three times, you know that because I told you all about it. I will never forget you telling me to oil the edges of my bat when I was walking to practice. I knew you were joking. I am sure the whole OBU joins me with saying this to you. I ofen used a few of your catch phrases when I was sledging someone. I got a bump on the head for my trouble. You have not gone too far away. Until I lose my memory, you will be on my shoulders in my head and in my heart Blubber.

God Bless you and may you Rest in Everlasting Peace.

A Tribute to Robin Reimers by Lalith CR Wijesinghe

At College Robin was to me , the younger brother of my dear friend Glen. He played for the 1st XI Cricket Team with us at a tender age of fifteen years.This showed what a talented cricketer he was.

Robin and Glen migrated to Australia in 1961 and Wesley lost two cricketers prematurely , who I am sure would have made an even bigger contribution than now.

In spite of the distance my friendship with them never faded, specially because of Robin. He ensured that he kept in touch with his host of friends both in Sri Lanka and other locations. Sri Lanka was close to his heart and he never failed to make his regular trips here. Everytime he visited meeting up with his classmates and colleagues was a high priority.

I recall the occasion he picked us up from the Melbourne International Airport at a most inconvenient hour,the first time we visited Australia. This exemplifies the person Robin was. My wife and I, always used to enjoy Robin & Trilby’s hospitality at their home in Melbourne. The weekend we spent at Glen’s country home in Bonny Doon,with Glen,Robin,Upali ,their wives and Errol is still etched in my memory. We had the most memorable time . Anecdotes from College times together with the spirit that cheers kept us going till 3.00 in the morning. A barbeque the next day where the late Hilary De Vos and wife joined topped it all. Thank you Robin and Glen for the pleasant memories.

Robin was a sincere,reliable and generous friend. They are a rare breed today. He had an exceptional intellect and his writing skills certainly made an impact . I enjoyed reading his emails and the contributions he made to the Old Wesleyite’s web page.

Trilby was Robin's soulmate and constant companion .My wife and I extend our most heartfelt sympathies to Trilby and her family. The Wesley fraternity will miss Robin deeply. I consider myself privileged to have been Robin’s friend.You will be in our hearts always.

Farewell my friend.

From Neville Koch

Hi Trevor, fellow classmates and boys of Wesley,

It is with profound sadness that I received the news of Robin's passing away.As you say, we have all lost a very special friend. For some of us (Robin's classmates in particular) who knew Robin from the early 1950's up to the time he left our shores for the land Down Under, who had the privilege of knowing Robin for 60 years, I believe the pain is even greater. We have lost a most sincere, genuine and devoted friend! We were the guys who enjoyed (or endured) class teachers like Joyce Leembruggen (UKG,1951), Agnes Smith (Std.2A), Iris Blacker (Std.3A), Oliver Swaris (Std.4A), Iris Blacker again and Dulcie Leembruggen (Std.5A), Ivor De Silva (Form 1A, 1956), Edmund Dissanayake (Form 2A, 1957), and Rachel Leembruggen (Form 3A, 1958) - to name a few! Of course, we all enjoyed playing cricket, soccer and hockey together in the small park, where some of us (guys like Robin and others) graduated to playing those games "big time" at the venerated " Campbell Park ." Some of us sat on the boundry lines and cheered our guts out, relishing our victories, sober and sportsman-like in defeat ("taking cool whatever befall"). We enjoyed lots of great fun - and, of course, giving our teachers a hard time! We shared our deepest secrets, our joys, our struggles. We skinned our hearts and skinned our knees together. We were in and out of each other's homes, where we enjoyed eating lamprais and watalappan. We talked about almost everything under the sun - and, of course, about the GIRLS of All Saints, Metho and Lindsay et al (ask William Deutrom about those long "after school" walks from Bambalapitiya to Borella)! He will tell you about those "glorious" days!

Such are the memories (and many more) that we all cherish and treasure (and will do so till we die). We can all profoundly thank God for bringing us together (that was no accident), for what we learnt from each other, and for how, in unique and unimaginable ways, we helped shape each other's lives over the years. In the midst of our grief, we can thank God for Robin - that bright and shining star that impacted and enriched our lives in so many wonderful ways. We will all certainly miss him. I believe he is at peace with his Maker, free from all sickness and pain. And to dear Trilby and family, Glen, Jill and family, Lorraine and I offer our heartfelt condolences. Though so far away, you are all much in our thoughts and prayers. May the Lord give you strength and comfort in the difficult days and long, lonely nights ahead. May you know the peace of His presence in the midst of your pain! Regards, Neville.

A Tribute from Ranjit Aaron - From New Zealand

It is with deep regret and deep pain of mind I struggle to write these few words of appreciation. At the sad loss for my dearest and loving class mate & friend, Robin.
We were in contact by via email, untill very recently, when it suddenly faded away.
Robin is one who respected and up held others principals. I always loved his company. Even during the Small interval & Lunch intervals. When they sneaked out to have a punt at Salih's boutique, at the end of Karlshure Gardens. I always accompanied, because, I always loved being in the companyof Robin. Although I never ever smoked during my school school career. Many tried to encourage me to smoke, but not Robin. His words were always respect others principles.
I still remember vividly some of his vocabulary. One that comes to my mind, which he used frequently during his school days. When some one attemped to do some thing beyond them, he said "Card less". yh
He was really one of the most generous guys during my school days. Even when he met me during the School centenary clebration. He inquired, if I had bought a ticket for the dinner, when I said I hadn't bought one he promptley bought two tickets for my wife and I
Although I knew Robin from my very inception at Welsey. Playing House cricket from the age of 14. We came even closer, when the ethnic classes were amalgamated after the JSC.
Playing cricket in the company of Robin, in what ever form. During our lunch breaks or in the small park was always an inspirationI. although I could not make it to the 1st.X1 side, He knew it, thats another chapter. I can write another chapter of his school cricketing prowess, well thats well known to all of us.
I am so thankful, that I was able to meet him during his last visit to Sri lanka in 2006. We had good drink at the OWSC. His parting words were "See you in Ossie"
I know it would be difficult time to console Trilby and the sons and their families at a time like this. But please be assured that Robin will be at Peace with his Creator. May his Soul Rest in Peace
.

A letter from Bryan Claessen - From Adelaide

Robin's passing is like losing a brother. I regarded Robin with great affection. I believe that we all, as Wesleyites in particular share in his family's sad loss.
I have sent Shanti via Sajeeka a list of many names of old Wesleites especially from my time. It was a list I had included in a poem I once wrote titled "To A Special Friend" that I had hoped to frame for inclusion in my den. As a matter of interest I made a desk for my den on which I inscribed the names of all my school mates that I could remember. It was a good way of constantly remembering friends. My one big regret about my school days is that I did not think of keeping photos of my class mates etc. Names come to mind and I am unable to put faces to them and I meet others and it is difficult to recognize them. It will be nice if the present youngsters are encouraged to keep such records.

I am not feeling the best at the moment but I 'll get over it.

Love to all

Bryan

Chester Robin Reimers By Keith de Kretser

1.09.1944 – 6.07.2009

Goodbye dear friend!

They say that life at times can be cruel and in the space of one week to be exact, the news reached the alumni community that loyal Old Wesleyite Robin Reimers had slipped away from this earthly life after valiantly fighting his cancer. Whilst we were all aware that his time was near, it is a difficult time for all of us and particularly the batch of 1960 - 1962 who paid their last respects to batch mate Neville Ludowyke only a few days earlier. The final days were difficult and Robin’s plea has been finally answered:

Labouring and heavy laden
Lord no longer will I roam
Here I fix my habitation
In thy sheltering love at home.

I am privileged to pen these few words on behalf of the many alumni in Australia in a tribute to a great Wesleyite and friend. Robin is the younger brother of Glenn and lived in the shadow of Glenn’s sporting achievements on the field in cricket, athletics and rugby. However Robin was no slouch himself and was an equally talented sportsman. Robin and Glenn with a few other Wesleyites in Melbourne carried the flag of Double Blue with pride at a time when the past pupils of Sri Lankan Schools did not have any associations in Australia. Robin was one of the inaugural members of the OBU Australia Branch when we formed in 1979.

My memories of Robin go back to my collection of College magazines of 1959, 1960, 1961 era and the many sporting team photographs where Robin who with cherubic good looks was the baby in the team be it standing in the back row of a cricket photo or with legs crossed on the ground with one of the Christofelsz brothers in a rugby photo. Robin served on the OBU Committee for many years and was instrumental in recruiting new members through his wide network of friends. He was involved in arranging regular cricket matches between Old Boys from Royal, St Thomas’, Trinity and St Benedict’s Colleges OBA’s and displayed his flair with the bat on many occasions. He was also involved with Norman de la Harpe in arranging a Golf challenge against Trinity OBA which continues to this day. Robin was a proud and loyal Wesleyite and supported the many OBU functions. At Committee, Robin provided a dignified balance to the debate and advice which gave perspective to the many issues the committee had to deal with. His love for Sri Lanka and Wesley combined saw Robin make many trips back to Sri Lanka. In the spirit of goodwill and support he graciously offered to act as the ambassador for the OBU Australia Branch in discussions with the College and alumni groups.

Robin was always ready to help the College in its hour of need and on many occasions answered Wesley’s call. His love for cricket and support for the work of the Cricket Development Committee at Wesley are well documented. However his generosity was not limited to helping the school but Old Wesleyites in distress. His concern for their well-being was not restricted to a mere donation but organizing a collection of funds, regularly contacting the person in need and monitoring their progress. He did not seek acknowledgement for these generous deeds of kindness but it demonstrated his concern and commitment to help others who were less fortunate than himself. Robin represented a lot of those old world values and charm that we miss today. Not big in stature but of solid character, decent and forthright, a loyal and trusted friend and above all a gentleman who enjoyed the simple things in life without much fuss and ado. These qualities earned the respect of many. His engaging presence and friendly demeanour endeared him not only to his peers but to Old Boys of all age groups (Senior and Junior to him) who had the opportunity to meet him and share fond memories of those halcyon days of our youth at Karlsruhe and Campbell Park.

Photo - Three generations of Reimers

3 generations of ReimersHe was liked by all who knew him and lived up to the accolade of being one of life’s “nice guys”. In cricket parlance he was an all rounder and a player you would pick in your team. Robin took up the fight against cancer with a positive and courageous mindset and continued to live life to the best of his ability as this insidious disease took hold of him. Trevor Collette, Rodney de Kretser, George Robertson and I with our partners, along with Trilby and Robin would go away for the weekend in recent years and after Robin was first diagnosed with cancer. Even though he had some discomfort at times and was in recovery, he fought his battle privately and never did he seek our sympathy, complain about his lot in life but carried on with a positive outlook. His love for Sri Lanka and Wesley slotted into his final plans and with his whole family he visited Lanka not long ago for the last time to say goodbye to his friends and pay his last respects to the land of his birth and the school that he loved. His fierce loyalty and love of his friends saw him put aside his own adversity and pain to fly up to Brisbane to support Bill Deutrom in his hour of need when Bill’s wife passed away last year.

He again bravely gathered up the courage and made an appearance at the dinner we held for Dr Nihal Amerasekera in March this year in Melbourne to the delight of everyone. However his stay with us that evening was short as the pain and his fragile health forced him to retire early. The photo of Robin circulated at the time from the function shows how his physical appearance had declined rapidly in recent months. I last saw Robin just about a month to this day when I dropped in to see him at his home and spent about an hour with him and his wife Trilby. I took him some ulundu vadais and sambol and though he had lost his appetite, he enjoyed two vadais for his lunch in my presence. He was lucid and we chatted about the changes happening at Wesley under the stewardship of the new Principal and the well being of other Old Boys both in Australia and overseas. Tiredness has prevented him from reading his emails and in recent months communication via the internet diminished. As usual his fervent wish was that Wesley would move forward in a new direction under Dr Shanthi McClelland’s stewardship and that he would restore some of her standards and standing in the community. As I said good bye I knew it would be the last time I would possibly see him and it was difficult to remain composed as we made eye contact for the last time. A shadow of his former self he was still gracious and dignified as he endured the pain and uncertainty of the future.

Photo - At the OWSC in happier times

So as friends and the brotherhood of Wesleyites prepare to farewell Robin on Friday this week, we remember him with fondness, the happy times we shared,, his inspirational and courageous fight against cancer and above all what Robin stood for. He endured the final days in a lot of pain and at last his weary soul may rest in peace. To his wife Trilby, sons Stuart and Tristan and their families, brother Glenn and family and Mrs Reimers Senior, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We give thanks to God for the love and care demonstrated by Trilby and the boys as they cared for Robin and made his final days comfortable in the warmth and comfort of his home rather than in a hospital. May God’s divine providence grant them the courage and strength in the days ahead as they grieve over the loss of their dear one, truly one of life’s ultimate gentlemen. Bless them Lord we pray. So from all of us “Good Bye dear friend” till we meet again on that heavenly shore.

A friend we love does not go away,
they walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near,
still loved, still missed and very dear.
A friend we love remains with us for love itself lives on,
and cherished memories never fade away because a loved one's gone.
Those we love can never be more than a thought apart,
for as long as there is memory, they’ll live on in our heart.

My Memories of Robin Reimers by Bill Deutrom

Photo of Bill and Maureen Deutrom taken during the 125th Anniversary celebrations

My memories of Robin Reimers go back many years, in fact to 1949 when we were both in the College Kindergarten, along with Trevor Collette and Robin Perera. All of us were members of a mini band, led by Robin Perera with the big drum, followed by the rest of the class with triangles and an assortment of odd instruments.; A distant but vivid memory. In those early years Robin Reimers progressed to be one of the leaders and he would captain either the English or Australian team with Trevor Collette being the other captain. These were great years for young Wesleyites, with sport being our main focus. I would always look up to Robin as he was a natural sportsman and a born leader. He represented College in the 1st X1 at a very young age, playing in D.Koddituwakku’s side in 1961. If he had not migrated to Australia he would have captained Wesley.

He represented Wesley in Rugby, Hockey and Athletics and was a fine all round sportsman. Robin was a well behaved student, avoiding the wrath of teachers unlike his close mates Rodney (Errol) Smith and Upali Perera who were terrors in College! Coming to Australia at an early age generally meant that you lost contact with your childhood friends. However thankfully due to the very active Old Boys Union in Melbourne, of which Robin was a founding member, we were able to make contact in the early 90’s and our friendship was renewed and strengthened. Maureen and I were fortunate to have been able to meet with Trilby and Robin on many occasions at Brookfield, Melbourne and Sri Lanka.

In SL during the 125th Celebrations we went to Nuwara Eliya where the girls visited an orphanage with gifts, while Robin and I attempted to master the golf course without much luck. That was a really great trip with many memories as the two long suffering Wesley wives had to put up with the same College yarns which had been recounted many a time. Maureen was very fond of Trilby and Robin, and both of us Wesleyites were blessed with our wives. Robin approached the challenge of his illness with fortitude and courage. His friendship was demonstrated to me, when despite his illness he came to Brisbane to be with me and supported me at Maureen’s funeral. When I saw him at the church I was amazed and humbled that he had made the journey.

I will always be grateful for his caring nature and I am terribly sad that towards the end we were reduced to an occasional phone call, as I understood that constant visits were too exhausting as the illness advanced. Robin was a friend who could be counted on for sound advice and with his excellent sense of humour had the ability to gently chide you without being offensive. He was a totally committed Wesleyite and even though he was very ill arranged to collect funds from ex-cricketers to assists the Wesley Cricket Committee with their work. All who knew or came into contact with Robin have been privileged to know a real gentleman in every sense of the word. Trilby has done a remarkable job to make his life comfortable over the last few years.

Robin never gave up hope but more recently he realised the battle was almost over. We will miss him dearly and I am sure he and Maureen will share a chuckle as we continue our struggle down here. Our thoughts and prayers are with Trilby, and sons Stuart and Tristan and his brother Glen who will be hurting terribly. Robin knew that he was surrounded by a wonderful family, a caring wife and friends who would always remember him with love. The Wesley flag at College is at half mast today, Tuesday 7th July, remembering and honouring a very special Wesleyite. Rest in peace my friend and God Bless you and your family.

Robin Reimers - The final journey by Keith de Kretser

Rays of sunshine filtered through the gathering grey clouds on this cold winter’s day as mourners gathered to farewell a shining star – Robin Reimers. The Wesley boys looking resplendent in their dark suits and College ties had turned out in numbers covering a broad age group as Robin was well loved by all who knew him. In a simple service of thanksgiving, symbolic of the simple lifestyle of the man, the family and friends gathered to farewell one of life’s gentleman. The eulogy was given by his niece Karen (Glenn’s daughter) and his two sons Stuart and Tristan who captured in words the many great attributes of Robin and what he stood for. These glowing tributes were punctuated by anecdotes of his life that highlighted many of these admirable traits. There was not a dry eye among the alumni as we remembered him at this time and our experiences.

The Wesley boys led the singing, Trevor Collette read one the lessons and I led the congregation in prayers for the faithful. After the committal, it was Robin’s request that as his mortal remains were carried out of the church it should be done to that favourite tune Vaya Condios. The words aptly changed to “Vaya Condios dear Robin, Vaya Condios my friend”. Glenn, his sons Stuart and Tristan and long time friend Harold Juriansz were pall bearers as they carried his coffin to the hearse through a guard of honour by the Wesleyites. The cortege then left for the crematorium where after prayers his remains were taken away to the strains of the College song and war cry. A sad ending and lasting memories of a treasured friend and a loyal old boy of Wesley. We then all adjourned to the church hall where the family and friends had gathered for afternoon tea and a wake in his memory.

At the conclusion once again it was Robin’s wish that his close friends return to his home and celebrate his life rather than mourn his loss. This is what Robin loved most where he would gather his friends and share a wonderful time of fellowship. Many of us will recall fondly the times at the OWSC and on his many visits to SL and at his home such gatherings and in a way it was a fitting way to celebrate his life. I had planned a small wake for the Wesleyites and their partners at home with a dinner and we left Robin’s home and adjourned to my place where we continued to celebrate his life and remembered him fondly. Though absent he was with us in spirit for this is what he would have wanted. We were delighted that Glenn and Jill joined us as the Wesley boys who were close friends reminisced and came to terms with our sad loss. It was almost the midnight hour when wearily we said our good byes after a long day knowing that our dear friend Robin was at last resting in peace and watching over us. It concluded one of the toughest weeks on our emotions with the loss of our two dear friends Neville and Robin.

A final note on behalf of the family. It has been an overwhelming outpouring of grief from the alumni around the world in phone calls, messages of sympathy, emails and written tributes. It is indicative of the high regard and respect they had for Robin and his popularity. Trilby, Stuart, Tristan Glenn and families are deeply appreciative and touched by your expressions of sympathy and prayers at this time as they mourn their loss.

Keith de Kretser, Melbourne

Eulogy - Tristan Reimers July 2009

When Dad was fighting his battle with cancer I would often find myself questioning the fairness of the situation. I did this right up until the last days of his life and had managed to convince myself I had every right to ask questions. The questions of course would invariably revolve around why God has chosen this path for Dad and our family. Knowing how hard my Dad had worked how was it fair that my dad will never get to enjoy his retirement with my mum? Why won’t they get to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next year? How is it fair that dad will never get to see two of his grandchildren take their first steps? Why have I been denied the opportunity to enjoy another round of golf with my dad and hear him sledge me about my inabilities to sink putts when money was involved? Why wont dad be there to see my brother and I take on the responsibilities and challenges parenthood will throw at us?

Clearly no one can answer the questions but Id still ask them struggling to come up with any meaningful answers. After dads passing I thought about how as a family are we ever going to move on without him there and I started to think about what dad would be doing now and what plans God has for him to see over us… As most of you will know, Dad enjoyed life and was never the type of person who missed out on making the most of the time he spent with friends and family. With that in mind I pictured dad starting his day at the Wesley College Sports Club in preparation for the morning cricket match between Royal and Wesley with a glass of Johnny Walker Blue close by to kick start the day and a plate of devilled squid within reach for breakfast. After cheering on the Wesley XI boys to a win I can imagine my dad making his way to Black Rock to enjoy the moment where his grandson Jed takes his first steps as a child with a grin on his face as big as the plate of rice and curry he was about to devour for his lunch. After enjoying Jeds achievement he’d then be off to Lords with Neville Lydowyke to watch Sangakara smash the poms all over the oval or maybe see Murali take his 1000th test wicket. It would then make complete sense for my dad to come to thinking that any day that started at the Wesley Sports Club must finish there as well. A glass of scotch in one hand surrounded by his mates reminiscing about the past with probably some country music blaring in the background would cap off a pretty good day. The day encompasses everything important to dad; enjoying family, valuing friendships, rice and curry, Sri Lanka, scotch and good music (although it has to be said dads taste in music has always been questionable) The thought of dad having a day like the one Ive just described makes the answers to the questions seem not that important anymore. 

What was important to dad was his family and friends, his family was his life and he valued his friendships like no one else I know and am ever likely to know. His commitment to his family was typified when Jed was born. Dad had spent a week at Cabrini hospital with terrible stomach ulcers leading up to Jed’s birth. Dad was discharged from hospital on the 20th of Jan and Jed was born at Cabrini the next day. Resting after surgery was never an option for dad, in fact he was the first family member to greet me with Jed at Cabrini. When he’s old enough it’s a moment I will take great pleasure in telling Jed about. The moment was a symbolic one a moment that no words can describe and a moment Jed and I will treasure forever.
On behalf of my brother and I, we would like to thank Mum's employer, Monash University and in particular her Managers, Robyn Wight and Karen Allsop who were instrumental in letting her use her leave entitlements to spend the last 3 months of Dad's life caring for him at home. The time Mum and Dad got to spend during this time was invaluable and ensured Dads wishes to pass away at home were fulfilled.

Over the past 7 years dad has worked tirelessly on completing our family tree and I know it would mean a lot to him if you could all take the time to visit the link that is printed on the last page of the service book. He worked tirelessly on it and even managed to convince mum to let him go to Sri Lanka to research it. I’m pretty sure though Mum knew his best work on the trip was done at the Wesley Sports Club though. 

Dad you were never the type to admit something like this but take it from me, you were and always will be the best member of the Reimers Tree by a long long way.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

In Memoriam - Robin Reimers of Wesley

By Mr. D.F (Fred) Abeysekera

20th January 2010

The warmth and generosity kindled by his friendship, will live on.

On reflecting on Robin’s life, I recall a poem taught to us in the Upper Sixth Form by that great English Teacher, C.R. Hensman – on “Buffalo Bill”.  Though dead, the poet, E.E. Cummings, recalls the athletic prowess of the man  -

“He used to shoot one two three four Clay Pigeons
Just like that!
Jesus –
He was a handsome man!”

Robin’s prowess as a sportsman is well known.  He was, perhaps, the youngest player to don the prestigious Wesley Cricket blazer, at the tender age of 13.
Brian Claessen was very young as well when he made the grade.  Perhaps, he was fourteen or fifteen at the time.
Robin was also one of that great pool of 125 – representing age tiers ranging from under 10 to under 19; the Second Eleven and consequently, Wesley’s magnificent First eleven at the time – in which  team his elder Brother, Glenn, excelled (1957 – 60)
Our Teacher-Student relationship which commenced when I was Master -in-charge of Hockey at Wesley blossomed and matured, over the years, to one of friendship and camaraderie – with Trilby, just as Jill Reimers did – identifying herself totally and joyfully, with the Double Blue fraternity – completely immersed in the spirit of it.
We spent delightful evenings together in the company of Upali and Charmaine Perera, Maurice and Jean Mortier, Norman and Helen de La Harpe (Norman was my classmate at Wesley) and Glenn and Jill; with my son, Dushy, and hiw wife, Leonie, joining in.

On each of these occasions, we re-lived the happy memories of our days at Wesley with thunderous laughter and bon homie!  The snippets of our school boy mischief (such as Norman switching the Sulphuric Acid label with an Alkali, in the Physics Laboratory, and the dire consequences this had on our Physics teacher!)  never losing its savour, though repeated a hundred times – “the suspension of disbelief”, as Professor E.F.C. Ludowyk taught us!

Robin’s love for Sri Lanka – his boyhood home – never waned.  It was with an immense sense of joy that he visited his beloved island in the sun – a land he loved, dearly, and of which, he was proud.  Trilby was always with him, on these happy occasions.
He travelled extensively, re-kindling sweet memories of his boyhood home – he saw the serenity and beauty of Sri Lanka’s copper beaches – warm and enticing, as old as when time began!  The waves beating on the shore – the blue and aquamarine seas – the fisherman coming in their catamarans, with their catch...... the cool, crisp air of the salubrious mountains – the beauty of Sri Lanka’s rivers, lakes, streams and waterfalls; of forests and wild life – the graceful leopard, the splendour of the peacock in all it’s glory.... the rainbow trout that tippled in the streams of Horton Plains....

He was “one with the people” in all his travels.  He used to tell me of his father’s love of the country and its rural folk, in particular – and this love and concern Robin carried in his heart – a love for his people – Sri Lankans, at all times.
I recall with joy the happy weekend we spent together in Robin’s holiday cottage off the beaten track in Melbourne – located by the sea.  Like children we joyously collected sea shells amidst much frolic and laughter.   My Grandson Dwayne, thrilled by the myriad sea shells scattered on the beach...Harold Juriansz, and his wife Charmaine, were with us, as well contributing in no mean measure to the treasure trove of ‘Wesley Tales of Yore’!

Trilby, Stuart and Tristan, Glenn, Jill and Karen will gain strength from the fact that Robin’s courageous life, despite all odds, was filled with the mirth of laughter; of love and concern for others, at all times.
This is how we shall remember him.

May flights of angels sing him to his rest

Fred Abeyesekera
24 Magnotta road
Markham
Toronto L6C 2VA
Canada
12/07/2009

Links to further reading


Tributes to Louis Thomas Adhihetty

Called to Rest 3rd August 2009

In Memoriam - Dr. Thomas Louis De Z Adhihetty B.A. (Hons.), M.A. (Cantab) Ph.D

ADHIHETTY - Dr. LOUIS THOMAS (Switzerland). (Former Principal Wesley College, Colombo and Vice Principal Trinity College, Kandy). Beloved husband of Lisbeth, father of Shakunthala, Arjuna (Switzerland), called to rest with Jesus on Sunday 3 August, son of late Bertie Adhihetty (Superintendent of Prisons) and Merlyn, brother of Arnold (UK), Malini de Silva (Cambridge International School) and late Vincent (Canada). Funeral on Monday 10 August 2009 in Switzerland. Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul's Church, Kynsey Road on 10 August at 5.30 p.m.

Links to further reading

A Tribute to Louis By Bryan Claessen

It is with very deep and overwhelming sadness that I received news of the passing of my dear friend “Lou”, whilst I was in Hospital in Adelaide with a severe chest infection. I had great difficulty breathing at the time and the news of Lou’s death, which reached my wife Carol via Warrick de Kretszer didn’t help my condition much. At the same time it made me frustrated at my own inability to respond quickly and effectively by assuring Lisbeth of our support at this very difficult time. It is with continuing difficulty that I now embark upon a simple tribute to the caring friend that Lou indeed was to me and to all “Wesleyites”.

Carol very promptly sent Lisbeth a message expressing our sorrow and our earnest prayers. Now I must, however, with due formality and great sincerity extend our deepest sympathies to Lisbeth, Shakuntala, Arjuna and their respective families and place on record our feelings of grief and despondency, shared by so many Wesleyites, young and old living in Sri Lanka and around the world. We mourn the loss of an outstanding person. A talented sportsman, a man intensely devoted to his family and a caring friend. The impact of Lou’s life on all of us is clearly demonstrated by the numerous messages conveyed on the internet alone.

It is true that we cannot share the burden of grief with Lou’s family as it will not lessen their very deep and personal feelings of loss. However, we as “Wesleyites” take great comfort by joining together and sharing our thoughts and our memories of Lou. To me there is that momentary easing of pain when I begin to think of the days Lou and Lisbeth spent with us some ten years ago, at our home in Tailem Bend in South Australia. I am sure Lou enjoyed our farm animals, the country solitude and the friends he made in our local community.

Lou and I, both enjoyed the stories and yarns we spun to one another of those magic and exciting days at school.
Lou as we all know, was a talented sportsman and he did well in everything he undertook. He played, Cricket and Hockey and Soccer . He was good at Volley Ball and Badminton. In Athletics he was absolutely outstanding and in terms of athletics a couple of stories come readily to my mind.

First there was the 440 yard relay in the inter-house championships. Lou and I were in Hillard house. I had participated in athletics as a very young lad but I elected to stick to Cricket exclusively. This caused one of the teachers to give me a rather hard time hoping to get me to participate in the School Athletic Meet for Hillard House. It made me more stubborn and as a result I was not seen running as an athlete for several years and until I became the house captain when I felt obliged to help out. In the 440 yard race I received the baton with all the others about 50 yards or more in front of me. I shot out like a bullet doing what would have been a 100 yard dash to overtake some. I soon got pumped out and I began to stride in a daze and when I reached Lou, neck and neck with the front runner. Lou did the rest with customary elegance to earn 3 points for Hillard by coming first.

At that same meet I also represented Hillard in the high jump. I was a short stump but I had a bit of spring in my jump that got me up a fair way. The stage was now set and there were three left. The bar was raised and Hussain ( Another magnificent athlete) took the first jump and knocked down the bar. Lou was next and he did the same. I was last in line and I cleared the bar by over 6 inches according to a jubilant Mr C.J. Thamotheram, who insisted that I’d win hands down. Lou and Hussian finally cleared the height and the bar was raised once more. Lou and Hussain cleared the new height with no more than a centimetre to spare. With my first jump my foot hit the bar; with the second I hit it with my waist and in the third I brought it down with my head. I was indeed lucky that I didn’t go completely under it. The first on the scene to console me was Lou. With his arm around me he said “” You did well Bryan because you are assured of one point for being third. Lou’s words were certainly comforting but it didn’t take away the sense of embarrassment. Lou took the honours according to my recollection and Hussain naturally took second place.

In Cricket I had the record at the time of scoring five centuries for Wesley. Not much later Lou equalled that and I was pleased to share the record with him which was finally broken by Danesh Dissanayake. Lou was one of the great all- rounders produce by Wesley. He was an elegant batsman, a bowler who was comfortable bowling fast or switching to spin and he was a superb fielder in any position.

One thing I could never understand about Lou was his ability at soccer to move his upper body to the right or left and run in the opposite direction to leave his opponent flat- footed. That used to really intrigue me.

It is evident that our lives were closely linked together through sports and our years at Wesley College. The most dominant aspect of our friendship over the years has undoubtedly been Lou’s very caring nature. Lou very regularly telephoned me from Switzerland simply to keep in touch and we both kept in touch by letters exchanged quite regularly.

Lou’s approach towards all “old Boys” of Wesley College was not limited to just a few, because he regularly kept in contact with many, living in many parts of the world I could go on and on telling stories that Lou and I shared with great joy during our brief meeting in Tailem Bend, ten years ago. It is however time for me to bring this my final tribute to my dear friend Lou to a close with a poem I wrote some years ago titled “A Journey’s End” and I’d like to share it with all “Wesleyites”.

Death is so universal,
Death, so inevitable.
We like the bright flowers of the field
Must bloom and we must all then yield.
Should we train ourselves to deal
With such loss and not feel?
Do we now search our minds
For answers of more logical kinds?
For the departed we weep.
Should we grieve so very deep?
Is there no faith to shed a tear,
For one that is to us so dear?
There is no faith diminished,
To cry when life is finished.
There was a lessen to be seen
When “He wept”.
The Son of God – The Nazarene.
I end this Tribute to Lou with the words of the Poet Thomas Gray:
“One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,
Along the heath and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he.”

Lou, will not be in his usual places from now on. We all as brother’s of Wesley College shall dearly miss him and we shall never, ever forget him.
As we all know, Lou was a devout Christian. An ardent and faithful follower of that great teacher of Galilee. We may take great comfort in the knowledge that Lou is now safely in the arms of his Lord and Master.

Lou Adhihetty – An Icon of Wesley has faded away By Peter Casiechetty

One like me should be forgiven for thinking of Lou Adhihetty as an immortal. Oh yes, for many of these years I never thought people like him could be taken away, but he has gone and by that I mean his mortal remains will soon be but dust and a large looming gap will be left in the lives of people all around the world and “more larger and more looming” in the lives of the Boys of Wesley young and old, past and present.

It was two years ago, at the Aigburth cricket grounds in Liverpool, I watched Sussex and Lancashire battle it out while sitting next to a white haired gentleman with a posh accent. He had been at Cambridge he told me and knew a Sri Lankan – Dr. Lou Adhihetty!

I went through the whole story about Lou’s records at Wesley College and conveniently slipped in that I was even lucky to be able to torment the great man with my off spin in the 1960s when he skippered the Old Boys XI in the founder’s day match. I left out about the time he was our PT master while on a summer vacation from Cambridge University because I was otherwise a source of his torment. The man introduced himself as a clergyman and in my mind some things are best left unsaid.

In the late 80’s in Paris I wore a sweater with the Wesley College double blues while the rest of my team sported the Standard Cricket and Athletic Club’s red and black striped woollies! Up walks a man and asks me why I was dressed differently and I replied, “because I am a Wesleyite and these are my colours!” David Barmes was a friend of Lou’s and this should indicate that I was living in a very small world! David and I became close friends for ten minutes and then I tormented his team while they batted! Dugal Jansz also a Wesley vice captain in the 1980s turned out for the same team - Geneva CC of Switzerland in the 1990s.

But my hero-worshipping the Adihetties, the Fuards and the Claessens took root in my father’s love for Wesley and the game of cricket. I learned about these people along with the stories from the classmate of another great, Mahadevan Sathasivam and the cousin of Ashley Casie Chetty a former Wesley wicketkeeper. Dad took me to the Wesley – St Peter’s match in 1955. In between the icy chocks that often made me sick, I watched two of the best schoolboy teams battle it out. Lou got a ton I think and so did Clive Inman! Samsudeen and Abu Fuard, Maxi de Silva, Harold Juriansz, and the youngest of the Claessens, a left armer, the late Herman made the side a stronger team than most club XI s. This was in keeping with the golden age of Wesley College where the academics and the sportsmen excelled under Cedric Orloff later Lou’s mentor.

But Lou like all the great sportsmen of Wesley in those years was available when advice was needed. He was as down to earth as other greats who walked the corridors of the school. As primary school boys we were seated closest to the senior prefects who stood at the second door in Assembly times. We were many to gape with open mouths at Lou or Ansar and want to imitate their every gesture. Even right-handers switched over to batting left so they thought they looked like Lou. We heard that he was also a brilliant student and we’d all liked to have been brilliant students and we dreamed on, till it was our turn to don the whites and wear the blazer. It was then that I realised that I would never be a Lou Adhihetty in sports or in studies. Millfield College, Cambridge University, ICI, Switzerland news of Lou always filtered back. The good news and now the bad.

This monumental old boy will be among the very few others who will never be forgotten for their sportsmanship, their academic ability and their leadership. I would advocate a change of us naming buildings after heads of the school who dragged the school into the decadent doldrums it is in today. If all and sundry could be treated like this people like Lou Adhihetty deserve to be put on a much higher pedestal – for he is one of the many true Wesleyites who would have moved mountains to uplift his old school and ours.

Lou to you, true old Wesley a giant among men, I will mourn you as long as I live.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

Former Wesley cricketer Lou Adhihetty no more By Sharm de Alwis

Dr Lou Adhihetty died in Switzerland on Wednesday. He served God and Wesley almost in equal measure. Lou was one of the finest cricketers produced by Wesley College which has had the distinction of producing M.K. Albert, the Gunasekeras, Mahadevan Sathasivam, Stanley Jayasekera, Bertram Henderling, Edmund Dissanayake, Abu Fuard and the Claessen brothers. In a period when Wesley played only six inter-school cricket matches, the 50s were, certainly the best years but 1956 was when they struck the purple patch. 1955 and '56 were considered by scribes the 'Lou Adhihetty years' even though the team he captained to be undefeated inter-school champions in 1956 had accomplished batsmen in brother Vincent Adhihetty, Patrick Schokman and Neil Gallagher; M. Samsudeen of the low trajectory as the opening bowler and a plethora of all-rounders in Lou, himself, Bryan Claessen and his brother Herman, Abu Fuad and his brother Ansar in the fore-front. Lou scored three centuries in 1956 out of the six games the school angaged in and scribes reported they had never seen a better batsman than Lou in the Wesley team. 1956 was the year in which the country's schools showcased the best batsmen - Ronnie Reid and Michael Tissera of STC; Lorensz Pereira and Brendon Gunaratne of Royal; Malsiri Kurukulauriya and Nimal Maralanda of Trinity and W.Premaratne with Ranjith Doranagama of St Anthony's being those who are within my memory. On leaving school, Lou entered Cambridge University and obtained his BA [Hons] and MA [Cantab] PhD. and returned to serve as Wesley's Principal from 1985 to '88. He also served as Director of the Asian Christian Service in Vietnam and as President of the Swiss Sri Lankan Association based in Switzerland. Lou leaves behind his wife, Lisbeth, daughter Sakunthala and son Arjuna.

Lou Adhihetty - An appreciation by Edmund Dissanayake

Former Wesley Principal Dr. Lou Adhihetty is no more News has been received of the passing away of former Wesley College Principal Dr. Lou Adhihetty, in Switzerland. Dr. Adhihetty was Principal of Wesley from 1985-1988. He was a wizard at sports. He captained the Wesley cricket team in 1955 and 1956 and also the hockey, athletics and soccer teams. Together with Bryan Claessen he held the record of having scored the highest number of centuries, namely four, until it was broken by Dhanesh Dissanayake in 1989 when he scored 5. To set the record straight, in 1991, Roshan David equaled 5 centuries. However it is Darshika Jayakody who holds the record of scoring 8 centuries, which he completed in 1998. While at Cambridge University, Lou obtained his Hockey Blue, being the first Sri Lankan to do so. While at Cambridge, Lou met his partner in life, Lisbeth. She was a tower of strength to Lou. While at Wesley, Lou taught German and English. Lou had two brothers, Vincent and Arnold. The latter captained Richmond in 1947, while the former, Vincent, was a useful cricketer, who was popularly known, even by the Principal Cedric Orloff, as ‘Gal Thoppi.’ Lou’s sister Malini was also an outstanding athlete at Methodist College. The Adhihetty family was well known to me. I can quote several interesting incidents, but this is not the occasion! Bertie Adhihetty was Superintendent of Prisons, and when he served in Jaffna, the numerous anecdotes connected, make very interesting reading. In a way, Lou’s rise to stardom happened quite accidentally. The final senior House cricket match was played on the Prison Grounds, bordering where Lou lived. In my capacity as captain, I asked Lou, then only 12, to don pads and proceed to bat as last man. He clobbered the bowling, and we won comfortably.

Wesley’s sporting legend Dr. Lou Adhihetty By Edmund Dissanayake

The funeral of former Wesley College, Colombo, Principal Dr. Lou Adhihetty BA (Hons) (Cantab) Ph.D was held in Switzerland on 10 August.While at Wesley, Lou captained the school at cricket, hockey, athletics and soccer, winning colours in all. 1955 and 1956 were glorious years for Wesley sport.

While in England, Lou captained Millfield College. He won his Hockey Blue at Cambridge University, being the first Sri Lankan to do so. His National Cap in hockey was won at the Asian Games in Djakarta in 1962.

For want of space, this article will refer to events not published earlier in connection with Lou.When Harold Nonis was Principal of Wesley, (1957-61), there was on the teaching staff five former cricket captains of Wesley. Nonis 1921, Derryck Mack 1950 and ‘51, Adhihetty 1955 and 1956, Lalith Wijesinghe 1962 and yours truly, 1946 and 1947.

The 1956 match against Trinity was played at Campbell Park. Finally, Wesley were left with 12 minutes to score 49 for victory. Normally, only four overs could be bowled. But Trinity wasted no time in field placing and changing after each over, and went on to bowl as many as six overs. The three bowlers conceded 47 runs while there were wides. Thus Wesley were victorious. The splendid sportsmanship displayed by Trinty is an object lesson to all schools.

Lou, as captain, had an array of top rate bowlers. He was feared as a demon bowler, together with Abu Fuard, M. N. Samsudeen, Herman Claessen, B. Buell and Warwick de Kretser and often mincemeat was made of the opposition.Soon after the Trinity match, Herman, youngest brother of Radley and Bryan, passed away after meeting with a motorcycle accident.

Victories against Royal and St. Peter’s followed. Wesley were fortunate in having several coaches who served as honorary coaches.

A Tribute to a friend - Lou Adhihetty by Nihal D Amerasekera

As we think of Lou today we are naturally shocked by the suddenness of his death and feel a deep and genuine loss.

I first came across Lou when he captained the school cricket team in 1956. That was a remarkable year for Lou, his team and the school. Wesley were unbeaten. His dazzling stroke play, aided by seemingly effortless timing, brought him 4 brilliant centuries. As a fast bowler he was an aggressive and whole-hearted performer and took many wickets to lead the side in great style and glory. Lou is still considered one of the most brilliant all rounders in the school's history. His photo appeared in the back pages of the popular newspapers week after week and became a household name in Ceylon. His fame that year grew immensely and reflected on the school and its many students. Lou played soccer and hockey with equal panache. He was a fine athlete. Despite his many achievements at Wesley he kept his feet firmly on the ground and his modesty and wisdom shone through. Softly spoken and unfailingly courteous to everyone on and off the field, he will be remembered as an outstanding cricketer, a thoughtful leader and one of the game's true gentlemen. Those wonderful times in a peaceful Ceylon left lasting memories.

Lou wrote in one of his emails: ........... Thanks for your e-mail. WE MUST KEEP IN TOUCH !
You recollect my sports achievements BUT YOU DO NOT KNOW THAT BECAUSE OF SINHALA LANGUAGE (WHICH WAS COMPULSORY IN MY TIME - 1954 - 56), I took 3 years to pass my SSC !!!...........................In fact, I applied to join the Police as a Sub-inspector and was selected to commence training in 1957 !!! My parents insisted that I should study - I HAD THE GUTS AND CHEEK to tell THEN SEND ME TO THE UK !!!

Lou left school end of 1957 to complete his education at a British Public School called Millfield. The School offered him a £300/annum scholarship. It is a school famous for its sports. Ian Botham played and studied there. Lou made best use of its facilities and excelled in sports and studies. He got the grades to complete his University education at Cambridge where he read Chemistry and proceeded to a Doctorate in Philosophy. He became the first Ceylonese Hockey Blue at Cambridge.

I came across Lou for the 2nd time when he joined the staff of the school briefly in 1960/61 teaching us chemistry in the 6th form. He was a dedicated teacher and was a great asset to the school. Despite his mild manner he was a strong character and a fine leader. Teaching was then a temporary arrangement and he left the country to work and live in Switzerland. Lou returned to Wesley College again in 1985 as its Principal whence he remained until 1988. As a Principal he inspired his students with his patient care and lovely personality. He wanted to make the school more humane, improve the boys' social behaviour, their dress and discipline, and give them a broader, all-round education. His knowledge and huge range of interests was a gift he imparted most generously to his youthful students.

Lou searched tirelessly for funds for his school, raising money from Old Boys, businessmen and other supporters, leaving the school thriving and independent. Much was achieved during his tenure but he never made a fuss about his achievements. The quality of his talk, responsiveness and charm were undiminished whatever the conditions in which he found himself. Although many appreciated his scholarship, generosity and kind ways it had implications. Sadly a small band of rebel old boys prevented him from doing his duty for the school he loved so dearly. Lou regretted this more than we did. I wish the Methodist Church gave him more support during those troubled times. Had events been otherwise Wesley would be a grander and a more stable school today. Lou was never bitter of this whole episode but much saddened. On the contrary, he seemed studiously determined to be as uncontroversial and understanding as possible. When Wesley's history is written this would remain as a blemish on the management and a handful of old boys, in the years to come.

He returned to an idyllic life once again in Zurich, Switzerland with his family but remained close to Wesley and its many supporters. Although he kept a low profile whenever funds were needed you could count on Lou who contributed generously. Beyond all that, he contrived to find time for a lifelong passion for sports, and cricket in particular, where he remained a member of the MCC with access to the Lords Cricket Grounds for all the matches, until his untimely demise.

Lou came into my life for the last and final spell in the 1990’s when he contributed articles for the Double Blue International website of which I am the Editor. He wrote about his memories of Wesley College cricket and also sent me a moving appreciation of his beloved brother Vincent who predeceased him. He seemed to search out and gather up Old Wesleyites everywhere, or people who had a connection with Wesley. Lou influenced several generations of old boys to remain loyal to the school and the Old Boys Unions all over the world. We often discussed the politics at Wesley and its multitude of problems but Lou had a knack of gaining the confidence of all sides in a dispute without pointing a finger. Lou had an abiding and deep awareness of the larger picture. He was often the epitome of calm and patience.

On the 27th of May 2009 I received this email from Lou : Yes, we are all getting old /older. Bryan is 75 and Radley 77 - I THINK ! I am 73.........................I stopped playing Tennis and Volleyball this year - IT WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME !!!............................ If you do come this way PLEASE COME AND STAY WITH US ! We have reserved an apartment in Feb 2010 (10 th to the 20 th) in the Simmenthal - YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN US. Of course, it is a Skiing area - we ONLY do cross-country ski-ing (literally walking with skis). Let me know.
God bless you and your family (I believe that your son was also a Cambridge Hockey Blue - BEST WISHES TO HIM !)
Lou

Lou was a kind and patient man, always willing to give his time to others, and wore his scholarship lightly. As a Skilled and successful person in the fiercely competitive pharmaceutical industry, he had the remarkable ability to leave everyone he came into contact with feeling that they were important to him. This fine quality remained with him to the very end. This made speaking with him an exceedingly rewarding experience. With his impressive tall figure and smart demeanour, Lou was a man of immense style and good humour. In his company his silence spoke volumes. In later life he travelled widely with his wife and made a point of keeping up to date with new technologies and corresponding with many friends and colleagues worldwide.

On 22nd of May 2009: Hi Nihal !
I am glad you are ON FIRE for Wesley ! We MUST all do our BEST to help our OLD SCHOOL ! We (SRI LANKA CHRISTIAN MISSION) help 20 boys attending Wesley - we give the parents appriox. Rs. 16'000.- per annum per child to cover
all the fees and transport. Thanks for sending me a copy. I was at Wesley for 9 years - WESLEY HAS BEEN MY LIFE ! My grand uncle WIKRAMANAYKE (EG ex minster's brother), my mother's brothers BERTRAM, CECIL & SHELTON Wikramanayake were ALL at Wesley ! My father, Bertie, my brother's Arnold and Vincent and sister Malini were at Wesley !!! Wesley is in my
blood !
LET US STAND TOGETHER !
Lou

He was touched by the gratitude shown by his students, past and present and moved by the devotion of many old boys for their alma mater. He reciprocated by his hospitality to those old boys who visited Europe. Despite his many achievements Lou remained a quiet and unassuming man. He did not talk about his achievements except to his close group of veteran old boys. He was a cricket raconteur par excellence. His memory was phenomenal and he could reel off without hesitation the scores in any matches he has played. He was a walking Wisden of Wesley's cricket of the fifties.

In any life there are difficulties and Lou was not immune to this. Poor health was a concern more recently. The last email I received 6 weeks before his demise he spoke of his failing health as a part of growing old which he accepted gracefully. His deep faith in his religion never wavered and Lou remained a committed Christian all his adult life. Despite the passion of his own intellectual and religious convictions, he was always tolerant of other's views and ideas.

In retirement he and his wife Lisbeth gave much of their time to religious and charitable work. Lou was a good man who enriched our lives beyond measure. He achieved much in his life. He funded and started many charities for the poor students in Sri Lanka. Lou was modest to a fault and on many occasions remained a generous anonymous donor. To my knowledge he has never walked away from helping students and old boys.

He was a warm family man and to his close knit family he gave his love and guidance always. To his school he gave his support throughout his life. He will always be remembered as a respected and much valued friend and a True Blue Wesleyite.

I am grateful I was able to walk with him a short way, along this long and tortuous path through life. Words cannot describe the sadness I feel at the loss of a friend and I reach for the wisdom of Shakespeare in Hamlet ""Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"

We miss him and give God thanks we knew him.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

Cambridge University and Wesley sportsman Lou Adhihetty no more by Richard DWIGHT

"In the midst of life we are in death", this truism was driven home with stunning reality to the fraternity of Wesley College - when the scholarly Cambridge hockey Blue and Wesley's Versatile sportsman, Dr. Louis de Z. Adhihetty, passed away in Switzerland on Tuesday at the age of 73.

Spanning a period of ten years in the mid-forties and fifties Lou, as he was affectionately spoken of, had his primary and secondary education at Wesley College. A premier boys school of the Sri Lanka Methodist Church, to which he stood ever so committed right upto the very end, as a loyal old boy.

Lou as a conscientious student, was found to be exemplary, given to sober disciplined ways with manners that were mild, and of a friendly disposition. Through it all, he endeared himself to his colleagues and found favour in the eyes of his mentors and whilst doing well in the classroom he also did impress to hold responsible positions in the life of the school.

To Lou Adhihetty the classroom was incomplete without the Sports field, they were complementary to each other, handmaids if you like. His enthusiasm for sports knew no bounds, for with his tall lanky physical frame he proved to be role model an ideal for any sport. Lou did well to represent Wesley at seven games and was awarded colours for five of them. He was exceptional in that he was the captain of 4 games viz, cricket, hockey, soccer and athletics.

He did the college proud by representing Ceylon at hockey, as its goalie. His fondness however was for cricket, where he played for 5 years from 1952, captaining the side in the last 2 years wherein he scored centuries against St. Joseph's 114, Trinity 104, Kingswood 147 and St. Joseph's 116 and an 89 not out against S. Thomas'. On the field of play, he was indeed extraordinary to be dynamic as a dynamic pace-bowler as well.

Lou was persevering and determined to do well and successfully read chemistry at Cambridge, and as well had the rare distinction of being the first Sri Lankan to be awarded a hockey blue at Cambridge. Though living in Europe for well nigh 41 years, he never failed to keep in touch with Wesley and supported its cause in various ways. He rose to the occasion, way out in Switzerland to answer Wesley's call to serve as it's principal from 1985 - 1988.

Lou's end came when on Monday night, he was taken in with heart failure and while being medically attended upon, he breathed his last in the early hours of Tuesday. The one whom he trusted most, must have drawn close to him, to endearingly whisper into his ear "my son its enough, come home", and so he slipped through life peacefully to the land of eternal rest. Wesley will remember Lou Adhihetty, one of its loyal stalwarts at a service of thanksgiving and praise, the details of which will be notified later.

Lou is survived by his wife Lisbeth, son Arjuna and daughter Sakunthala.


In Memoriam - Ron Altendorff 1935-2009

Obituary 2009 -Age 74

Ron was born on the 5th of July 1935 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon. He was the second of seven children to George and Florence Altendorff.
Ron was educated at Wesley College Colombo from about 1945 to 1952. His contemporaries were Arthlow Chapman, Bryan Claessen, Srilal Karangoda, George Robertson, Gordon Amerasekera, Benjamin Buell and Robert Coburn, to name a few. On the athletic field, Ron proved to be adept at “Shot Putt” which suited his rather muscular frame. The athletics coach was Mr. R. A. Honter who was quick to notice Ron’s capability in this event.

A well-mannered and popular student, Ron earned the respect of his class-mates and teachersAfter he left school in the Senior Form’ Ron found employment at Trevine’s Florist in Colombo where he was well regarded by his friends and work colleagues.Ron was the first of his family to emigrate to Australia. In 1957, when just 22 years of age, he arrived in Melbourne to seek employment, He found work in a number of positions and later moved to Sydney where he met his beloved wife Shirley.

After a whirlwind romance they married in 1960.They set up home in Bondi and a year later had their first gorgeous daughter Vicki. The passing years saw many more beautiful children come in to the world-Tracey, Steve, Kelly and Jason.Ron decided to move his family to Maroochydore in 1972, travelling interstate in a caravan that he had built. In 1974 they bought a property in Woombye. In the meantime Ron had obtained his builders license and began his career as a builder. A couple of years later they bought 6 acres in Nambour where Ron built his dream home to accommodate his family To supplement his income, Ron partnered with his close friend Ted Musca and started a fish run, then a potato run, a tyre business and a paint agency. This led to a profitable partnership finally leading to the birth of “Tedron Homes”.

In 1985, Ron (always striving to make things better) tried his hand at politics, running for the local council. Although he was not successful, he certainly left an impression on the local government.

In 1987 Ron met a man named Hubert Jayakody, and with Hubert’s support Ron extended his building career in 1988 to Brisbane and internationally, constructing pavilions for international expositions and fairs. Ron always built a solid building. One of the many pavilions he built ( the Sri Lankan pavilion in Spain in1972) took only 3 months to erect but 6 months to dismantle. Records show that he also designed and built the Sri Lankan Pavilion for an exhibition held in Brisbane. Ron and Hubert worked together for the last 22 years and had developed a great friendship and respect for each other. Their projects took them all around the world including Japan, Spain, Korea, Dubai, Portugal, China and Germany.

On Tuesday the 2nd of June, after a short battle with cancer, Ron passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family.

MAY HE REST IN PEACE

(Contributed by his niece Fiona Richardson, daughter of old Wesleyite Wilton Robertson, with the school information filled in by George Robertson. )

A Tribute to Ronnie Altendorff by Egerton de Fransz
Aelien Ronald Altendorff 1935 -2009

Ronnie Altendorff passed away peacefully on the 2nd of June 2009 after a short battle with cancer. He was 73 years old. Husband of Shirley and father to Vicki, Tracey, Steve, Kelly and Jason, Grandfather to Beau, Jacqueline, Caleb, Teya and Jack.
Ronnie joined the club in 1972 and was a regular to most functions until 1988 when he joined up with Hubert Jayakody to construct pavilions for international expositions. Their projects in building Sri Lankan Pavilions took them around the world including Japan, Spain, Korea, Dubai, Portugal, China and Germany. I was fortunate enough to have been part of some of those achievements representing Sri Lanka in Japan, Spain, Portugal and China. Many remember the 1988 World Expo in Brisbane in which Ronnie, Hubert and many others including Anton Swan did us proud. Ronnie, an old Wesley College boy, will be missed by most people who knew him.
Rest in Peace.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Vernon Karl Lorensz Achilles by Keith De Kretser

 Obituary 2008 - Age 101

Dear Wesleyites

I received the sad news this evening that our oldest Old Boy, Vernon Karl Lorensz Achilles – “Uncle Vernon” to many, passed away this afternoon. Uncle Vernon who was born on the 26th of October 1907 was 101 years old. It seemed like only yesterday that I attended his 100th birthday to celebrate this significant milestone. See photo with message from HM the Queen.

One of a few surviving old boys who were at Wesley in the era of the “Saint of Karlsruhe” – The Reverend Henry Highfield, Uncle Vernon was a proud and loyal old boy and the father of Dallas and Delmer(who are also old Wesleyites) and daughters Dalrene and Orianna. He is the proud grandfather of 6 and great grandfather of 6. Uncle Vernon was blessed to have enjoyed such a long and healthy life. If we pause for a moment and reflect on the various historical moments he has lived through it is an awesome thought.

Until recently he was quite lucid and after a great innings, God called him home. The funeral is expected to be next week and I will keep you informed. So to Dallas, Delmer, Dalrene and Orianna and their families we extend our sincere sympathy at this time.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Herbert Guneratne

Obituary July 2009

GUNARATNE - HERBERT Retd. Chief Valuer (Consultant) State Gem Corporation, Safe in the Arms of Jesus. Husband of late Miriam (Retd. Vice Principal - Newstead College, Negombo), loving father of Roshini (Saudi Arabian Airlines) and Dayani, darling grandfather of Sachini (Methodist College, Colombo) and Yohan (St. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia), brother of Sumana, Lakshman and Inrani. Cortege leaves residence “Ratnasri”, Liyanagemulla, Seeduwa on 27 Monday at 3.00 p.m. for burial at Methodist Burial Ground, Kurana, Katunayake.

Warm memories of Guneratna hospitality by Champa Wickremasinghe

Herbert and Miriam Gunaratna

There are people who, in their gentle and caring ways, touch our hearts, and when they leave this world they leave behind beautiful memories.

My uncle Herbert Gunaratna, who passed away three months ago, and my aunt Miriam, who predeceased him, were gracious hosts who made any person who visited their home “Ratnasri”, at Seeduwa, feel very welcome. Whether you arrived announced or announced, or visited early in the morning, in the middle of the afternoon or late at night, you were given a warm welcome.

My family’s association with the Gunaratnas goes back to the early 1970s, when my father, the late W. P. R. B. Wickremasinghe, had the good fortune to find a lifelong and loyal friend in Uncle Herbert.

The two worked together at the National Museum, in Colombo, and later moved to different government institutions. My father joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Uncle Herbert moved to the State Gem Corporation. By then, they had laid a solid foundation for a friendship that grew into an extended family, combining the Gunaratna and Wickremasinghe families, including Aunty Miriam, their two daughters Roshi and Dayani, and the five of us.

My father’s job as a diplomat meant that the family would go overseas for extended stays. A stop at the Gunaratna residence on the way to the airport was a must. And their home was our first stop when we returned to the country.

Sumptuous meals awaited us whenever we visited. The warmth and friendliness shown us by the Gunaratnas was unlike any we have ever experienced. The inevitable reality of life is that those we love will leave us some day. But the memories they leave behind stay with us forever.

Herbert and Miriam Gunaratna were warm, loving and caring people who touched many hearts. Now reunited in their heavenly abode, they must surely be resting in peace, happy in the knowledge that they lived their best life while on this Earth.

Herbert Gunaratne remembeed by Nihal D Amerasekera

My association with Herbert was brief when we were both in the Wesley College Boarding in 1952. He was the Prefect in Charge of the Junior Dormitory and I was a junior. He was strict but kind to us all. He had a younger brother Lakshman Gunaratne who entered the Medical Faculty and became a doctor in 1963. They were both from the strong Methodist enclave of Kurana Katunayake and had strong links with the Methodist Church and Wesley College. I am sad we never got a chance to meet again since those days in the boarding.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


We Pay Tribute to Wesleyites who made the Supreme Sacrifice whilst on active service for the Armed Forces

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

The flowers and the larks serve as reminders of nature's ability to withstand the destructive elements of war by men, a symbol of hope in a period of human despair.

The two minutes of silence provide another significant way of remembering wartime while thinking of peace. Two minutes are scarcely enough time for thought and reflection. As we pause and bow our heads, we remember those brave men and women who courageously volunteered for the cause of freedom and peace.

One day every year, we pay special homage to those who died in service to their country. We remember these brave men for their courage and their devotion to ideals. We wear poppies, attend ceremonies, and visit memorials. For one brief moment of our life, we remember why we must work for peace every day of the year.

Through out its recent history the Sri Lankan Armed forces have been engaging in a fierce war against the ruthless scourge of terrorism threatening to disintegrate our beloved motherland. In doing so the valiant sons of our nation have placed 'country before self' and have been relentlessly on the offensive. In this three decade long battle, many soldiers have laid down their lives to protect the sovereignty of the motherland. It is needless to emphasize that proud products of Wesley College Colombo have been among them.

  • Lt Col Sumith Perera (SL army)
  • Sqn. Ldr. Sujeewa Pathirathna (SL air force)
  • Maj. Ravi Alagiyawanna (SL army)
  • Capt. RMA Indika Rathnayake
  • Second L. Ravindra Pulina Attapattu (SL army)

Despite the untimely demise of our dear school mates, many more Wesleyites continue to be in the forefront of this relentless war bringing their alma mater pride and honour. Indeed this blessing too would be of yeomen help to our noble brothers.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM - ALWAYS


In Memoriam - Dimantha and Suranjan Range

RANGE SURANJAN - (Chief Legal Officer, Ceylinco Homes International(, Beloved husband of Chandra, loving father of Sonali and Shimali, uncle of Uditha & Nilmini, father-in-law of Nilu, Archt. M.I.M. Ismail and Panduka, brother of Nihal, Lilamani, late Dimantha and of Kusalanthi, died under tragic circumstances. Cortege leaves residence No.82, E.D. Dabare Mawatha, Narahenpita at 4.15 pm on Wednesday 14th November 2007. Funeral will take place at the General Cemetery, Kanatte at 5.00 p.m.

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha

From Nihal D Amerasekera

Dimantha and Suranjan Range

Suranjan and Dimantha were brothers. Both were at Wesley in the late 1940's and 1950's. They lived in the shadow of the school in Karlshrue Gardens and remained loyal Wesleyites. Suranjan played Basket Ball for the 1st Team at Wesley 1957/58. His abundant self-confidence was well suited for the Legal Profession in which he rose to become the Chief Legal Officer at Ceylinco Homes International. Their views were sincere and were respected. They both had a great gift for friendship. Dimantha (DT) was a popular 1st XI cricketer during the Bryan Claessen era- 1953. He was a big lad who arrived at the crease towards the tail end of an innings. Dimantha hit the ball hard and his batting was always greeted with cheers at Campbell Park. I well recall a six that he hit to fine-leg, the ball ending up in PB Herat's garden across the road. Dimantha was a Planter in an Estate down south. We sadly note they have both passed away. Many will remember with gratitude their contribution to the life of the school all those years ago.

I could not stay another day
To laugh, to joke, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that place at the close of the day.

May they Both Attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


Tributes to Bryan Claessen (1935 - 2010)

Obituary March 2010

THE RELATIVES and FRIENDS of the late Mr. BRYAN CLAESSEN, of Tailem Bend, are invited to attend his Funeral Service, in the Minge Chapel, 63 Swanport Road, Murray Bridge, on MONDAY, March 22, at 11.00 a.m. followed by a private cremation. In lieu of flowers donations to the National Heart Foundation, would be appreciated. MINGE FUNERALS A.F.D.A. Murray Bridge

A special Assembly and Memorial Service was held at Wesley College Colombo on the 19th of March 2010 to Celebrate and Remember the life of Elton Bryan Claessen.

 19th March 2010                                 

A Tribute to Bryan Claessen by George Robertson

Elton Bryan Claessen 1935 - 2010

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
an afternoon of nurses and rumours;
the provinces of his body revolted,
the squares of his mind were empty,
silence invaded the suburbs,
the current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

W.H. Auden

It must be nigh on sixty-five years since I first met Bryan when we were both enrolled as students at Wesley College. We were class-mates then, and have always enjoyed a rewarding friendship over the years. Bryan and his family lived fairly close to Wesley and so did a young lass named Beryl who, in those days, was also enrolled at Wesley and become a kindergarten friend to Bryan before she entered an all-girls’ school.

I remember Bryan as a decent, friendly guy who rarely spoke about his sporting prowess.  He was a good student, a loyal friend, and always had time for a funny story or anecdote. With the passing of the years, I copped some good-natured kidding from Bryan because as it turned out, that young lass from kindergarten days was to become my wife, much against the friendly protests of Bryan who always reminded me “I knew her first!”!

Bryan hails from a respected family, and all of his brothers have made their reputations on the cricket field; but Bryan has gone on to set new standards and to inspire aspiring youngsters for many years. He was the first “Under 14” Cricket Captain, leading a successful team that defeated an English Schoolboy team from Hill School, Nuwara Eliya.  Included in this team were his brother Herman, Pat Schokman, Ralph Maas, B.M. Jurangpathy and M. Ismail. Here are some of Bryan’s outstanding achievements, which are a matter of record:

  • Played for Wesley “First XI” Just after his fourteenth birthday.
  • Awarded Cricket Colours in his first year.
  • Held School Record with four centuries.
  • Awarded All-round Cricketer’s Challenge Trophy.
  • Led an undefeated Team in 1953 to become the first unbeaten intercollegiate champions since WW II.
  • Was only the second Wesleyite to play for Sri Lanka whilst still at school.
  • Scored over 1000 runs and took 100 wickets in a season for four consecutive seasons – 1950, 51, 52 and 1953.

Bryan emigrated to Australia in 1957, spending three years in Western Australia during which time he played district “A” Grade cricket for South Perth Cricket Club.  Moving to South Australia, he continued playing “A” Grade cricket for Sturt District Club. It was during this time that he first met, and wed the lovely Lady Carol who has supported him and put up with his many friends from Wesley and elsewhere all these years, whilst listening  (over and over again) to the many fables about “the good old days” and all the never-ending  cricket stories. 

Bryan and Carol are blessed with five children and seven grandchildren.  After his retirement they moved to a property in Tailem Bend, South Australia, where they cultivated Barley, Oats and raised sheep, some pigs and numerous goats, all of whom Bryan has named after people he has known. There was even another old goat named George, to whom I was introduced. Bryan and Carol have established themselves as popular members of the local community, where Bryan has a busy role as “Scribe”. We have visited Bryan and Carol a few times and have always received a warm and friendly welcome every time.

 Bryan finally hung up his boots in 1990 It was good for Wesley that he was indeed around in the ‘50’s when school cricket enjoyed what must have been it’s “Shining Hour”.

  One day I asked Bryan what advice he has for my grandsons who are just starting to play cricket. This is what he replied:

  • Believe fully in your abilities.
  • Practice hard; having a lot of “potential” is not enough if you cannot come up
                      with the goods.
  • As a batsman, don’t concentrate on the position of fielders but rather on the   gaps in the field.
  • As a bowler, on most occasions bowl to a batsman’s strength.
  • There is little point bowling to a weakness which the batsman is careful of .
  • Be yourself, Don’t try to imitate your favourite Test Star. The world has  already seen him and now wants to see you in action.

May you Rest In Peace, old friend. You have just ended the finest innings of them all.  

 18th March 2010

From Edmund Dissanayake Former Prefect of Games, Wesley College, Colombo.

Wesley’s cricket idol Bryan Claessen is no moreThe passing away of Bryan Claessen in Australia is mourned by several thousands of Wesleyites throughout the world. Bryan was one of the very few Sri Lankans who played for the country as a schoolboy. That was in 1953 against Australia skippered by Lindsay Hasset. Bryan was a shrewd captain. Wesley remained unbeaten under his captaincy, defeating Royal, St. Joseph’s, Prince of Wales’, Kingswood and Richmond.

He was the first Wesleyite to score four centuries. At the time he played, the School played only 8 school matches. Today, the number exceeds 18. As a bowler, he was greatly feared. His best bowling was against St. Joseph’s 8 for 68, vs. Trinity 6 for 87, vs. Kingswood 6 for 39, vs. Zahira 9 for 37, and vs. Prince of Wales’ 6 for 20. While in Australia, Bryan played for the Prospect District Cricket Club winning the bowling prize in both 1984 and 1985. He was a wily googly bowler and a brilliant fielder in any position.

The cricket match against Royal in 1953 is of special interest as in three innings the score did not exceed 85. Royal scored 68 and 76, while Wesley scored 145 and 84. That match was played at Reid Avenue. Another interesting feature was that on the Wesley side there were three sets of brothers: Bryan and Herman Claessen, Lou and Vincent Adhihetty, Ansar and Abu Fuard.

Professionally, Bryan was a prosecutor in family law. When he retired, he was in charge of the division responsible for the enforcement of Family Support Orders in South Australia. Bryan was proud to be a Wesleyite. He maintained his interest in Wesley by keeping in touch with his close friend Dr. Nihal Amarasekera. Bryan’s wonderful wife Carol has stood by Bryan, valiantly. He was a man in a million. When cometh the likes of him again?

Wesley's glamorous Bryan no more by Richard Dwight

In the midst of life we are in death, and so it's with much regret that we record the passing away of Elton Bryan Claessen, the former Wesley, Colts and All Ceylon cricketer.

Bryan, as he was affectionately known was ill for sometime and finally succumbed to his ailment at the age of 74 on Tuesday night (16) in Australia.

Bryan was a potential, promising cricketer in the under 14 team and, was easily picked for the Wesley College 1st XI team when he was 15 years under Derrick Mack. As a versatile, glamorous right hand batsman, right arm leg spinner and an alert gully fielder, he proved to be the cynosure of the side.

He represented Wesley for four years from 1950-1953, captaining the side in his last year. Along with him there were many fair complexioned cricketers in the team, that resembled a young Aussie XI.

He was a commanding dynamic leader and whenever he led the side to field, he sported that bravado, cock-sure confident attitude. Little wonder that Wesley remained unbeaten under his captaincy with him scoring freely and taking as many wickets. During his four years of cricket at Wesley he notched 4 centuries took many wickets and catches.

On leaving school he represented Bosanquet and Skrine, Colts and All Ceylon. Against Pakistan he has a score of 70 and was also selected to play against Australia skippered by Lindsay Hasset in 1953.

As a gentleman Bryan endeared himself to many. He is survived by his wife Carol and daughter.

May Bryan's soul Rest in Peace

18th March 2010

Bryan Claessen - A Life Remembered by Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

A Poem by Bryan Claessen

You and I my friend, have now grown old
And many years have slowly edged on by
Memories of a distant past unfold
To set our spirits free and flying high

Bonds of friendship forged in childhood days,
Ties that bind us to our happiest time;
Which in strange and miraculous ways
Keeps alive days that were once yours and mine.
Let's go on in our own merry way
To reach the straight which lies beyond the bend
As we walk, I will in silence pray:
Thank you Lord", I'd say for this my special friend

 I first came across Bryan Claessen as I joined Wesley in January 1950.  It was the beginning of the school cricket season. He played as a 16 year old with DBC Mack as captain.  He went on to represent school under his brother, Radley, before  becoming the captain of the 1st XI team in 1953. That was a most remarkable year when we were unbeaten and Bryan scored 4 centuries and took many 5 wicket hauls as a fine all rounder. He thought about cricket with a deep intensity. He seemed to be a batsman without flaw, impeccable in defence, and classically elegant in attack. His stroke play was a sheer delight. At his best Bryan could make any attack seem ordinary.  Bryan was a cricket legend, a leg-spin bowler with a wily action who, at his peak, mesmerised and terrorised all who faced him. It is said he made the ball bounce, especially his googly, which was well disguised. At school cricket earned him fame and adulation in equal measure. Despite his iconic achievements he was well liked for his modesty and friendship. As an 8 year old I was thrilled by his fine performances for the school.

Although versatile and intelligent he did not take his studies at school very seriously. Bryan learnt the joys of substituting hard, disciplined study for the indulgence of cricket. This he did with great relish and much success all throughout his teenage years and beyond. At school he acquired a fine command of the English language which he put to good use in later years which is evident in his numerous letters, emails and poems. He expressed himself succinctly and elegantly, always.

After leaving Wesley he joined the mercantile sector where he flourished. He continued to play cricket for Colts Cricket Club, Colombo and represented his country in 1953. Some of his team-mates of the Sri Lanka side, captained by V. G. Prins, were C. I. Gunasekera, Dr. H. I. K. Fernando, ACM Lafir, Stanley Jayasinghe, C. T. Schaffter, Dooland Buultjens, P. N. Schokman, G. P. Schoorman, P. A. T. Kelly, N. Ponniah and M. Makkin Salih. That year they won the Gopalan Trophy which is a bi-annual cricket tournament played between Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Madras (now Tamil Nadu). The match became a regular fixture in the annual calendar until Sri Lanka received Test status in 1983 and the competition was stopped.

In 1957 Bryan emigrated to Perth, Western Australia and then to Adelaide, in 1960. In Australia he continued to play Club Cricket with great success. He also coached and helped young cricketers to achieve their goals. His innate ability to spot rising talent remained with him throughout his coaching career. Bryan was one of the few great cricketers of whom it could be said, without flattery, that he was as fine a man as he was a player.

Bryan worked for many years in Adelaide in the Public Service. His combination of wisdom, wit and kindness made him welcome wherever he went. After years of service he finally retired relatively early in his mid fifties. Bryan and Carol then moved  to a farm in Tailem Bend, South Australia. It is a small picturesque town on the Murray River 100km east of Adelaide on the South Eastern Highway to Melbourne. Here they enjoyed the life in the country. They took easily to their new life of open spaces, clean air and farm animals and soon became an integral part of the farming community. Life was not always easy. He was a newcomer to farming and its demanding physical routines took its toll. Nevertheless, Bryan remained a resourceful and colourful character and an asset to the community. His ability to charm never deserted him. Carol was an energetic supporter of her husband’s work , and an inspired gardener in her own right. She had a particular talent for bringing beauty to the place where she lived and always worked with great imagination and enthusiasm.

I had by then moved to live and work in the UK. When I wrote an article to the Wesley College 125th Anniversary Souvenir, Bryan contacted me. In the subsequent months and years we maintained close touch with phone calls and letters. Bryan’s letters were always beautifully written in calligraphic handwriting. He wrote the news and views with poems to illustrate a point. He was a gifted poet and had an amazing talent and zeal for poetry. It was a great pleasure to receive his letters written with such sincerity and style.

Bryan was fiercely loyal to his old school. With his characteristic enthusiasm he contributed generously when funds were needed and maintained contact with many of his schoolmates. His 1953 cricket team remained always close to his heart and he kept in touch with many of them. He never spoke ill of anyone and was always polite. He combined his skills of  natural diplomacy and generous spirit with his strong beliefs in justice and equality. Even during the dark days of our simmering conflicts of Wesley College when everyone blamed everyone else Bryan was pragmatic and gave his advice to help change the school for the better. He was the voice of reason and common sense. When change came at Wesley he was delighted and showed his approval by his well written emails. Throughout the years after leaving school he kept in contact with his old teachers – Rev Wilfred Pile, CJT Thamotheram, Edmund Dissanayake and Lionel Jayasuriya with phone calls, letters and Christmas cards, until the very end.

It was Bryan who said that all Wesleyites belong to a brotherhood and that we are all brothers. Disunity amongst old boys was of great concern to him and on numerous occasions he has emailed for unity. I hope as a mark of respect for Bryan we will strive for unity. Let unity be the tribute to Bryan Claessen . He was non partisan during the squabbles and sleaze that engulfed the school. As a consequence, he is held in the highest regard. Bryan remains a prince among the old boys.

In the  last few years Bryan’s health was failing and had to give up his active life. He and Carol continued to enjoy the social events at Tailen Bend including Ballroom dancing and the more energetic Barn Dancing. They loved the company of their grandchildren and the extended family. Bryan and Carol had a rich family life and she was the love of his life. They have five children. Their highlights were large family gatherings  where Bryan took his place at the table with his usual humour and character. 

They remained a popular couple in Tailem Bend where they entertained often and generously. They were particularly close to Radley who lives in Adelaide. They wined and dined Lou and Lisbeth Adhihetty some ten years ago of which they spoke about most warmly.  Although he bravely fought his health problems, towards the end he displayed great fortitude, resigning himself philosophically to the inevitable. Bryan respected all religions but he was never overtly religious. The love and closeness of his family remained a great source of comfort.

I was deeply saddened to hear that Bryan Claessen passed away.  I am grateful I was able to know him and be his friend.  We will remember his humorous banter and his vast archive of stories for many years to come. His sense of humanity and energy for what he believed in will be sorely missed. We send our  deepest condolences to Carol and the family in this time of grief. As we say for cricketers "

May the turf lay lightly on him"

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

Links to further reading

24th March 2010

Farewell to Bryan by Upali Perera

The funeral ceremony for the late Elton Bryan Claessen was held on Monday 22nd March 2010 at 11.00 am in the Minge Chapel, Murray Bridge in Adelaide, South Australia and was followed by a private cremation.There were three Wesleyites who travelled from Melbourne.

Photo: Warwick De Kretser, George Jayatunge, Upali Perera, Radley Claessen, Ranjit Alwis, Errol Smith

I went to Adelaide on the 21 st to pay my respects to the great man and stayed with my friend and Wesleyite Ranjith de Alwis and his wife Lakshmie who graciously hosted me for a couple of days. At the same time Errol Smith was a guest of Warrick De Kretser the Wesley cricketer  and his wife Peggy.  The third Wesleyite was of Radley’s and Bryan’s era, George Jayatunge and his wife Chris who put up in a hotel in Murray Bridge. All of us along with the Adelaide Wesleyites, Radley and Doug, the brothers of Bryan with their families and Everard Reimers represented Wesley College.We left Adelaide around 8.30 am to travel to Murray Bridge, a distance of approximately 100 kilometers, sporting our Wesley College ties, to pay our respects to our dear friend Bryan for the last time.

Photo: Upali, Ranjit, Warwick, Erroll, Radley and Everard Reimers

The viewing was scheduled from 10.00am.  Bryan had in his beloved College Tie and, beside him, was another of his dearest possessions - his “All Ceylon” Cricket cap which were  symbols  of his other great loves, after his family and friends.The large congregation filled the chapel to capacity, leaving standing room only as friends and loved ones came to celebrate the life and to pay homage to one of the greatest sons that Wesley College ever produced. 

The funeral director Claude Minge spoke about Bryan’s life and his achievements as a Husband, Father, Sportsman and Friend to so many. This was followed by the eulogies delivered by Julian, Bryan’s eldest son, followed by his daughter Audra, his grand daughter Emelia, grandson Ryan and myself. The audience was spell bound and there was not a single person who was not moved by what they heard. With very heavy hearts, yet standing proud, we bid our last farewell to the loved and devoted husband, dutiful father, the faithful friend, legendry cricketer, the ball room dancer, poet and one of the nicest human beings you could ever hope to meet.

The following poem was read at the commencement of the ceremony, which Bryan would have been very proud of.

Miss Me – But Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little – but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss Me – but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take,
And each must go alone,
all part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows
In doing good deeds,
Miss me – but let me go

A Tribute to Bryan Claessen - Eulogy By Upali Perera

Elton Bryan Claessen was the vice-captain of the cricket team under Radley his brother, in 1952, when I joined Wesley College. I was a boarder along with many other Wesleyites who are indeed present here today. It was compulsory then, that all boarders had to be present at all cricket matches played by Wesley in Colombo. The team was full of talented and skilled players. The player that stood out was my hero and friend Bryan Claessen. It was with pride that we  juniors went almost every afternoon to watch our wonderful cricketers practice and to see them in action, to speak, to touch and to be in their presence was a blessing.

I was much junior to Bryan in college, hence Bryan did not know me at all, but all the juniors knew of all the cricketers and specially the famous Claessen family. It was much later, in the late 70’s that I met Bryan at the Adelaide oval, when the Sri Lankan under 19 cricket team played against the Australian team. I was on my way from Melbourne to a conference in Adelaide and dropped by at the oval to see the match for a few hours.  I happened to know the Manager of the Sri Lankan team and as I met him he said….Upali, there is a living legend from Wesley in the pavilion and pointed to Bryan. Bryan had not changed, his neatly combed hair, still wearing his round glasses and his boyish handsome face instantly brought back old memories. I paused for a while, walked up to him and nervously said…Bryan you do not know me, I am Upali Perera from Wesley and you were our hero. As if I was a long lost brother, he said….yes…, I could remember you (which was not true) and there began our bond and a true friendship which will last for ever.

Since that day we have been in touch constantly and during this period my young family and I have enjoyed the honour and privilege of staying with Bryan, Carol and their family during our holidays in their Adelaide home in Modbury and later in Tailem Bend. I will always treasure those moments and the regular conversations we had all these years.

Bryan’s simplicity, his humour, his noble and legendry attributes are qualities that I would have loved to have aspired to.

I need not speak of the immense impact and contribution Bryan has made to Wesley College and to all those young and old, who were blessed and privileged to be his friend. He touched us all and the tributes that have poured to the Wesley College Websites, local and overseas newspapers are a testimony to what Bryan stood for.

Bryan has left a huge void in our hearts which can never be filled.

Finally our thoughts and prayers are with his wonderful and faithful wife Carol, their children Casa, Julian, Thomas, Audra, Christine and their families.

Bonds of friendship forged in childhood days,
Ties that bind us to our happiest time;
Which in strange and miraculous ways
Keeps alive days that were once yours and mine.
On behalf of all Wesleyites, I salute you my dear and faithful friend.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE

 
A Tribute to Bryan Claessen by Michael Berman

25th March 2010

I read with much sadness the passing away of Elton Bryan Claessen in an obituary circulated by Victor Melder to the Sri Lankan diaspora resident ‘down under’.

Bryan was a very good all round cricketer, batting right hand and bowling right arm leg spin much in the Richie Benaud mould. He played in some extremely useful Wesley College teams from 1950 to 1953 captaining in his final year. Prior to leading his College he played under Derrick Mack (1950-51) and brother Radley (1952).

SL writer, Neil Wijeratne informs me that during this period Wesley defeated our Alma Mater, St Joseph’s College (SJC) twice in 1952 & 53 but lost in 1950 and played out a draw in 1951. In the 1951 fixture, brother Radley scored a century while Bryan top scored with 31 out of 146 in the losing 1950 match 1st innings and took 8-68 in the SJC score of 228 in the 1951 match.

During this period they also defeated Royal College in 1952 & 53 and played out draws in 1950 & 51. Bryan top scored in most of the Wesley College innings versus Royal.

While still at school in 1953 he was selected for All Ceylon against Lindsay Hassett’s Australian team bound for the Ashes in England along with opening bowler P I Peiris, wicket keeper H I K Fernando and medium change bowler Bob Bartels. Bartels left shortly afterwards to play in the Lancashire League which was arranged by famous West Indian Learie Constantine who was then coaching in Ceylon. The Claessen family emigrated ‘down under’ in 1958 and ultimately settled in Adelaide. His elder brother Radley was a handy pace bowler and I remember him well bowling vicious bumpers at our Josephian teams of that period.

Their younger brother, Herman was a tall and useful left arm bowler (pace and spin) who made his debut under Bryan’s captaincy and played for Wesley between 1953 & 56. He unfortunately was killed in a motor accident shortly after leaving school and starting an apprenticeship at Collettes Limited on Kanatte Road.

The 1953 Aussie side comprising Hassett, Arthur Morris, Graeme Hole, Keith Miller, Ian Craig, Jim de Courcey, Richie Benaud, Ron Archer, Don Tallon, Ray Lindwall and Bill Johnston, batted first and scored 8 for 209 dec and All Ceylon including Makkin Salih, C H Gunasekera, Vernon Prins, Stanley Jayasinghe, C I Gunasekera, Claessen, R B Wijesinghe, F C de Saram as captain replied with 4 for 149.

I attended this match at the P Sara Oval and remember seeing my hero, Keith Miller play and the brilliant fielding of the Australians stretching their sea legs for the day while the “Orcades” was in port. This was the only chance that we had of witnessing international cricket and cricketers in those good old days!

Bryan also played for the Colombo team in the Gopalan Trophy fixture versus Madras and represented All Ceylon versus the touring Pakistan Services team in 1954. He represented the Colts in the Sara Trophy inter club competition. In Australia he played A Grade District cricket for South Perth, and for Sturt in Adelaide. In his later years, he played for the Prospect Cricket Club and finally for Tailem Bend in the local regional competition. The Claessen family lived on Thimbirigasyaya Rd, Narahenpitiya not far from the Govt quarters at Manning Town on the Borella to Narahenpitiya Rd where I grew up.

His departure was a big loss to Ceylon cricket in those pre Test Cricket days. He leaves behind wife Carol and children Cass, Julian, Thomas, Audra and Christine. A well attended funeral service was held on Monday 22nd March followed by a private cremation. A General Assembly was also held at his Alma Mater, Wesley College in Colombo on Friday 19th March to pay tribute to Bryan and as a mark of respect.

May he rest in peace

Elton Bryan Claessen (1935 - 2010) by George Robertson

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,               
an afternoon of nurses and rumours;
the provinces of his body revolted,
the squares of his mind were empty,
silence invaded the suburbs,
the current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers

- W.H. Auden

 

It must be nigh on sixty-five years since I first met Bryan when we were both enrolled as students at Wesley College. We were class-mates then, and have always enjoyed a rewarding friendship over the years. Bryan and his family lived fairly close to Wesley and so did a young lass named Beryl who, in those days, was also enrolled at Wesley and become a kindergarten friend to Bryan before she entered an all-girls’ school.

George Robertson

I remember Bryan as a decent, friendly guy who rarely spoke about his sporting prowess.  He was a good student, a loyal friend, and always had time for a funny story or anecdote. With the passing of the years, I copped some good-natured kidding from Bryan because as it turned out, that young lass from kindergarten days was to become my wife, much against the friendly protests of Bryan who always reminded me “I knew her first!”!

        Bryan hails from a respected family, and all of his brothers have made their reputations on the cricket field; but Bryan has gone on to set new standards and to inspire aspiring youngsters for many years. He was the first “Under 14” Cricket Captain, leading a successful team that defeated an English Schoolboy team from Hill School, Nuwara Eliya.  Included in this team were his brother Herman, Pat Schokman, Ralph Maas, B.M. Jurangpathy and M. Ismail. Here are some of Bryan’s outstanding achievements, which are a matter of record.

  • Played for Wesley “First XI” Just after his fourteenth birthday.
  • Awarded Cricket Colours in his first year.
  • Held School Record with four centuries.
  • Awarded All-round Cricketer’s Challenge Trophy.
  • Led an undefeated Team in 1953 to become the first unbeaten intercollegiat Champions since WW II.
  • Was only the second Wesleyite to play for Sri Lanka whilst still at school.
  • Scored over 1000 runs and took 100 wickets in a season for four consecutive seasons – 1950, 51, 52  and 1953.
          

Bryan emigrated to Australia in 1957, spending three years in Western Australia during which time he played district “A” Grade cricket for South Perth Cricket Club.  Moving to South Australia, he continued playing “A” Grade cricket for Sturt District Club. It was during this time that he first met, and wed the lovely Lady Carol who has supported him and put up with his many friends from Wesley and elsewhere all these years, whilst listening  (over and over again) to the many fables about “the good old days” and all the never-ending  cricket stories.  Bryan and Carol are blessed with five children and seven grandchildren.

            After his retirement they moved to a property in Tailem Bend, South Australia, where they cultivated Barley, Oats and raised sheep, some pigs and numerous goats, all of whom Bryan has named after people he has known. There was even another old goat named George, to whom I was introduced. Bryan and Carol have established themselves as popular members of the local community, where Bryan has a busy role as “Scribe”. We have visited Bryan and Carol a few times and have always received a warm and friendly welcome every time.

             Bryan finally hung up his boots in 1990 It was good for Wesley that he was indeed around in the ‘50’s when school cricket enjoyed what must have been it’s “Shining Hour”.

             One day I asked Bryan what advice he has for my grandsons who are just starting to play cricket. This is what he replied:

  • Believe fully in your abilities.
  • Practice hard; having a lot of “potential” is not enough if you cannot come up with the goods.
  • As a batsman, don’t concentrate on the position of fielders but rather on the gaps in the field.
  • As a bowler, on most occasions bowl to a batsman’s strength. There is little point bowling to a weakness which the batsman is careful of .
  • Be yourself, Don’t try to imitate your favourite Test Star. The world has already seen him and now wants to see you in action.

  May you Rest In Peace, old friend.

  You have just ended the finest innings of them all. 


In Memoriam - David G. Loos, Remembered by Bradman Weerakoon

Distinguished Old Boy and an Exceptional Talent in the World of Economics

David G. Loos, 79, of Potomac, Maryland, USA passed away on October 24, 2005.

Mr. Loos retired from the World Bank Bank, Washington DC in 1991.

Remembering David Loos (C C S) by Bradman Weerakoon
- Daily Mirror Oct 10, 2006:

Photo- Bradman Weerakoon

David Loos, who passed away at the end of last year in Washington DC, was one of a team of public servants who once negotiated terms of the original “Mahaweli Project” in the days of Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake’s National government in the late 1960’s. Although it was later to change the face of Sri Lanka’s central highlands and lay the foundation for the country’s power and agricultural self sufficiency, the project was then so visionary that Dudley’s political opponents derisively termed it the Mahaweli ‘diversion’ – inferring that it was only a stunt to divert public attention away from the many problems the seven party national government was then facing. David’s important contribution then, as the Director of External Resources in the first ever Ministry of Planning, led by the legendary Gamini Corea, evoked the comment in the satirical and widely read column in the Times of Ceylon, “Roundabout by Contact”, that ‘David Loos was selling Sri Lanka to the World Bank.’ David was the first to laugh out loud at the clever pun on his name.

David Gladwin Loos was born on the 26th of September 1925, the second child of a well established Burgher family, (his sister was Joan who married Gerald -later Professor Cooray) at a time when members of that community were playing a prominent part in the public life of the country. His mother to whom he was greatly attached, and literally ran the family, was a leading figure in the education field and crowned her career first as a teacher and then as the Principal of Lindsay Girl’s school in Kollupitiya for several years. David himself schooled at Wesley College Colombo, where in addition to being a School Prefect, he was invariably first in class. Friends say that like most other boys of his age he cycled to school, a habit he continued even after he entered the University of Ceylon then functioning at Thurstan Road. He showed early signs of his scholastic quality by winning the School’s Hill Silver medal at Wesley and at the University secured a First Class in Economics.

The Bachelor of Arts (First Class) was in the early 1950’s a highly rated honour and David was privileged to share this with a few other brilliant contemporaries namely Godfrey Gunatilaka (also CCS and later founder of Marga) who received a First Class for English Literature and GVS de Silva, in Economics a couple of years earlier, who chose a career in academia and shone brightly at Peradeniya, for many years influencing an entire generation of undergraduates in a distinctly socialistic vein. Like most other University men at the time who ‘got a good class’ as it was called, either a First or Upper Second, the Civil Service seemed for David the obvious choice. The Central Bank newly established under John Exter, and on the look out for up and coming economists offered him a scholarship to Oxford which would have given him a Doctorate but David turned it down to sit for the ‘civil’. This was not for the money, since even then the private sector companies such as Lever Brothers, Ceylon Tobacco and even the Commercial banks in the country, the Bank of Ceylon foremost among them, would have paid more, but for the prestige and sense of being able ‘to do something for the country’ which motivated the top level of public servants at the time. The Civil Servants then thought of themselves as belonging to a rather special breed, a tight and exclusive network, who could be quite effective in keeping the wheels of government in motion. In David’s year of selection there must have been at least three hundred University men (no women then) between the ages of 22 and 24, with ‘good classes’ who competed for the ten positions on offer. David did very well coming third, Godfrey Gunatilaka came first, in an exceptional year of recruitment which produced ten, very talented, young men who served the country for many years with distinction. Of David’s peers Godfrey and Shelton Wanasinghe remain yet very active amongst us.

I first met David Loos in 1954, when as four young CCS ‘cadets’, as we were known during the two year probation period, Shanti Kumar Phillips, myself, Chandi Chanmugam, and Lester Pereira were ushered into the austere presence of Sir Arthur Ranasinghe, then head of the public service as Secretary to the Treasury. After a very brief ‘briefing’ Sir Arthur dismissed us into the safe and comfortable hands of David Loos, who very soon had us chuckling with his stories of the men we would have to deal with in our first three months at the Treasury. In addition to the Financial Regulations to be learned, which were boring with Balasingham, then the DST (and the acronyms were flying), Shirley Amarasinghe, then the Controller of Establishments, to emulate, and always, when needed, we had David, the perfect mentor.

In addition to being complete master of his subject, that being budget and finance, David had an ease of manner and sartorial elegance which was quite unexpected in the arid corridors of the General Treasury. Not only was he always extremely well groomed but he was blessed with the good looks of a Greek god. Jeanine, his wife, would tell me later that in his days at the World Bank in Washington she had a time keeping the admiring females from getting too close to him. David became an institution at the Treasury, helpful, but a model of rectitude where financial accountability was concerned, effective, through his vast experience of precedents, always courteous on the phone or face to face and ever with a touch of humour, which was both delectable and self effacing. He made himself indispensable to a succession of Finance Ministers under whom he served, ten in all, as he often reminded us said with great pride. Here he was in charge, with him as the officer who knew the subject advising them, and not as often happens these days, in a total reversal of roles, the Minister having his way come what may.

The official language policy particularly to people like David was irksome, as they needed to make a Herculean effort to master enough Sinhalese to be able to function effectively at their level. Some like Donald Speldewinde and Eardley Mc'heyzer who excelled in land work in the dry zone stuck it out with that characteristic dogged determination that was a hallmark of the community. I recall Francis Pietersz, who served as Government Agent in Nuwara Eliya, completely flooring Dudley Senanayake, then on one of his famous food drive inspections to the outstations, by using the word ‘samalochanaya’ in introducing the review of his district’s agricultural programme. Dudley actually turned round and asked sharply “what is that”? But David who was essentially a city type and served mainly at the Treasury was not that that way inclined.

David’s forays into the countryside that he loved began after he met Jeanine who was the daughter of a family groomed in the culture of the proprietary planter. Her father was ‘Coco’ Jayatilleke the owner/manager of a 60 acre tea estate in Ratnapura, one of a breed of now extinct gentlemen farmers whose life style was reminiscent of the British ‘periya dorais’, with the Ratnapura town club occupying a prominent place in the social calendar. Spending a Sunday eating a feast of a lunch, on the Jayatilleke estate was an experience to be savoured. But David’s and Jeanine’s idyllic Sri Lankan life, with a week at work and the week-end on the estate, was soon to change

In April 1970, just before the elections, which saw Mrs. Bandaranaike and the United Front government sweep into power, David was posted to Washington to serve as our Counselor for Economic Affairs, with ministerial rank, at the Embassy. But this was very short-lived and he was recalled home soon after the new government was inaugurated. David then took advantage of the facility available to officers who had been recruited before the Official Language Act in 1956 and felt unable to continue in service, to opt for early retirement. He did not have to wait for long to begin his second career.

He was offered a job at the World Bank in Washington and began as a Loans Officer working on Iran and Afghanistan. When one met him later he was apt to make a joke of it and say that he could not have done much of a job, since as he put it, “Look at where those countries are now”. In 1973 he had a new assignment when he was promoted as Division Chief for Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong a job he found fascinating and enjoyed working there for seven years. In 1980 he was posted as Director in the East Asia region and was based in Nairobi, Kenya. I met him there on one of my visits as Secretary in the Plantations Ministry, looking at the way they had so well organized their small tea holdings, where he entertained me in his home which he claimed belonged to Mrs. Jomo Kenyatta, the widow of the famous first President of Kenya.

David’s final stint for the Bank was perhaps where he was most at home and best at. He was appointed the World Bank’s Special Representative to the United Nations, with its headquarters in New York. Here he had, in Jeanine’s words ‘six glorious years’ moving amongst royalty including Presidents and Prime Ministers from all parts of the world. He retired in 1991 and went back home to Washington DC, where he lived with his family and friends surrounded by his music and books.

David Loos was one of the most graceful, talented and decent men who ever lived.

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera:Bradman Weerakoon, CCS is a Sri Lankan civil servant. As a senior bureaucrat of the Sri Lankan government, he served nine Sri Lankan heads of state in a career spanning half a century.He was born in Colombo on October 20, 1930, the day Donald Bradman came to Ceylon for a cricket match. Bradman Weerakoon played cricket for St Thomas College Mt Lavinia in 1947/48 and 1948/49) and for the Ceylon University 1950/51. He was Ambassador to Egypt and held several key positions in Government at crucial times.


In Memoriam - Rienzie Maxwell (R.M) De Silva - 

Obituary - 9th May 2010

Safe in the arms of Jesus. Beloved husband of Rani, Precious father of Nirupa and Ranil, father-in-law of Sujith, Grandfather of Tashya and Shayan, much loved brother of Patrick and Chandra, Norma, Rex and Rohini, brother-in-law of Ranjith and Sylvia, Neil and Manel, Sarath and Esme, Shiranthi and Lal, Dilip and Seetha, Raja and Preethi. Service at No. 21/12, 3rd Lane, Katuwawala Mawatha, Ambillawatte Rd, Boralesgamuwa  at 9.30 a.m. cortege leaves residence at 10.00 a.m. Cremation at Maharagama (Godigamuwa) cemetery at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday 9th May 2010.

Remembered by Dr N D Amerasekera

R.M.De Silva was the school cricket captain in the Christmas Term of 1956. He became the Senior Prefect in that same year. He lived with his parents in the Prison Quarters, a short walk away from school. At school everyone seemed to know him, from the Primary to the Upper 6th. His brothers studied at Wesley and his sister Norma was a teacher at school. RM De Silva had a successful school career which brought him pleasure, fame and acclaim. He left Wesley in early 1957 and joined the Coconut Research Institute in Lunuvilla where he worked until retirement. He always had a relaxed and easy going attitude to life and enjoyed tremendously the company of friends. He remained a good, helpful and loyal friend to many. After retirement he often travelled to Australia to be with his son and caught up with his old school pals and cricket colleagues in Melbourne. He also spent time with his daughter in Dubai. RM was a delightful person who influenced many with his tolerance, humour and outstanding kindness. He retained a steadfast affection for Wesley throughout his life. He passed away peacefully at home after a prolonged illness. We remember RM De Silva with much affection and cherish those memories of our youth. We thank him for his contribution to the life of the school. As we say for cricketers "May the turf lay lightly on him"

The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace
After the clouds, the sunshine,
after the winter, the spring,
after the shower, the rainbow,
for life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease,
after life's cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace.

Helen Steiner Rice

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mrs. Ruth Hindle

Added - 7th June 2010

The Matron (1949-55) by Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

Photo:Mrs Ruth Hindle

Lest we forget !!

In Ceylon 1950's was an idyllic time. The country was at peace. Tolerance, love, affection and time were found in great abundance far removed from the politically and financially polarised society of today. My father then worked for the Local Government and the "Transfers" took him to all corners of the island. It was then he decided to send me to the boarding to give me some stability for which I am so very grateful.

My first encounter with the hostel Matron Mrs Ruth Hindle was when I joined the boarding in January 1952. The Matron was the Queen of the boarding and its dynamic driving force. She was an impressive fair skinned woman with a big heart and an equally large bosom. She lived in a room by the Junior Dorm with her son Waldo who was my age. For the couple, mother and son, a normal home and family life was impossible. She was in full time employment and  had to remain strong-willed and independent  as a single parent in the 1950's.  In addition she had to care for dozens of children left in the boarding by their busy parents many of them living far far away.

Waldo soon became my friend. He would smuggle me into his apartment and give me some food. There was no bigger treat to a hungry boarder in the midst of a famine of biblical proportions. We listened to the test commentaries from the BBC amidst the hiss and the crackle of an old Phillips radio with a green magic eye. He had to kick the beast to improve the reception. Waldo was called "BADA" for his rotund appearance. He was a gentle giant kind to his finger tips. He won numerous friends by his gentle ways and charming smile. Although he lived with his mum, Waldo joined the rest of the boys for sports and study. He was a fine leg spin bowler with the soft ball and a hard hitting batsman in the small park. He was a good table tennis player. Waldo was a fine exponent of the ever popular indoor game called Carrom. We had much laughs together and he was an amiable and generous person. Waldo often reminded me of Billy Bunter, the fictional rotund mischievous comic strip character of the 1950's created by Frank Richards. Every school needs a Waldo Hindle to lighten the proceedings and bring some life and heart to a pretty stiff environment. He did so with great finesse.

Waldo Hindle in Canada

Waldo left school after the GCE and emigrated to Canada where he spent most of his adult life. His cheeky grin and infectious laugh are precious memories for us all. He bestrode his difficult situation in the boarding, as the son of the Matron, with consummate ease. The keystone of his life at school was the warmth of his abiding friendliness.

Mrs Hindle had a warm and sympathetic personality ideally suited for a Matron. She was firm but fair.  Looking after 30 juniors some of them as young as 7 yrs  who were far away from their parents was time consuming and may have been at time emotionally draining. She not only rose above it all, but also significantly contributed to changing the situation making a home away from home for scores of young hostellers. She helped pupils settle in to school life by providing a sympathetic ear and support. Mrs Hindle kept pupils' families informed about their health and well-being and helped students enjoy school life and also to achieve their potential.

Mrs. Hindle ruled supreme in the Junior section and upheld the multitude of hostel rules, both written and unwritten. Occasionally she would call out- WHO DID THIS?  as the culprits shivered in their boots. We were not allowed to sit on the bedspread. Anyone seen doing this received a good scolding and was frequently reduced to tears. She was a formidable woman and was variously kind or histrionic. I do not wish to paint a picture of a demon. She was far from it. She was a kindly lady and looked after us well. As youngsters our barbed comments, withering sarcasm and assorted bad behaviour had to be controlled. Mrs Hindle was very fond of the boarding and understood well its quirky ways. She will be remembered for her warmth and vitality, and for her passionate engagement in almost every aspect of boarding life. She had an unfailing sense of humour which was lovely and light. Her reputation was built on dedication to duty and hard work.

She was also our nurse in the boarding looking after our health. She looked after minor illnesses and gave out non-prescription medicines. The running repairs for our cuts and bruises were done in the evening “surgery” which she held in a room by the sickroom. She took or delegated others to take pupils to medical and dental appointments and was a regular visitor at the school sick room where we were sent if taken ill. This was a great big responsibility which she undertook and carried out with care and efficiency.

The Matron had  an important domestic responsibility too. She had  the unenviable task of providing  wholesome and tasty food for growing kids with enormous appetites. This had to be done on a low budget. How she managed it we will never know. Everyone complains about school food and at Wesley during my time there have been student strikes for “bad food”. One organised by Harris Anthonisz comes to mind easily. Despite his heroics for which he was severely reprimanded the food remained an “issue” until I left the boarding in 1958. This has now entered our folklore and we talk about it when past hostellers of the 50's meet. In March 2009 I had the good fortune to meet that legendary figure, Harris Anthonisz, in Sydney, Australia with Mike Christoffelsz. Over lunch by the Darling Harbour we went on a pleasant trip down memory lane. Whatever deficiencies the boarding may have had the all important hostel food has helped to keep those memories alive !!

Mrs Hindle was an accomplished pianist and played the music for the Choir and also at special occasions at Assembly. She was a devout Christian. Mrs Hindle left Wesley College in 1958 to join Trinity College Kandy. She perhaps remained there until retirement. Mrs Ruth Hindle was born in 1909 and Passed away in 1976 in Sri Lanka.

She was outspoken, sympathetic and generous with her time and her patronage. She will be both remembered with love and enormously missed by her family – but that family will encompass hundreds of students and young people, mostly boarders, who were helped over the years, and who took her as the epitome of what a mother, an aunt or grandmother should be – wise, witty and unconditional in her support and approval.

Despite the passage of more than half a century I still remember the love and care she gave us and her immense dedication to duty. She was full of kindness, courage and dogged determination to create a home away from home for many. She is yet another unsung hero of the fifties and a College treasure who looked after a generation of boarders before they emerged as adults into a harsh and unforgiving world. My search for their lives after leaving Wesley College has drawn a blank. I never met the Hindles after they left but recall most vividly the happy times in the boarding all those years ago.

Links to further reading

From George Robertson living in Melbourne, Australia ( 24th June 2010)

Photo - George Robertson

Dear Nihal, Many thanks for sending me the article which I have just read. It is beautiful, evocative and will strike a chord with every old boy who had the experience of Boarding School at Wesley - and  I cannot  recall a period at Wesley without Mrs. Hindle - I had four older brothers, all of whom also attended Wesley and were  often boarded before I started my schooling. They also remembered Mrs. Hindle! My Dad, like yours, worked for  the  Ceylon Railways and also was transferred to places like Paranthan, Jaffna, Trinco, Anuradhapura, Moratuwa, etc. etc.  But I have a vivid memory of Mrs. Hindle which affected me personally, which was like this - In the early hours of one morning I was woken by a terrible pain on my right side, near my hip. It was as if I had been stabbed. The pain was throbbing without ceasing and I finally got out of bed, went down the stairs to the kitchen where I saw a light on. Mrs. Hindle was in the kitchen and I told her what I was experiencing. She asked to see the spot and when I lowered my pyjamas, a huge, purple centipede could be seen hiding in the folds. He was promptly killed, and Mrs. Hindle cut an onion in half and rubbed it on the spot which relieved the pain. That is one of my fond remembrances of Mrs. Hindle too. I shall end, with kindest regards to you, and we shall keep in touch. God Bless. Cheers, George.

The song is ended, but the melody lingers on......

Irving Berlin

GRANT HER O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - VP Sivalingam

SIVALINGAM - V.P. - SIVA of Austin, Texas, USA (Former Engineer, State Engineering Corporation, old boy of Wesley College, Colombo, University of Peradeniya and formerly of Kolonnawa, Sri Lanka). Beloved husband of Hemamali Jayantha (nee Wijeyekoon of Dehiowita, Sri Lanka), loving father of Shivantha, Shamantha and Sushantha, father-in-law of Hope Nickerson Sivalingam (Houston, USA), brother of Muthulakshmi, Lakshmi Latheef, Lakshman, Arun (London) and Parames (Toronto, Canada), son-in-law of Chandra Wijeyekoon of Dehiowita, passed away on June 22 in Colombo. Remains lie at No. 7, Perakumba Mawatha, Kolonnawa. Cremation will take place at Kolonnawa Public Cemetery on June 26th 2010 at 3.00 p.m.

Thoughts go back to happy days
When we were all together,
The friendship chain is broken now,
But memories live forever.

MAY HE FIND ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Alan Eric FERDINANDS

 Obituary 10th June 2010 age 92

Passed away in Brisbane on Thursday 10th June 2010 aged 92 years. Beloved husband of Dagmar (decd.) and father of Sandra. We extend our sincere sympathies to his family and relatives. His funeral was held on Friday, June 18, 2010. Rest in Peace.

Eric Ferdinands By Langston Joseph

Eric was 92 when he passed on to his eternal rest on 10th. June 2010 in Brisbane. Maureen and I were indeed pleased to visit him at the Albany Gardens Nursing Centre in Albany Creek, Brisbane, on a brief visit we made to Queensland late February 2010. My main recollections of Eric were as one of the seniors, and also as a member of the College 1st. Eleven Cricket Team in 1935, under the captaincy of Henry van Buren. As fellow ‘old boys’ will recall when the Revd. John Dalby was Principal; it was the tradition, on 1st Eleven Inter Collegiate Match days, for the team to attend morning Assembly, wearing their dark blue / light blue College blazers. Sitting in the front of the Hall, where we juniors sat, I envied them, and wondered whether I would ever have the privilege of wearing the College blazer. Alas I didn’t! Leaving College, Eric worked in the Government

Postal Department till, with his wife Dagmar, and daughter Sandra, they migrated to Australia, and settled in Brisbane. With us living in Melbourne, visiting Eric and his family at their home was limited to just three occasions, and twice when they visited us at our home here in Melbourne. I have been told by fellow ‘old boys’ of Wesley that Eric took part in competition Cricket Matches in Brisbane, but was best known as an Umpire. Suffice it to say that as cousins, ours was a happy friendship, supported by warm family ties. To compliment the situation, both families lived in Karlsruhe Gardens - with Wesley College as the centre piece. Dear Eric – Rest in Peace.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Billy Colin-Thome By Peter Casie-Chetty

Farewell dear Billy

In kindergarten at Wesley we had teachers Mrs Sheila Wijeykoon then Mrs Joyce Leembruugen who replaced our mothers for the short day we spent enjoying ourselves. We had close relationships with the boys who were either a year older or younger what ever the case was. In those days Billy Colin Thome was one of the boys who was junior but mingled well. He was a chubby boy with a rhubarb complexion after ten minutes of running around either as a “cowboy” or a “crook” As time went on we had more in common a Christianity class with the formidable Miss Iris Blacker “Presiding” and no –one had any real cares.

Life was a game with a lot or reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. There was close bonding in the classes and Reggie Bartholomeusz, Alston Koch and Russell Hamer like Billy showed signs of things to come. Alston was a singer, Russell and Reggie sportsmen but Billy was the musician. His aunty Mary was for a while the teacher who took us through the singing scales after Mrs Smith left in 1957. She was adorable. Then we were told that Billy would move on to Trinity College as a boarder with his young brother. I knew I was going to miss Billy because he was the kind of boy who would be missed not only by his class but by everyone who knew him. Never an angry word, always pleasant always polite, ready to help anyone who needed him Billy was a God send even to boys like me.

I was sorry he was leaving and I remember telling him so never realising that we would run into each other in Kandy and at Asgiriya in the basketball quadrangle outside the dining Hall at Trinity. We did and I was glad I met him. Billy recognised me (not very hard to do) and we got chatting. He remembered every one of his classmates and mine. He had not forgotten any of the funny details of quips and jokes we had shared. I was probably the only boy in the 1963 Wesley cricket team that he could relate to although he knew everyone else. Milroy Mutuvaloe our skipper Darrell Maye vice captain and all-rounder in fact he even remembered Sarath Wickremaratne’s primate nick name! I spent a lot of time with Billy and his good friend and class mate Trinitian Gavin Rodie.

Somehow I felt that Billy was still an Old Wesleyite inside without him saying so. We parted company after Sunil Perera’s Trinitians were treated to a brilliant innings of calculated batting by the late Rodney Perera and a very honourable draw on a wicket we were never going to get used to. Two years later I met Billy again and after a lot of catastrophic decisions by our rudderless team Wesley was comprehensively beaten by an innings. There was sadness and sympathy in Billy’s eyes when we met in mid afternoon as we walked down the Asgiriya hill. He expected us to put up a better fight and we just crumbled to Anil Ratwatte’s off spin. So MTM Zarook’s men had given us an object lesson after Colombo 1964 when we snuffed them out for 64 runs when all they needed was 120. That was sweet revenge for the Lions.

I got the feeling that Billy could not take sides when Wesley and Trinity met but then the Wesleyites were always supporters of Trinity whenever they played any other school. Like Mr Cedric J. Oorloff the Principal of Wesley then Trinity, Billy was a binder of our schools. The bonds were there. We took pride in them and them in us. Gavin Rodie had left for Australia and for years we had not been in touch. Mohan Sahayam the ace International fly half and Gavin were the links I had with the Trinitians. When he told me that Billy his good mate and mine was suffering with cancer I was shell shocked.

I have been planning to meet them both when I had the time to visit Australia. But then it seems that all the nice old Wesleyites were saying their goodbyes before I could see them. Bryan Claessen, Robin Reimers, Lou Adhihetty, Donald Thurairatnam, Tyrone Maye, Joe Gunasekera have all gone in the past few years. One thing is common with each and every one of these gentlemen and Old Trinitian Billy Colin-Thome! They were humble, generous, and kind human beings! Is that why then that I am left behind?

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Darlan PERERA

Obituary - 27th September 2010

Beloved son of late L.K.P. Perera and of Hazel, loving husband of Joan (nee Atton), precious father of Domani and Spencer Manuelpillai (MJF Teas), Desline and Sanjeewa Attanayake and Damian (Mihin Lanka), darling papa of Siobhan and Shontaal (SBC), Thavisha (BC), Gavishca (SJC), and Avisha, brother of late Lulu, Halecyon, Cynthia, late Camelia, Jean, Heather, Gretel, Tyrene, Rovina and Signorine. Cortege leaves A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour on Thursday 23rd September at 4.30 p.m. Burial at General Cemetery Kanatte (Anglican Section).

 Country Roads regular Darlan passes away - Darlan Perera by Feizal Samath, President/CMF

“Machan I’ll be there” … were the warm words and brief response, always, from Darlen Perera, the 69-year-old veteran singer/guitarist who died on Tuesday night after a brief illness, whenever I asked him whether he could perform at our regular Country Roads charity concerts. An affable, friendly and much loved personality in the Sri Lankan music scene, Darlen played for many bands including the Bohemians before branching out as a solo artiste in recent years.

He was a regular on the hotel circuit and locations like the Capri Club and Colombo Swimming Club. Darlen played at the Country Roads charity concert for many years as a member of one of the bands and then as a solo artiste often providing the audience a range of old country favourites. That was his forte – the good old country songs, evergreens and songs of a bygone era that are still popular. He got crowds rocking and rolling wherever he played. The Beatles was one of his favourite bands, judging from a number of Beatles’ favourites that he sang. He attended the Beatles’ tribute band concert last week and fell ill thereafter, never to recover again.

Musicians like Darlen are among a breed that’s hardly recognised – men and women who sweat their way in the music scene to keep the home fires burning, raise a family and provide a decent education for their children. They never ask for much: don’t receive any accolades or awards like some musicians; are satisfied with the bare necessities of life and are extremely humble. Darlen is the third musician to pass away from dozens of musicians who have given their heart and soul at the Country Roads concerts which has raised millions of rupees for needy children in Sri Lanka, working through organisations like UNICEF and Save the Children, UK. Earlier Cosmic Rays drummer Asoka Ratnapala passed away just before the 1999 concert followed by folk singer Thisula Abeysekera in 2006. They were also two musicians who volunteered their services for these concerts, a rarity these days in a world governed by material values. Darlen, you will be sorely missed by all your friends and us at the Country Music Foundation. Feizal Samath, President/CMF

Remembered by Brinsley Rosairo

Darlen Perera passed away on 21st September 2010 after a brief illness. He represented College in rugby in 1959 and 1960. He was a well known musician in Sri lanka, He played with the popular dance band “The Bohemians”. He was a regular at the local Club socials always playing the favourite covers from the sixties onwards which often kept the party swinging. He leaves behind his wife Joan and three children Dormani, Desso, Damien and five grand children. He was a lovely fellow always willing to help out where he could and will be sadly missed by everyone.

The music will play on just for you Darlan Perera by Johnny Heyn

I got to know the country singer and all round musician par excellence Darlon around ten years back. Since I too am a singer, we got on very well and became close pals. We sang at gatherings, functions, home parties, etc. We did stints at the German Restaurant at Galle Face and at the Colombo Swimming Club where I presently work.

My sister and family overseas got to know him very well, when he entertained them all on his guitar with all his top class renditions of the oldies. In 2006 we went to Hikkaduwa taking our famous guitarist along to liven up our holiday. I also had the pleasure to sing at two ‘Country Roads’ show with him. We used to call each other practically daily and talk about life, sharing a couple of jokes .

Last year Darlan came down with a nagging persistent cough that forced him to even skip my b’day in April.

He was advised to go to Ragama Hospital for a check up. After being in and out of hospital he was sadly diagnosed with lung cancer. Just five days before his passing away on 16, last year, he joined us all for the "Fab Beatles show".

Since he was unwell I draped my jacket around his shoulders, but he was trembling due to the air-conditioning. He left half way through the concert. He was admitted to the Maharagama Hospital, a couple of days later and his daughter broke the sad news of his passing away, on September 20. He left behind his wife,two daughters, son and grand children. He was my best friend and mentor in music. I miss you dear Darlon my dear friend. Till we meet again. Let the music – play on – like you always said –ACHA

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


MY BROTHER ANWAR SAPPIDEEN – AN APPRECIATION

By Nizar Sappideen

Obituary - 28th October 2010


Anwar Sappideen(born 1938),  the oldest in our family of five boys – all old Wesleyites (Nizar, Razeen, Seenar and Binhur) and one girl,  Nazeera (a past pupil of Davi Balika Vidyala),  passed away in Melbourne (Australia) on 14th October, 2010, after a short illness.

Anwar and I joined Wesley in the year 1952.  He was a bright student, like his other contemporaries, some names I can remember  -  A. J. Pathmarajah, Terrence Goonewardena, Ajitha Wijesinghe, Shanti Perera, Frank Samuel.  While he wanted to study medicine, he had the most wonderful opportunity to study in the UK at the Northampton College of Technology (as it was then) and left College and sailed to England in 1958 (I left College in 1959). Anwar graduated from the Northampton College in Leather Tecnology (majoring in Dyeing and Finishing) winning the College’s Gold Medal, and where he was for sometime also an Instructor.  He  returned home in 1962 and was for many years the Works/Factory Manager at the Ceylon Products Corporation, until he accepted an appointment with an Italian Multinational Company setting up plants in Malaysia and Singapore.  He emigrated to Australia in 1974, worked in Sydney for sometime, and then joined Yorkshire Chemicals (a UK Mutinational Company in Melbourne),  where he was Manager for their South East Asian operations,  until his early retirement at the age of 55 years.  Amongst his other achievements, he played Rugby for Wesley, when Rugby was first introduced to Wesley under Mr. Dabrera, and was a member of the College Debating and Spelling B Teams.

He was a very prominent member of the Muslim and Sri Lankan Malay Community in Melbourne  and their members will miss him very much, as this was evident at the big gathering at his funeral in Melbourne.  He leaves behind his wife Fatima, daughter Azni and son Jehan.

Remembered By Keith De Kretser

Anwar Sappideen passed away peacefully on Thursday 14 October 2010 after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. Anwar was born in 1938, the eldest of five boys his brothers being Nizar, Razeen, Seenar (all living in NSW) and Binhur (Melbourne) who were all educated at Wesley College. He played Rugby for Wesley amongst his other achievements. He left Wesley in 1958 to further his studies. While he wanted to study medicine, he had the most wonderful opportunity to study in the UK at the Northampton College of Technology (as it was then).

He graduated from Northampton College in Leather Technology (majoring in Dyeing and Finishing) winning the College's Gold Medal, and where he was for sometime also an Instructor. He returned home in 1962 and was for many years the Works/Factory Manager at the Ceylon Leather Products Corporation, until he accepted an appointment with an Italian Multinational Company setting up plants in Malaysia and Singapore. He emigrated to Australia in 1974, worked in Sydney for sometime, and then joined a UK Multinational Company in Melbourne (which specialised in the chemicals industry) where he was Manager for their South East Asian operations until his retirement. Anwar was a regular at the OBUA functions in Melbourne during our formative years until his health began to deteriorate quite some years ago. His funeral was well attended and his mortal remains laid to rest on the same day at the Springvale Necropolis in a traditional Muslim ceremony. I joined a number of old Wesleyites who were present to bid him farewell. May his soul rest in peace.

Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon
From Him do we come and unto Him do we return"


In Memoriam - Christopher STORK

Obituary 19th September 2010 - Age 74

From the Wesley Times Australia - November Issue 2010

Passed away peacefully at home in Melbourne after a long and weary illness. on 19th September 2010. aged 73 years Beloved husband of Dorothy, father of Gary and Jenny (daughter-in- law), Anne Marie and Tim (son- in-law) and grandchildren: Jarrad, Trinity and Scott. Loved son of Edward (Ned) and Doreen (both dec.), fond brother to Christine and Alex. We extend our sincere sympathies to the family, their relatives and friends. Note: His sister Christine Stork taught at Wesley in the early sixties in the Primary classes.  

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam : Michael Allan Ross KRELTSZHEIM

Passed away 11th November 2010

Late of Homebush Bay, New South Wales. Australia Dearly loved husband of Deepthi, darling dada of Michael and Shane, beloved son of James (Bunnie) and Lois (deceased) dear brother to Jeremy and Carina (deceased), loving uncle to many nephews and nieces."Forever in our hearts" The funeral service will be held at the Parkside Church, 717 Smithfield Road, Edensor Park on (Thursday November 18, 2010) at 10.30 am. No flowers. A donation for Charity can be made at the Church.

Michael Kreltszheim from the Rugby Photo 1967 Captained by the Late Dr. Shee Hung Yu

From Raymond (Ray de Run):

My memories of you with that affable smile and nature will always remain. We shared a desk together at school and most importantly we shared some wonderful times indulging in each other’s tall stories. Those days on the rugby field and at your home playing cricket with Mark and Errol will never be forgotten. I named you the “gentle bear” got rid of many of your challengers with that bear hug. Some of those names I used to tease you with like (Lipper) that Bunny and some others would remember caused so much laughter, but you never got angry. The hallmark of a great friend and someone that will be hard to forget, till we all meet again to scrum down. Adios old pal and keep that happy smile. Thanks for the memories R.I.P.

From Frederick (Erick Forster):

Michael I just got your phone number 1 month ago, but now I cannot talk to you anymore. I'll always remember the days at school and on the rugby field, you were a great prop and I enjoyed playing with you in our rugby team and will never forget the swap we had you gave me a pair of cricket boots and in return you took my dad's rugby boots. They became a proud pair of boots when you played and also the great times when I visited you at home to eat your guava fruits from your tree. My condolenses go to the entire family. Farewell may be one day we will meet again.

From Bunny (Sextus) Taylor:

I am honoured to have been your friend, classmate and team-mate. I have some wonderful memories of you. Especially in our Tower room class, on the rugby field and the time I took you to a Dansal during Vesak, that still puts a smile on my face. Thanks for the memories. Rest in peace

Farewell till we meet again.

Michael my classmate by Bunny Taylor (From the Wesley College OBUA Newsletter Feb 2011)

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past Fly on proud bird You're free at last
.--Charlie Daniels

Michael was a gentle giant indeed, when we were in the second or third form many of us started to display our personalities, some quiet and docile, some studious, some active in sports and some rough and tumble, like myself. Michael fitted in the middle somewhere. Although he was a big and strong guy, he was quiet and docile. The rough and tumble guys would try to take him on because of his size. He was not agile but for his build, but was very quick in reacting. If he sensed someone was behind him he would turn around like a bear ready to strike. But when someone tried to have a go at him, he would walk away. However if they persisted he would turn around and grab them, shake them twice and drop them and that would be the end of the challenge. Ray de Run, Fredrick Forster and I thought this was hilarious and would have a good laugh; Michael would put on his stern face and walk away. He was so gentle that he could not bring himself to punching anyone's lights out although he easily could. He carried this attitude on to the rugby field, which did not help. So I devised a plan that would make him aggressive on the rugby field.

Michael my Rugby Team-mate

I recruited Michael into the Rugby team as a prop forward for his strength and size.
I was the hooker with Roger Koch the other prop. But I had a hell of a job trying to hold on to these props as they would pull away and the scrum would collapse or we would get pushed back.
I thought of a plan to get the front row to be more aggressive as both props were very gentle guys. I had to get them angry enough so they would go in hard and push the other team and that was to punch my own props as we went down. After a few punches Michael would say to me "Secky, someone punched me" I would encourage them to go in hard and push the buggers … By now they were angry enough they could push a freight train, and we won every scrum.

One day we were playing at Campbell Park and Michael caught me punching him. He felt so betrayed that he walked away from the game, when Bentley Barsenbach and LAFA asked him what the hell he was doing walking away from the game while it was still in progress, He said… "I can't play anymore, Taylor is hitting me". Needless to say they chased him back on to the field.

At half time Michael and I were pulled out by Bentley Barsenbach and LAFA. When I told them the reason for my actions, LAFA was not amused and I was marked for a caning after the game. Bentley Barsenbach on the other hand thought it was a cleaver plan although he reprimanded me and I had to apologise to Michael and when I explained why I did what I did, he too understood. He was as aggressive as he could possibly be after that.
Michael never backed down when he was right.

Michael Kreltszheim, Fredrick Forster, Ray de Run, Adrian Parsons, Derrick Schokman, Quyn (never knew his first name), Derendran Perera, Mickey Kitchilan, Azahim Mohamed, Brian Batstone and myself were all in the arts class located in the tower room (opposite the library). We had joint Art, English and Sinhalese with the Sinhalese Arts students such as Asoka Jayawardane, Roger Perera, Nimal Rodrigo and a few others. For our Art class we had to come downstairs to a classroom beside the College hall usually occupied by a Tamil class.

One day as usual we went downstairs for our Art lesson, it was a Friday so Brian Batstone, Derrick Schokman, Mickey Kitchilan were playing cricket (they were in the 1st X1 team). Goodness knows where Azahim Mohamed was. On that particular day the Sinhalese boys were also missing. We finished our class and returned to our own class room, when we were all summoned to LAFA's office - Michael Kreltszhiem, Fredrick Forster, Ray de Run, Adrian Parsons, Quyn, Derendran Perera an myself, as we were accused of making a mess of the class we used for our Art lesson. Apparently there was water all over the class. We did not cause any mess, but these Tamil boys wanted to get us into trouble, maybe due an incident with Ramanathan (the Maths teacher) and myself. The rest of the class was just collateral damage. Although we protested our innocence LAFA was not buying our story and we all got caned, except when it came to Michael's turn, he would not accept the punishment. Although we pleaded with him to take the punishment and we would exact revenge on the entire Tamil class for framing us, he would not give in. Eventually LAFA let him go and was going to investigate the matter further. A few days later, Michael was vindicated, but the rest of us got another caning for admitting to an offence we did not commit. Needless to say the Tamil students paid for it.

Strangely enough when I was talking to Edmund Dissanayake abut 4 years ago, he brought this subject up and said how he admired Michael for standing up to his rights.

Michael's first Vesak

Michael lived a sheltered life and did not get up to any mischief like the rest of us "hooligans". As the time of my immigration to the UK was fast approaching, I got up to all kinds of mischief with my close friend Cassim Cader and wanted to share the fun with Michael. I remember the fun we (Shanthi McLelland, Cassim Cader, I and the late Rando Crutchley and Shee Hung) had with him, taking him on his first Vesak jaunt and visiting that posh Dansala by Liptons, where food was served on plates and not the traditional banana leaf.

We all started eating and enjoying the food when I noticed that Michael was not touching his food. I thought he did not want to eat, as he might be worried about the hygiene although this Dansala was like a posh cafe. When I asked him what was wrong he said he was waiting for a Fork & Spoon. I replied in traditional foul language ..."eat with your fingers". He did not know how to. I was not good at it either but I asked him to copy what I was doing. He made a total mess and we had a great laugh.

We then went on our way to see the pandals, I somehow had a safety pin with me, and while amidst the crowds I would prick the females standing directly opposite Rando (he was a huge guy that could not speak two words of Sinhalese). They would turn around and scold
him in Sinhalese and all he could say was "mame ney". Michael would just smile and enjoy the fun of getting Rando in to trouble, but was so nervous as it could have lead to a fight.

Last contact with Michael

The last time I saw Michael was in December 1970 when I was on holiday in Ceylon, I was at a dance, when I bumped into Michael and Jeremy who were there with a bunch of their friends, I think it was a farewell do for a friend of theirs (I think her name was Ellis Solomon) who was immigrating to Canada in a few weeks. I took to the floor with this girl and wound up making out with her for the best part of the evening and could not fully enjoy Michael's company. I telephoned him about 4 years ago and gave him quite a shock. We were so happy to hear each others voices and reminisced about many things and the fun we had.

Shanthi McLelland, Cassim Cader and I were regular visitors to his place behind the prisons. They had guava trees with delicious fruit and his Mum would always have passion fruit and meringues (we called them kisses in Ceylon) that would melt in your mouth. We were such greedy buggers; one could find us wherever there was free food.

I have so many fond memories of Michael and our crazy bunch of friends. His tragic passing has come as such a shock. Rest in peace my friend and I will treasure the fond memories of those happy times in our youth.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - AlHaj M Z M Jai Lameer

Obituary 8th January 2011 - Age 67

Jai Passed away on Saturday 8 January 2011. He was at Wesley from 1949 - 1963 and represented College at Rugby. Jai was a founder member of the Wesley College OBU UK and did all the initial work to get the Union together. Jai was the first Secretary of the Union.He was the 3rd President of the Union from 1996 -1998. and also, served as its Treasurer. Jai was very actively involved in Charity work and formed a very successful Charity "Mercy Mission".Which he led with a team of medical doctors and nurses, to operate on deprived children with heart conditions in Sri Lanka.

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajoon -(To Allah we belong and to him is our return)

Jai Lameer by Harish Nilaweera

Carshalton Beeches - Surrey March 19, 2011

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With flowers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
--Georgina Christina Rossetti

Without seeking such a mantle Jai Lameer had come to be seen by all those who knew him in the United Kingdom and all his relations and friends in his native Sri Lanka, as the embodiment of kindness, generosity and compassion. His recent demise was an unbearable loss to his family and all who knew him. The Sri Lankan community in Greater London in general and the suburbs of Croydon and Purley in particular have lost a true friend who was larger than life – a void that would be difficult to fulfil. His loss will reverberate amongst countless Sri Lankans and particularly the many less privileged parents in Sri Lanka, whose very young children were literally saved from certain death due to the tremendous work carried out by the Guy’s Mercy Mission to Sri Lanka of which he was the chief co-ordinator during the past eight years.

Mohamed Zaheer Mohamed Lameer ‘Jai’ to all those who knew him, was born on 4th of July 1944, the son of Mr A.M.M Lameer and Mrs Nona Laila Lameer.

He was educated at Wesley College Colombo; a prestigious and premier Methodist School that was a stone’s throw from his family home. He grew up in the carefree ‘sixties’ and performed creditably in his studies and sports in particular Rugby. Immediately following his secondary education at Wesley like many adventurous youngsters of his generation, he set sail to the United Kingdom in 1964. Upon arrival in 1964 he joined Trembath Refrigeration and Air Conditioning as a trainee, qualifying as a Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Engineer in 1969. In between this period he met and married Jayanthi Kodikara and set up home in Beckenham, Kent. Shortly thereafter he moved with his family to Solihull in the West Midlands having taken up employment with Climate Equipment.

Following his stint in the West Midlands Jai branched out on his own in 1977 and set up his own company Freezeway Limited with Jayanthi, a Company that flourished throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He had a very wide clientele spanning the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. His clientele included some prestigious and fashionable establishments in London’s West End. It was about the busiest period in his life, but he never used it as an excuse not to assist any friend or acquaintance in need of his advice or assistance. It was also most commendable that although a devout member of the Islamic faith he was one of the main supporters of the Thames Buddhist Vihara in Croydon from its fledgling days right up to the turn of the century. The time, energy and resources that he put at the disposal of the Thames Buddhist Vihara during this period were phenomenal and legendary.

He also founded the Wesley College Old Boy’s Association in the United Kingdom, which he served many years with distinction in various capacities including that of the President. A fiercely loyal Wesleyite he was held in high esteem and respected by the school’s main Association in Colombo.

The continuous and gruelling work that also had to be completed to schedule as he was dealing with high street businesses exclusively did take its toll on Jai. In 2000, Jai was compelled to undergo a heart by-pass operation, which he faced with his usual courage and optimism. It was a complete success and that was the prelude to a most remarkable and fruitful relationship with his consultant Cardiac Surgeon Mr Conal Austin of Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital. Mr Austin himself had a great affection for Sri Lanka having visited the island during his medical school days and in 2003 he assembled a crack medical team comprising his friend, colleague and Cardiologist Dr John Simpson and some outstanding and eminent Anaesthetists, Technicians and Nurses etc, to spend ten to twelve days of their own time operating on extremely sick children in Sri Lanka. The whole venture was co-ordinated by Jai in his inimitable and efficient style (also assisted by Dr Mohan Jayatilaka consultant Cardiologist in Colombo) leaving no stone unturned and using his best endeavours to make the team’s work and stay in Sri Lanka as comfortable and tolerable as possible. The work of the Mission continued making a further seven visits to Sri Lanka resulting in over one hundred babies and very young children being saved, and are now leading healthy and normal lives. The work of the Mission has now reached legendary proportions especially in and around Galle and the Karapitya Hospital. The writer is personally aware of the ground work and behind the scene work Jai did in organising the Sri Lankan side of the Mission’s work as he was conscientious and most determined not to let Mr Austin and his colleagues be unnecessarily inconvenienced. The Mission, its’ success and its continuity was his passion.

Sadly Jai showed signs of deteriorating health from about mid 2008 but he did not let it hamper or affect his normal life or work. By this time he had cut down on his Air Conditioning Business, although he did attend to the needs of his long-standing clients. He continued with all his activities including one of the most important things in his life – The Mercy Mission to Sri Lanka. He was not a well man when he co-ordinated the last Mission in September 2010 (against the advice of his family friends and the personnel of the Mission). He was firmly determined to see it through and nothing would stop him. The Mission was as usual a success but it appeared to all those who were close to him that he was not well. In spite of this he strove to lead a normal life going about his business until he just could not carry on any more.

Jai was a man who never troubled anyone but was always prepared to put himself at the service of others. He loved, looked after and protected his family passionately and with great devotion. Equally important to him were his friends and their families. His joy and happiness at the success of his friends’ children was overwhelming and had to be seen to be believed. The number of youngsters who Jai knew throughout their lives and who were at his bedside during his last few hours in Brompton Hospital in London was ample testimony. The large gathering that assembled at Thames Buddhist Vihara, barely twenty-four hours of his passing, at a ceremony to bestow blessings upon him and the even larger gathering at his funeral was clear evidence of the high esteem this larger than life man with an equally large heart boundless energy and enormous enthusiasm was held by all.
Jai has left us - gone beyond the ken of human consciousness. In keeping with his direct and matter of fact approach to life his twilight thoughts knowing him as I have done for more than thirty four years would have been typically echoed by

Georgina Christina Rossetti's famous words;

If thou wilt, remember,
If thou wilt, forget.

He lived his life in the epitome of a verse by J.Keble in his familiar hymn:

The trivial round, the common task,
Would furnish all we need to ask
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

And on this road for his family, his country and his friends Jai walked that extra mile.
Jai Lameer died peacefully on 8th of January. He is survived by his wife Jayanthi his daughter and son, Soraya and Shahan respectively and his grandchildren Ayesha and Cyrus.


In Memoriam - Derrick Juriansz

Obituary 6th January 2011

Derrick passed away on Thursday 6th January 2011 after a long illness. Derrick was at Wesley in 1945 and represented the College at Cricket and Tennis. He was a long standing member of the Wesley College OBU UK and was very supportive in all its activities.

Everyday in some small way
Memories of you come our way.
Though absent, you are always near
Still missed, loved and always dear.

Funeral took place on Thursday 20th 2011 at 11am after service at:
Lawrence's Roman Catholic Church
The Green
Feltham
Middlesex TW13 4AF

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Eardley Melder (1954-1966)

Kindly sent to me by Aubrey Melder
31/01/2011

 Obituary 1966 - Age 13

Eardley Melder was a College prefect  and talented musician and sportsman when he died, drowned at sea at Mt. Lavinia in July 1966.  At the time of his death he was vying for the ‘opening position’ of the cricket first XI (refer team photo for 1966).  He captained the under 17 rugby side and was playing at the ‘fly half’ number 10  position in the first XV rugby team.  His untimely death brought a terrible sense of loss to his family, class mates, friends and fellow Wesleyites.  His funeral service was held at the general cemetery at Kanatte, Sri Lanka and was attended by a vast crowd, consisting of family, relatives, friends,  and staff and pupils of the school.  Arrangements at the cemetery were coordinated by then Vice Principal Mr. L A Fernando and Eardley’s cousin Edward James Melder (Eddie).  In the same year he had obtained one of the few distinctions in the Island for English stenography at his O/L examinations, and was awarded the class prize at the annual College prize giving ceremony.  Eardley was the son of Allan Luther and Beatrice Mona Melder and the younger brother of Aubrey.

In loving memory of their beloved son Mr and Mrs A.L Melder donated the Eardley Melder Challenge Trophy for the Inter-Bank Six -a Side Cricket Tournament held Annually in Colombo.

Our thoughts are with you on this day,
Happy memories come to mind
Of one we loved with all our hearts
And will till the end of time.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam -Mrs. Bhadrani Jayawardene

Obituary March 2011

JAYAWARDHANE - BHADRANI - Retired English Teacher (Rahula MV Malabe, C.W.W. Kannangara and Wesley College, Colombo) - Beloved wife of Bandula, loving mother of Prashanthi (Sydney), Ruvini (Standard Chartered Bank), mother-in-law of Prasanna (Sydney), sisiter of Hema Mahindaratne and late Padma Jayasinghe, expired. Cremation at Thalahena General Cemetery at 5.00 p.m. on Wednesday 9th March. 737/2, Vindhya, Dambugahawatte Road, Malabe.

The information of her demise was kindly sent to me by Yohan Ferreira. I am grateful for his efforts to obtain a photo from Mrs Bhadrani Jayawardene's daughter. It is with much sadness I announce the passing away of Mrs. Jayawardhane, teacher of O/L English Literature during the late 1990s at Wesley.

Her obituary appears in today's Daily News 9th March 2011

Hope many Old Boys can pay their last respects and attend the funeral this evening.


In Memoriam – Ranjith Kottachchi by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Added 22nd March 2011

Ranjith was a popular, transparently honest, decent lad at Wesley College in the 1950’s. He travelled to school daily from Kolonnawa with  his 2 brothers who were younger to him .  He was recognized as a tough guy as he was a keen body builder and looked  muscular. He impressed his peers by his stamina and strength. Despite those looks he was a modest gentle soul and never got into trouble with the strict rules and discipline at Wesley College. He was a good natured, quiet, kind lad. Although I remember his wit humour and laughter Ranjith was a shy student and remained rather an elusive figure at school.

Ranjith was a Sea Scout with the likes of CS Chen, Shanthi Perera and Daya Perera and was a fine swimmer. The Organisation was established in 1932 by Founder W.F Abayekoon Under the name of 1st Port of Colombo SEA SCOUTS. Their Head Quarters, is situated on the banks of the Beira Lake where they rowed their boats.  Once during a Sea Scout function Ranjith was thrown overboard during a  boating manoeuvre. He, sadly, drowned wearing his heavy Sea Scout gear. This was a tragic loss to his family, the Scouts  and to his numerous friends at Wesley. This tragedy had a devastating effect on the organisation and all who knew him. In our lives we cannot banish dangers and much depends on our own destiny.

During the late 1950's my parents lived in Kolonnawa. On some days I have walked with the Kottachchi boys to school and back. We were all shaken by this tragedy. I remember his terribly sad and grief-stricken family. I was then a teenager and distinctly recall visiting his home to pay my respects. I remember the sadness that filled my mind. The thought of a young person dying was almost too painful to comprehend. I felt it was so unfair to see a young person with all their life ahead of them die before older generations who have lived their life. I had in the past regarded death as something in the far distant future, and yet this loss of a young life was a tragic reminder that nobody is invincible, no matter their age.

Ranjith was a loving son and brother who was treasured by his family. We fondly remember his happy smiling face. Ranjith left us in 1959. He had much to give and was too young to leave this world. But he went whilst doing what he enjoyed most, being surrounded by his friends, the Sea Scouts.

As they say "Only the good die young"

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha

May he attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana

My thanks go to Lakshman Kottachchi and Lalith Wijesinghe for their efforts to send me a fine photo of Ranjith to be included in the Double Blue International.


In Memoriam - OWEN REGINALD KRELTSZHEIM

Obituary January 2011

Kreltszheim - Owen Reginald (Former Chairman and Founder Managing Director Intercom Limited). Dearly beloved husband of the late Eunice (nee Melder), loving brother of the late Robert, Felicia and Clifford and of Mervyn (Australia), expired. Cortege leaves A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour on Monday 17th January2011 at 4.30 p.m. Burial at General Cemetery, Kanatte (Anglican Section).

A champion of commerce who was witness to the Ceylonisation of trade by Jagath C. Savandasa

With the death of Owen Reginald Kreltszheim, aged 89, in mid-January 2011, we have lost a gentleman of a rare breed. I had known Owen for more than three decades, but closely only for a few years. His life and times, especially the way he guided the destinies of an export house and emerging Ceylon business and plantation interests in the early 20th century, deserve mention.

The middle of the last century marked the beginning of an uncertain future for the Dutch Burgher community, a community that had been somewhat privileged under both the Dutch and the British. The official language policy after Independence made many members of the community consider an alternative homeland. The majority departed our shores.

I believe many of Owen’s relatives were among those who left the country.
But Owen chose to remain in the land of his birth.
The Burghers had left an indelible imprint in both the public and private sectors, not to mention the professions and sports of this country. The Burgher community was distributed over all parts of the island, but many lived close to the city of Colombo. Nugegoda was much favoured among the community. The Burghers interacted and mingled easily with the other communities. Nugegoda’s cosmopolitan mix since British times suited them perfectly.

Owen lived in Melder Place, named after his wife’s family. Melder Place and Raymond Road were two parts of Nugegoda that were long associated with the Burghers.

After completing his education at Wesley College, Colombo, Owen joined E. B. Creasy and Darley Butler & Co. Ltd, the leading British firm. The pre-Independence era saw the rapid rise of Ceylonese business interests. Apart from the tea, rubber and coconut industries, the three principal revenue earners, Ceylonese businesses rapidly expanded into the maritime provinces, giving rise to a new breed of planters and business leaders.

As soon as Independence was achieved, there was a strident cry from the indigenous business leaders for the Ceylonisation of trade that had long been in the control of British and Indian interests. The government introduced momentous legislation, eliminating trading by British and Indian-owned firms. This resulted in the closure of Darley Butler’s export department, where Owen was employed.
Owen had arrived at a decisive juncture in his life.

Among the main suppliers of cinnamon to Darley Butler was Darsin de Silva & Company, rubber and cinnamon planters and transporters based in Ambalangoda. Darsin and another cinnamon planter, Hector Fernando, had developed a friendship with Owen over the years. It was their influence and vision that led to the formation of Intercom Ltd, with Hector Fernando as chairman, Owen Kreltszheim as managing director, and Darsin de Silva and C. Muthukumaraswamy as directors.

When Hector died in the mid-1980s, Owen took over as chairman. Many attribute the rise of Intercom Ltd to the pinnacle of the cinnamon trade to Owen’s total dedication to work. He burnt the midnight oil to make the company a success.

It was also in the early 1980s that Owen took on the role of Honorary Secretary of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, which had pioneered the Ceylonisation of trade. The Chamber of Commerce had a substantial membership of emerging business leaders. Significantly, many of them were originally from the Southern coastal belt. Their rise brought about vital socio-economic changes, resulting in private sector expansion, employment generation, and enhanced export earnings.

Owen also served the Church. He was Warden of SS Mary and St. John, founded more than 150 years ago. He was also an active member of the YMCA of Nugegoda. These were two life-long attachments. Owen was also a keen tennis player at one stage of his life.

As Honorary Secretary of the National Chamber of Commerce, Owen distinguished himself by his meticulous attention to the tasks assigned to him. It was during this period, in the early 1980s, that I came to know him closely. He impressed me as a calm, unruffled and principled individual. He was indeed one of the last of the Mohicans.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mrs. Isla PERERA

Obituary March 2011

Retired Teacher Wesley College. Wife of late Clarence. Beloved Mother of Clarantha and Nirmali, Mithral and Sherrine, Sunimal and Indrani. Passed away peacefully in March. To her family and friends we extend our sincere condolences and remember her with respect and fondness. A dedicated and caring teacher who served Wesley with loyal service over many years. Passed away in March 2011

From Kumar De Silva:

Former Wesley College teacher Mrs Isla Perera passed away yesterday. Burial was this morning at Borella Kanatte. Will always remember her as an excellent teacher of English, of which I was a rich beneficiary--

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera:

I Remember Mrs. Isla Perera who was our art teacher in the Primary Classes. She was a kind person who served Wesley College with great distinction for over 25 years. We thank her for her services to the school and the many generations of students. We remember her with much gratitude. The brotherhood of Wesleyites send our condolences to her family.

From Clarantha Perera (Mrs. Isla Perera's son)

I Would like to thank The Principal & The Vice Principal ( who were my mothers students)..the Staff (past & present), the clergy, the Old Boys , the Present day Boys & The Prefects ( who did an excellent service)..for their kind presence & prayers at the funeral of my beloved Mother & Teacher.. Mrs Isla Perera

GRANT HER O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Ranjith Kularatne and Chandra Kularatne

Added - October 2011

By Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

Photo - Ranjit Kularatne

We remember most fondly Ranjith Kularatne who died in October 2011 and Chandra who passed away a few years back. They were an integral part of the Wesley Community at Karlshrue Gardens. We are thankful for their contribution to the life of the school in the 1950's.

I remember Chandra being 2 years my senior in the 6th Form. He was full of good humour, jokes and kindness but remained a quiet soul. His diminutive stature was transcended by a gregarious charm which left its imprint on all who knew him and proved to be a priceless skill throughout his life. At Wesley he was invariably surrounded by a posse of friends. We shall always remember his broad smile.

Asoka, their brother and their sister Sita were at Wesley too. In those days there were girls in the school upto Std 3. Asoka now lives in Sydney Australia where he has been a Committee Member of the OBU of that great city.

“A safe companion and an easy friend,
Unblamed through life and lamented in the end”.
‘Vivit post funera virtus’ - Virtue lies beyond the grave.
Alexander Pope

We note the passing of Ranjith and Chandra with much sadness and send our condolences to their families.

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha

May they both Attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana

I thank Nizar Sappideen for this information and also obtaining a photo from Asoka, to be included in this appreciation -- The Editor


In Memoriam - Maxwell Noel Jansz

Obituary 21st November 2011 age 67

Passed away peacefully in the UK on 25/06/11, aged 67 years. Noel was the eldest of the six Jansz brothers that attended Wesley College. Noel completed his Schooling at Arethusa College Wellawatte. Noel is the Brother of Allan, Emile (Chris), Travice (deceased in Sri Lanka 1972), Ray and Tyrone and sisters Dawn and Romanie. To his family and friends we extend our sincere condolences.

The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace

After the clouds, the sunshine,
after the winter, the spring,
after the shower, the rainbow,
for life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease,
after life's cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace
By Helen Steiner Rice

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Tuan Anver SAMAHON - (RAJ)

Obituary - 21st November 2011

Passed away after a lengthy illness. He will be sadly missed by his beloved wife Poppisha and loving daughter Aasti, beloved brother of late Seenar Packir, Hajiani Muzeena Oumar, late Zaheer Surahei Wijewardene, Thajudeen, Hajiani Sreema Babanoor (France), Suheera Nazimmuddeen (USA), Zareena Thaha(Canada) and Mohamed Kaim. Funeral took place at Jawatte Muslim burial ground on July 13, 2011. To his family and friends we extend our sincere condolences. (To many of us at Wesley he will fondly be remembered as our friend Baboon. May his soul rest in peace!)

A Tribute by Bunny Taylor

He was a few years junior to me in college; he was a classmate and close friend of Cassim Carder who was my Judo Sparring partner in the YMCA and a very close friend.

I got to know Raj through Cassim (more fondly known as Kalu Carder), we used to hang out after school, mostly to eat Mangnokka (tapioca) We used to collect money in during the lunch interval for this purpose and arrange to meet all the contributors at the back gate after school where we would purchase, cook the stuff and eat it.

None of the contributors ever thought of how we were going to do this after school. Anyway since the rendezvous was at the back gate, we (Cassim, Raj, Akbar Musafer and myself) would sneak out of the front gate with the funds.

  Then we would hurry up to Borella Junction where we would purchase the Mangnokka (tapioca) and take it to Akbar Musafer’s house in Poulingham place, which was just around the corner. His mother would cook it and make a sambol while we waited outside messing around.

   On Occasion Mrs. De Jonk (Fredrick Forester's Grandmother) would see me outside and entice me with a barbath (tripe) curry and ask me to get half a loaf of bread and she would have the curry waiting for me when I got back.

  I would temporarily ditch my mangnokka gang and get the half loaf of bread and go to Mrs. De Jonk's kitchen where she would have a bowl of curry waiting for me, as I was tucking into the bread & curry she would lecture me about hanging around aimlessly and getting into trouble and of course the religious lecture. I just agreed to what ever she was saying

And as soon as I had finished I would rejoin the mangnokka gang. By this time the mangnokka was almost ready, we would eat the stuff and have a good laugh about tricking all our contributors and concoct a story that we waited for 15 minutes at the front gate and since no one turned up we reluctantly left without them.

  Of course the next morning when we were confronted by the contributors to our Mangnokka fund as to what happened we all had the same (sort of half believable story) and we got away with it, and of course the next time we would switch gates and this scam went on for a very long time. Raj was the initiator and mastermind who organized the entire scam.

  He would initiate spontaneous scams like this and the rest of us went along with it if it was not Mangnokka it was thosai where we would eat and run off without paying, we would return to the same restaurant a few days later and would not be recognized by the staff and we would do it again, all this for a good laugh, mind you we could eat a horse at that age and still go home like angels and have our dinner.

  Raj due to his spontaneous nature would sometimes land him self in trouble and would be under the threat of a good beating, Carder and I were the muscle in the group and as soon as we showed up the trouble was all over and everyone parted friends, we almost never got into any physical altercations as our reputation as Judokas frightened the would be aggressors. This was also a chance for a good laugh, but Raj would do it again as he knew he was protected and would never get into any physical harm.

The Nawalapitiya saga, Raj invited Akbar Musafer, Cassim Carder, Asoka Jayawardane and myself to visit Nawalapitiya. Although we thought it was an opportunity to have some fun, Asoka, Cassim and myself could not make it as we had an upcoming Judo exhibition and had a lot of training to do before the event.

   Raj nagged us daily and convinced us that we could do our training at Nawalapitiya, as there were judo mats available for our use. This convinced us that it would be okay to make the trip as we could train while up there.

When it was time to depart we all met at the Fort railway station, except Asoka he did not show up. Raj had gone ahead of us to prepare things for our arrival, so Cassim Akbar and myself proceeded to Nawalapitiya and was met by Raj who took us to his sisters home where we were well looked after.

If memory serves me right the following evening we (Cassim and myself) were going to the railway institute to train our routines for the up coming exhibition. We had a great day and when it was time for our training session we proceeded to the institute only to find the place full of people.

Cassim and I were wondering how we would train while there was a crowd gathered. Unbeknownst to us Raj had organized a Judo exhibition and did not tell us about it, that was his reason for going ahead of us. When we found out we were mortified and angry that we were deceived.

Had we had known his plan we would have flatly refused as the YMCA was very strict, They were so strict that if one missed 3 sessions of training they would take the Judo kit away from you and you would not be able to train without a kit, unless you had your own kit. Only two people in the YMCA owned their own kit, I was one of them.

Now we were terrified that if we go along with Raj’s plan and the YMCA found out that we performed an unauthorized exhibition we would be kicked out for sure, kit or no kit. But Raj had this persuasive nature about him that he guaranteed that no one in Colombo would find out and that it was too late to back down now as he had sold tickets.

We were faced with a huge dilemma, what should we do, it was too late to catch a train back to Colombo and get out of this mess, So we decided to go ahead and practice our exhibition act, no one would know that in reality we were not performing for the crowd but just practicing in front of an audience.

Raj said that we should include him in our practice as he had told everyone that he too was a Judoka, because we were so mad at Raj we allowed him so that we could inflict some pain on him and teach him a lesson for getting us into this mess.

Instead of Judo mats he had a bunch of mattress’s and they were too soft to move around on but it helped Raj to lad softly each time we threw him, He could have got hurt very badly as he did not know the art of falling although we gave him a quick lesson.

I remember his sisters were sitting in the front row and every time we threw him they would gasp, feeling his pain; we just wanted to inflict a little pain on him and hopefully not injure him. I think we did this for about an hour and then ended the fake show.

Now after the show was over, Raj comes up with a bucket full of money, which were the takings from the show. Cassim and I would dare not touch that money as we believed that if cash passed through our hands for this performance although it was a fake one, we would become professionals, I guess we were too naive to know any different.

We just wouldn’t even look at the bucket full of cash we wanted Raj to hand it back to the audience, but by now the hall had cleared and to be honest we never knew what happened to all that cash.

While we were walking back home cursing Raj for the position he had put us in and he was profusely apologizing, we heard a bunch of big made guys walking behind us.

We sensed that there was trouble brewing and Cassim and I were planning to attack the biggest guys in the crowd by mounting a surprise attack and thereby hoping the others would back down and end this situation.

Raj stops us and said he would handle the situation, Cassim and I thought he was going to get beaten up and foul our surprise attack and we (Cassim and I) would have to fight this small gang. Which would probably get us hurt, as we were well and truly outnumbered.

Raj walks up to these guys and his actions seem to be animated and we thought all hell is going to break lose any minute now and we would have to rush these guys and get Raj out. But suddenly they all turned around and walked away. Cassim and I were really surprised as we were expecting a confrontation of some sort.

When Raj rejoined us we were curious as to what had just happened. He then proceeded to tell us that he told the guys that he was our instructor and the he alone could take them all on and beat them but if all three of us took them on he would guarantee that all of them would wind up in hospital with serious injuries. Once again he bluffed his way out of a potentially violent and dangerous situation. He just had the knack for it. Needless to say Cassim and I were dumbfounded and had to admire his guts. That was another good reason to have a laugh about that situation.

The last time I met Raj was when I was on a quick visit to Ceylon. I was in a taxi with my cousin, snarled in traffic at Borella junction, suddenly the door flung open and Raj hopped in. We were shocked that someone got into our taxi. Lo and behold it was Raj.

He had spotted me in the taxi and got in. we just had a quick chat and I continued on my journey. He sure was a spontaneous character.

All who knew him will sorely miss him

May his soul rest in peace

 Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon

From Him do we come and unto Him do we return


In Memoriam - Nalendra Abeysuriya by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Added - 29th November 2011

Nalendra hailed from the deep south where his father was a successful and respected General Practitioner in Galle. He started schooling in Colpetty at St Thomas’ Preparatory School with the hope of attending St Thomas Mt Lavinia like his two elder brothers. His brothers distinguished themselves as academics one becoming a Crown Counsel and the other an eminent Neurosurgeon.  Nalendra preferred sports to academia. By a quirk of fate he joined Wesley College and started as a boarder in 1953.

His talent for sport, in particular football and cricket, soon became apparent and the school encouraged him. He was the finest all round sportsman at Wesley in the 1950’s since Louis Adhihetty. With his fine competitive spirit and superlative hand eye coordination very soon he was selected to play cricket, soccer, rugby,  tennis and hockey. Nalendra went on to represent Wesley College and win his school colours in all five sports. During those years Nalendra had a high profile and where ever he went he was recognised to the point of adulation. It was a token of the respect and affection all Wesleyites had for him. Despite his immense popularity he was soft spoken and kind and his modesty shone through. In those glorious years his charisma and his sporting prowess captured the hearts of all Wesleyites, young and old.

Nalendra was ambidextrous, a great asset for any cricketer. He bowled and threw the ball with his right arm and batted as a left hander. The peak of his achievement was captaining the school 1st XI cricket in 1958 and 59.  He was a valuable and adaptible batsman with strong forearms and hit the ball with great power. Being an instinctive cricketer his record as a all rounder was impressive. Primarily an attacking batsman Nalendra was undaunted by the state of the match or the quality of the attack. There were times he lacked the determination to bat on to a big score and seemed to lose his wicket in his 50's. He was a fine medium pace bowler with enough swing and turn to surprise even the best of batsmen. His best figures were in 1958: 6 for 53 Vs Ananda, 5 for 43 VS Prince of WaIes , in 1959: 5 for 39 Vs Richmond and 5 for 65 Vs St. Thomas’. He could field in any position. Nalendra was a fine fielder with a good throwing arm and never gave up the chase to the boundary. He remained an inspirational captain and was largely responsible for the success the school enjoyed when he was the leader. Nalendra's cricket epitomised the best traditions of the school game. Not simply the breathtaking power and technical excellence of his batsmanship, but also the way he conducted himself, both as a cricketer and as captain of Wesley.

Nalendra was a part of the immensely successful soccer team coached by Neville D Abeygunawardene in the 1950's. He was a skillful, athletic and versatile winger.  His fast and furious runs along the sidelines and accurate crosses gave the forwards many scoring opportunities. He was elegant and confident in possession.  As an exceptional header of the ball he had a healthy knack for scoring goals. Neville Abeygunawardene paid a glowing tribute to his match winning teams of 1958 and 59: " Let me add a few words of appreciation to every member of the senior and the junior teams, of that period who excelled in the sport and brought honour to their Alma Mater. Lou Adhihetty, Gunasekera, Wimal Goonetilleke, Upali Samararatne, who skippered the "Double Blues" then, were excellent in leadership, apart from their individual performance. I may hasten to say the O.K. Hemachandra, now Deputy Inspector General of Police, Michael Fernando, Upali Samararatne, Nalendra Abeysooriya, Terrence Goonawardene, Rajah Athukorale. Samidon, Razark, and Lou Adhihetty could have donned National jersey, if only if they had pursued with the sport. In Hemachandra there was a very crafty player whose mid-field manoeuvres were.' the base of the team's success. Upali Samararatna's dare and dash and Terrence Gunawardene'.s safe hands were no mean contribution to the glory of Wesley Soccer. The sheer speed and control of Abeysooriya in the wings, and the deft and droit foot work of Michael Fernando, Samidon, Rajah Authukorale, to name a few were a delight to watch. These were then the days when the "Double Blues" bloomed and blossomed at Soccer! " There can be no greater tribute to this fine team.

He was trusted by his teachers to uphold the rules and laws of the school. He was made a Prefect for his services to sports at Wesley College. Nalendra carried out its onerous tasks without fear or favour and with great sensitivity and earned the respect of fellow sudents.

As a student he was one of us and joined in the mischief fun and laughter which was ever present in school and also in the boarding. What struck me most about Nalendra was his tremendous enthusiasm for life as a student. He was wonderful company, indefatigable, modest and touchingly brave. He left school after the GCE O' Levels to become a professional upcountry planter after which our paths never crossed. His move to Dickoya removed his chance of playing for a high profile cricket club in Colombo and perhaps also to play for his country. He remained a successful Planter and a popular figure in the profession for several years. His lifestyle took its toll and his health suffered irreparably. I was deeply saddened to hear Nalendra passed away at the young age of 44 years in October 1983. His sudden and unexpected departure was a great shock to his many friends and a grievous blow to his young family.

Nalendra was happy in his marriage to a beautiful and gifted lady. To him, the family was a source of the greatest happiness and pride. His son and daughter and their welfare meant much to him. He was wonderful company, a marvelous friend and a magnificent person. Polite, courteous and well mannered he had none of those negative aspects we sometimes associate with sportsmen. He was a great sportsman in the true sense of the word.

Nalendra made many friends in his short but eventful life and created an unprecedented impact on those who came into contact with him . He will be held in enormous and enduring affection by those who played with him and against him in the inter school matches of the 1950's. He will be long remembered for the energy and enthusiasm he showed for the game of cricket. Nalendra touched so many people with his inspirational spirit, warmth and kindness. Nalendra was a genuine and honest person with a terrific sense of loyalty. We will miss his mischievous pranks, cheeky grin, kind ways and warm friendly smile. He will continue to live in the hearts and minds of all who knew him.

As we say for cricketers - May the turf lay lightly on him.

1st XI Cricket Team 1958

Standing LtoR: Senthil Sinniah, PS Rodrigo, R Athukorala, Kabir Ismail, Neville Perera, Olkie Edema, D Kodituwakku, A Palihakkara, M Bulner, BS Batuwitage

Seared LtoR: W De Kretser, U Samararatne, Mr PH Nonis, N Abeysuriya, Mr Lanerolle, Mr Fred De Mel, SM Rajasingham

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha

May he Attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam - Daya Amarasinghe by Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

Added - 30/11/2011

It is with deep sadness I note the passing away of a school mate of the 1950's. He was a quiet decent Wesleyite who enriched our lives with his company and presence. Daya hailed from Udahamulla and was a regular train commuter from Baseline Road on the famous narrow guage KV Line of old. He played cricket for school in the 1st XI 1958/59 as a successful left arm spinner. The exact date of his demise is not known but it is believed to be approximately 15 years ago. We remember him for his contribution to the life of the school.

Anicca vata sankhara
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha

May he Attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


Dr. Gamani Attygalle (Consultant Anaesthetist - Sri Lanka) by

Obituary - 6th December 2011

Capt. L. B. Lanka (Wilbawe) Jayaratne

It is very sad to learn the demise of an outstanding gentleman with sterling qualities. A medical practitioner (anaesthetist) by profession, Dr. Gamani Attygalle hailed from the well known Attygalle family, his elder brother being the late Desamanya General Don Sepala Attygalle who was a former Army Commander and Defence Secretary.

Educated at Wesley College, Dr. Attygalle excelled in his studies, sports and other extra curricular activities at school and was later a member of the tennis team of the Health Department Sports Club. He took his MBBS (Ceylon) degree from the Ceylon Medical College, Colombo and specialized in anaesthetics taking the FFARS (UK) in England. He served in several Provincial Hospitals and the Colombo General Hospital and was well known for his kindness to patients. Dr. Attygalle was a member of the team that did the first kidney transplant in Sri Lanka.

He married Kalyani, daughter of Don Walter Wijewardene and Mrs. Anula Wijesinghe Wijewardene of Sedawatte, Kelaniya, a very well known family. Their son, Dhammika Attygalle, is a Director of the Upali Group of Companies founded by his uncle, the late Phillip Upali Wijewardene.

The late Dr. Gamani Attygalle did social, cultural and religious services to the community and his son, Dhammika, continues the tradition serving the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya as Chief Basnayake Nilame.

Dr Attygalle’s grandson, Duminda, will be leading the Royal College Rugby team this season.

May he be born among us till he achieves Nibbana in his Journey in Sansara

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away


In Memoriam - Malik Jahn

Malik Jahn was a great Wesleyite who excelled in sports and education in the seventies and early eighties. He came in an era where sportsman in Sri Lankan schools weren’t showing much enthusiasm in education. He captioned Wesley College Colombo hockey and badminton teams and was a great athlete. Malik Jahn was adjudicated several times in the field of sports and education at Wesley with prizes and trophies for his performances. There were not a single prize giving or colours night in the school which does not have his name on the prize receiving list. After colourfully passing the Advanced Level exam with all ‘A’ passes on all the subjects he offered then he entered the University of Ceylon and did a Bachelors degree in engineering.

Apart from Representing the school in Hockey, Badminton, and Athletics he also went to represent the National team in Hockey and Badminton. Once when I asked to name few heroes in his life he introduced few persons and unfortunately I can remember only two of those they are Mr. Suppiah and Mr. Kalupahana along with his parents and one of his uncle, the other was most probably the then Hockey Coach of Wesley College. Malik Jahn came from a sport enthusiastic family and his brother Mansar Jahn too a fantastic hockey player later captioned the Sri Lankan Hockey team. The Demise of Malik Jahn in 1983 is a great lost to the Community and the Country.

For many Wesleyites of 70s and 80s Malik Jahn was a friend, hero, compatriot, humane and a person to follow. Even for many younger generations to come by in Wesley he was an idol to follow. Nowadays there is prize given on his name at the annual prize giving and colours night at Wesley College which brings his name at least once or twice in a year back to the memory. Some years back most probably in 1984 a year after Malik Jahn died when the announcer called his name to give a prize in his memory every person in the stage and hall got up as a respect to his great contribution to Wesley College sports in numerous ways.

Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon"
From Him do we come and unto Him do we return"


In Memoriam - Hilary De Alwis

Added 12th December 2011

Remembered by Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

Hilary was a Prefect at Wesley College and the winner of the Hill Medal in the early 1950's. He entered the Arts Faculty of the University of Peradeniya after which he held a position of great authority in the Sri Lankan Foreign Service and also as a Director of the Browns Group of Companies. Hilary De Alwis passed away in August 2009. We acknowledge his passing with great sadness.

DE ALWIS - HILARY (H.R.H.) Safe in the arms of Jesus. Dearly beloved husband of Chitra, loving father of Dilky and Devika, father-in-law of Michel Saelen, beloved grandfather of Natasha and Anushka, brother of Audrey Sharp, late Mavis Gooneratne, late Joyce Perera and Shirley Deheragoda, brother-in-law of Jeanne Nethsinghe, Nimal Breckenridge and Chandrika Wijeyaratne. Cortege leaves 2C, Jeswell Place, Mirihana, Nugegoda at 2.30 p.m. for service of thanksgiving at the Kollupitiya Methodist Church at 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday 18th August. Cremation at the General Cemetery, Borella at 5.30 p.m.


In Memoriam Cecil Ancel d'With Barbut - Eulogies and Tribute

Added 26th February 2012

Cecil Ancel d'With Barbut passed away on the 27th of January 2012. Cecil's body was cremated in Negombo and the ashes were sent to his family in Melbourne. The Ashes were buried in the family grave in Melbourne, which contain the remains of his dear mother and father. The Memorial Service was held at 3PM on Friday 17th February 2012 at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Clayton where Cecil's family lived on arrival from SL. The Service was well attended with around 70 people including Langston Joseph, Glen Reimers, Lucien Fernando, Keith de Kretser, Ben Nathanielsz & Brian Wijeyekoon.

Eulogy for my big brother, Cecil Ancel d’WITH-BARBUT 13/12/1940 – 27/01/2012 By  Arthur d’With-Barbut
Memorial Service, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Clayton, Victoria, Australia, 17th February, 2012.

Photo - Arthur d'With Barbut

My big brother Cecil was born three years earlier than me. I quote from my late mother’s diary, “Cecil Ancel was born on Monday 2nd December 1940 at 2.26 A.M. Dr Ratnam & Dr Karunaratne were with me, and Cecil’s Ma, and my Ma.  My darling Cecil was outside on the veranda. Cecil Ancel was a 7 lb baby when born. He was very pink and his little ears were close to his head. Very little hair, more at the back of his head, but now he is changing already. I do not feel well as I was suffering very badly with Malaria while I was expecting him. He is now hardly 2 months old but smiles away so knowingly.  He was baptised on the 28th December on our 9th Wedding Anniversary.”

After kindergarten at St Paul’s, Milargiriya, Cecil attended Wesley College, Colombo, first as a day student, but in 1953 we both joined the Boarding School at Wesley, as my father continued to work in the country. Cecil was then 13 and I was 10. At the end of each school term we would catch the train for the 200 klm trip to our home in the hills of Diyatalawa. Cecil honed his big brotherly skills by ensuring I pulled my head in from the window to ensure that I did not get ash in my eyes from the steam train engine! We enjoyed the holidays immensely. Our parents were so pleased to have us home. We spent hours playing Table Tennis and Carom at the Survey Sports Club next door. As Cecil grew older, he would play a lot of tennis with the big boys and ended up captaining Wesley at Tennis.

Cecil arrived in Australia with my sister Kathleen and her husband Gerald in 1959 at the age of 18. He began his working life by becoming an Insurance Clerk with the State Insurance Office in Collins Street.  Cecil was intelligent and industrious. He was aware that he could not go far in Australia without further study. Cecil then began many years of part-time study at night to gain further qualifications. He did studies in insurance, eventually attaining a fellowship in insurance. But Cecil was not done yet. He set his mind on studying law, and began a part time law course in Melbourne.

Years of part-time study were rewarded when he was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria.  My parents were so proud of his achievements that they threw a big party to celebrate, at a reception centre here in Clayton.

Cecil and Arthur in happier times  

Cecil’s first work as a Solicitor was in the Legal Section of the State Insurance Office. After some years he rose in the legal profession and began working in the Victorian Crown Solicitors office which is now called the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Despite being happy and secure at the Crown Solicitors office, Cecil had a deep desire to run his own legal practice. A successful businessman has no fear of risk taking, for better or worse. Cecil was a born risk taker. He resigned from the Crown Solicitors office and started his own legal practice, here in Clayton. The business was doing very well. It wasn’t long before he opened another office in Alexandra. His favourite holiday spot in Eildon had led him there. He loved Eildon and the surrounding countryside and so he spent most of his leisure time there. 

Cecil made friends easily and friends were easy to find in the days when he had plenty of money in his pockets, and he had a booming legal practice. However, nothing lasts forever, boom times inevitably come to an end.

Around this time Cecil was approached to start importing a new Sri Lankan product with great potential called “Coir Peat”. It was a fertiliser made from the husk of coconuts.  Cecil was convinced of the merits of Coir Peat and soon began importing the product in large containers by sea to Melbourne. He set up a large warehouse here in Clayton which became the base of his operations. In 1994 he left for Sri Lanka to facilitate the shipment of the Coir Peat to Australia.  Sadly, we know today, he was never to return to our shores.

Cecil had the ability when setbacks occurred, to dust himself off and start again. He had some wonderful entrepreneurial ideas, and one in which he wanted me to be the Australian link, was in the export of hearses from Melbourne to Colombo. Thankfully this one did not get off the ground.

Dark clouds began gathering on the horizon, his health was starting to fail. First his eyesight. One botched cataract operation in Colombo cost him the sight of one eye and the sight in his other eye was very poor. Then in the early 2000’s came the sad Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. Glenys and I visited him then. Cecil, in typical entrepreneurial fashion, had prepared a big list of business plans for my visit, business ideas I should explore, and business people he had arranged for me to meet. One was a furniture manufacturer, another, a tea grower, all offering starry but risky proposals.

 We took him on a trip with us to the cool hill country of Sri Lanka, where we had grown up and spent many happy times as children.  The highlight was going home to the Survey Camp at Diyatalawa, where we were guests of the Surveyor General of Sri Lanka and were taken on a conducted tour. It brought tears to our eyes to see our father’s name on the Honour Board in the Surveyors’ Sports Club, more than fifty years after we had left Sri Lanka.

Cecil’s Parkinson’s disease grew steadily worse. He needed full time care and was admitted to the Nightingale Nursing Care Centre in Negombo in 2005. He was well cared for and remained here until his passing on the 27th January, 2012. The matron rang me a few nights ago to tell me that the nurses miss him and his friendly banter. He was brave to the end. I would ring him up and in all the seven years that he was there, he never complained of his lot in life, not even once. I would start off by asking him how he was, and the answer was always, “I am good.”

In the weeks prior to Cecil being admitted to Nightingale in 2005 he had been looked after by some relatives. They were a devout Christian couple who had a devotional time each evening in their home. At one of these meetings Cecil recommitted his life to God.  He looked forward to the devotional time and as the CD was playing “Light of the world” he would sing, as in the old days in the Wesley choir under Maxwell de Alwis, and wait expectantly for the prayers to commence. 

Although we have lived our own lives for the past 18 years, many thousands of miles apart, I will miss him dearly - Arthur

Cecil in his teenage years  

Eulogy for Cecil Ancel d’With-Barbut  by Gerald de Zilwa  17th February 2012 

Photo - Gerald de Zilwa

 Cecil was a good humoured man and by nature he was easy going and did not take life very seriously. He enjoyed whatever de did and he did many things. His life was full of variety and many different experiences. His hobbies ranged from cooking, camping, hiking, trail bike riding, fishing and a few more. He was endowed with a generosity of spirit that was almost a fault. When approached by friends for assistance he never refused. Even if he was short of cash he would always issue a cheque. He was a keen supporter of the Magpies and with his brother attended many matches. He grew up in a Christian family and was always interested in the church. Along with his parents he attended the Anglican Church and taught in their Sunday School. His philosophy in life was to be of help to his fellow man, and to this end no task was too much trouble for him. He had an engaging attitude with people and often found himself in the midst of happy or sad occasions in their lives. 

 He had long-standing connections with Wesley College in Colombo, both as a day scholar and a boarder, and he participated in many of the school activities. When the school principal of his time (Mr.C.J.Orloff) visited Melbourne, he felt that all Old Wesleyites in Melbourne should gather together to greet him. After all, they were bound by one fraternal band, band of double-blue. This was the source of inspiration that made him the prime mover in gathering old Wesleyites together. This object was achieved with his brother Arthur contacting old boys. Then with the assistance of Keith and Rodney de Kretser and a few others an Old Boys Union in Melbourne was formed. There was an inaugural meeting with Cecil serving as its President and he continued in that role for some years.    

Meanwhile he was employed in the State Insurance Office and developed an interest in that work. He took up studies in Insurance, passed the required exams and obtained a Fellowship of the Institute. Whilst thus engaged he became attracted to the law. He found it very challenging and took up part time legal studies. Cecil worked very hard passed the necessary  exams and was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria He became a Deputy Commissioner in the Legal Section of the State Insurance Office   

Cecil moved around in the community and his interest turned to Scouting. Friends and interested parents invited him to take a leadership role in the 4th. Oakleigh- Monash Scout troop. With hard work and fund raising a new scout hall was built that served .the community well.  

 It was not surprising that Cecil was conscious of migrants to this country and their problems. He followed his father in joining and working very hard for the Australia-Ceylon-Fellowship. He worked on some of their committees and on various projects for the Fellowship. He saw the need for a clubhouse or home for the Fellowship as its members were growing in number. He resolved to try hard to establish a gathering place for members. With the support of many members he promoted the idea of forming a Co-operative to buy land on behalf of the Fellowship and develop suitable premises for Fellowship activities. Funds were raised by holding several functions and social evenings. Many men and ladies of the Fellowship worked tirelessly by donating time, labour and funds to achieve this aim. However, there was considerable scepticism and opposition to this project, but by using his powers of persuasion and optimism, the scheme became a reality. A property with a house on it was purchased and developed over the years as a clubhouse for the ACF. It stands today and is located in Clarke Road, Springvale. It is called Ceylon House. Cecil was awarded Life Membership in the Fellowship in 1985.   

Meanwhile his interests in the law and other associated work continued, but he resigned from his position with the State Insurance and took up private practice. His practice grew and expanded quite a bit. He worked hard and attracted a large clientele. He then ventured out of Melbourne and established a branch office    in Eildon. This became . successful but he could not keep up with the workload of two practices  and he had to close the branch office          

Around this time some business contacts advised him to go to Sri-Lanka and set up an export business. A new product  made out of coconut fibre was manufactured for use in fertilising agricultural crops. He was quite interested in this enterprise. It was successful and he invested a lot of money in this business,  but he was ill –advised and lost heavily because of labour and shipping problems. However, being Cecil he was not to be deterred and set up a tourist hostel for use by short-term tourists to Sri-Lanka.  He was quite successful for a while but problems  developed outside his control, and once again he lost funds. Business was never his cup of tea.   

Unfortunately he became ill with severe eye problems and had unsuccessful eye surgery. For the rest of his life he suffered from reduced vision. His health began to decline further and he found himself afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. He had to retreat from all activities and was admitted to a nursing home in Sri-Lanka. Over the years he grew worse. His condition deteriorated. He lost his mobility and was confined to a wheel chair.. Death claimed him on the 27th. January thus ending a life of varied and multiple experiences, -and so  

Swift to its close ebbs out lifes little day  
Earths joys grow dim. Its  glories pass away 

We can only give thanks to God for his life and pray that his soul rests in perfect peace.

My Tribute to Cecil d'With-Barbut by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Cecil was a close friend of mine and a fellow boarder at Wesley College in the glorious 1950’s. It was with great sadness I received the news of his demise from Arthur when he phoned me on the 27th of January around 11.00 GMT.  Cecil was one of the most respected and well-liked students during my time at Wesley. Courteous, decent and utterly dependable Cecil was never known to swear and never spoke ill of others. He was identified as a young man with potential. He wrote elegantly and spoke fluently. By his polished performances he entertained the audiences as a member of the school debating team. He had the intelligence, vocabulary and the turn of phrase of a Barrister. I am so pleased to hear that Cecil qualified as a Barrister and enjoyed a lucrative practice in Melbourne. Sadly, his restless spirit made him move away from the legal profession.

Cecil was an entrepreneur without that important ingredient for success "the killer instinct". If he was successful in making his millions, as he wished, the school and his many friends would have benefitted more than Cecil, of that I am certain. He was a trusting gentleman who did business on a handshake without much concern for the manifold shortcomings of the human race. Cecil was not made for the cut and thrust of trade and commerce. His friendly affable nature was not suited for the complex and labyrinthine world of business. Neither did he have the good fortune to ride over hard times. We live in an unforgiving world.

At school Cecil had a warm personality and was most generous to his friends. He was genuinely honest and helpful and had a wicked sense of humour. I remember his pranks and the mischief and usually had a twinkle in his eye. Cecil wrote with wit and style colourful accounts of those happy times with his family. I recall with much nostalgia the letters he wrote to me and many others during the school holidays describing his fun filled days at the Survey Camp at Diyatalawa. For him, those long August holidays stood out as a sort of apex of happiness with tennis, hikes, cycling and table tennis with parties in the evenings.

Cecil's heart was always in Sri Lanka and in the hills and valleys of Diyatalawa where he had grown up. He was quite at home with its seasonal rhythms, wildlife and rural customs. He related evocative stories of its people and places. He had great empathy for those who toiled in all weathers in that inhospitable terrain with the driving rain, mist and cold. He took pleasure in exploring the rugged and beautiful countryside from an early age helped by his many Scouting friends. Cecil considered that Sri Lanka had all the landscapes, sporting pursuits and climatic features that any sensible person could desire. For Cecil that was home. That was the place he loved most dearly and it was there he spent his final years.

His parents were an uncomplicatedly loving and highly motivated family with modestly ambitious plans for the future for their children. Cecils father, Mr. C A d'With-Barbut who was an old boy of Wesley College, resigned from the Survey Department when he was 53 years old to emigrate to Australia for the welfare of his children. He was then an Assistant Superintendent of Surveys in charge of the Survey Training College, now a Faculty of the University of Sri Lanka. Had he remained in Sri Lanka until retirement age he may have been the Surveyor General.

He was a fine tennis player. Cecil played cricket and soccer in the small park like the rest of us, not very well, but enjoyed it immensely. He relished and defended his commitment to the many extra curricular activities of the school at the expense of academia. There are some images of Cecil that would remain with me for ever and one such image is his animated, loud vocal support for Moscrop House in the interhouse Sportsmeet. I have captured him in many moods — being happy and playful, pensive and sad, just a cross section of life in the boarding. One image which, surely, must endure is his triumphs at Table Tennis in the boarding and his extreme modesty when he had won the tournament against fierce competition. In the 14th Colombo Scout Troop he was an inspiration. As a Choristor he was willing to put in the hours of practice to make it a success. As a School and hostel Prefect he earned the respect of the students and staff alike. Although his ashes were interred besides his parents in Melbourne his voice must echo in the corridors and classrooms of the school he loved in Karlshrue Gardens.

Cecil d'With Barbut was the prime mover in setting up the Australian OBU prior to Mr Oorloff's visit to Australia circa 1978. There were several others who helped to contact old boys for the inaugural meeting including Keith and Rodney De Kretser. The 4th Oakleigh-Monash Scout Hall in Keeley Park, Clayton, was chosen for the first meeting because Cecil was the GSM of that particular scout group.
Cecil remained an influential figure in the Union and remained its President for 11 years. Throughout his life he was close to Wesley and its past students.

In the 1970's without Government help the School needed financial support. Mr LA Fernando was Cecil's mentor at school. Cecil had a great affinity and an enduring love for Wesley. He contributed funds generously during those difficult days when Mr LA Fernando was the Vice Principal. This helped enormously to keep the school afloat. Institutions and people have short memories. I only wish the school will recognise his financial help when Wesley had fallen on hard times. Cecil made a tremendous contribution to the life of the school which I hope the old boys will recall and remember.

I spoke with him on the phone two years ago at the Nursing Home. His voice was feeble and his health was failing but he recognised me and we spoke briefly of the happy days of our youth. I am so pleased I was able to make contact with Cecil after so many years. Although he never complained I wish he had a better life at the end. Cecil indeed deserved better. He received good care at the Nightingale Nursing Care Centre in Negombo where he spent his final years. Cecil had a wonderful and supportive close family. They made certain Cecil received the best medical care and attention.

I will always remember Cecil as I saw him last, just 18 happy and smiling. He was singing lustily his favourite hymns and reading a lesson at the Maradana Methodist Church with great eloquence, panache and style.

He was proud of his family. Cecil will be missed by many who knew him but by none more than Arthur, Glenys, Kathleen and Gerald.

Of all the years of Bible reading and listening at Wesley two verses stand out "Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged!" and "Let Him Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone". These have remained good lessons for life for nearly two thousand years and will remain so for many thousand years to come. Yet, we have much to do to change attitudes and dissolve prejudice. I wish we can radiate back to Cecil his sense of forgiveness and generosity of spirit which he had in great abundance. Despite all this it is wonderful to know there are many who genuinely feel privileged they knew him.

Cecil will be remembered by those who knew him in his personal life for his positive outlook and ready smile. He died as he had lived, hoping that better times lay ahead. His woes are behind him and his journey is at an end. May his Soul Rest in Peace.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Rev R.Wilfrid Pile

Obituary 26/2/2012 - Age 96

Chaplain at Wesley College Colombo (1952-56)

Azahim Mohammed has kindly informed me of the passing of Rev RW Pile( age 96 years). Brian Mack and Azahim Mohammed attended the funeral ceremony at Dale Street Methodist Church, Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire.

Dear Wesleyites

It is with sadness that I have received this message from Rev Pile's daughter Jenny Moir informing the death of Rev Wilfred Pile Patron of Wesley College OBU UK..

 

Ora et Labora

Azahim Mohamed

An email from Jenny Moir:

Dear Azahim, Thank you and others for your kind thoughts and prayers.  You will be sad to hear that our father died on Monday 6th February.  He died quietly in his own bed at Homewood and my sister Dorothy was with him.  He was very tired and was ready to leave this life so it is a comfort to us to know that he is now at rest and at peace.  He was a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life and it is good to know that despite his long life there remain people like yourself who remember him as he was in his prime and who respect and value the life that he lived.

The funeral is to be at Dale Street Methodist Church, Leamington Spa, at mid day on Wednesday 22nd Feb - we do not of course expect you to attend but hope that if you can pass this information to those who knew him then perhaps your thoughts could be with us on that day.

With good wishes

  

Jenny

From the Editor:

Rev Wilfrid Pile was one of the Methodist Church’s best known and most gifted priests and Missionaries; as a preacher and Chaplain he had few equals, his pastoral skill was widely acknowledged. He will always be remembered by those Wesleyites and others who came to know him.

The Life and Times of a Great Man - The Reverend Wilfrid Pile

The script from the Double Blue Souvenir 1996

Born on 13th March 1915 passed away 6th February 2012

Rev Robert Wilfrid Pile, the only son of Robert Pile, and an active Methodist was born on 13th March 1915 in Plymouth Devon. He had his education at the Salisbury Road, Primary school Plymouth where he successfully obtained the school certificate at the age of fifteen. In 1931 at the beginning of his first year in the sixth form his father died after a short illness. As a result, he had no alternative but to leave school on the day of his father’s death in order to keep the family grocery business in operation.

In 1932 the grocery business was sold and he gained employment as a salesman in a furniture store for a short time. Thereafter, he joined local government service a s trainee inspector of weight and measures where he remained until he secured the post of Wages officer for the City engineers Department in 1936, a change which brought more remuneration though with limited prospects.

His father’s death resulted in a deepened personal Christian faith mediated through the fellowship of the Church and a call to the Ministry developed. In 1938 he entered Richmond College, Surrey which was formed part of London University as a Theological student. In 1942 due to the closure of Richmond College as a result of the commencement of war, he was transferred to Wesley house a part of the Cambridge University complex and graduated a year later having passed the London Bachelor of Divinity. In 1943 he was appointed as Assistant manager, East Ham Central Hall, London with responsibilities for youth work and officiating Chaplain RAF to crew of 60 Barrage Balloons.

He married on 28th December 1944 to Joan Select (who had served as a sister in the National Children home) in a small Methodist church on the outskirts of Plymouth.

In 1945 he moved with his young wife to Hunan, China as a missionary, where their first two daughters Dorothy and Jenny were born. A period of intensifying civil war from Kuok Min Tang to communist rule took place. His wife Joan returned to the UK with their two young daughters, leaving him behind under communist rule for a further period of fifteen months. On his return to the United Kingdom in 1950, he was based at the headquarters of the Methodist Missionary society in London, where his duties were to carry out deputation work and assist in the preparation of education material for the church, His daughter Hilary was born in September 1952.

He arrived with his wife and three daughters at Wesley College Colombo in October 1952 and had to share the bungalow occupied by the Principal Mr Cedric Orloff and his wife. He was the college Chaplin and taught such subjects as Christianity, English Language, English Literature and Philosophy in the sixth form, gently making us aware of the facts of life.

He revived the scouting movement and was Group Scout Master, he also, headed the Student Christian Movement activities in College. Dorothy and jenny attended the lower school for three years. He and his family left school in 1956 and moved to Wellawatte. He took up a position of Secretary to the All Ceylon Methodist Church. During his stay in Ceylon he also, was the officiating Chaplin to the RAF from 1953 to 1958 both at Katunayake and Colombo.

On his return to the UK. He was Secretary to the Methodist Society responsible for home affairs from 1958 to 1965 and SE Asia and Pacific from 1965 to 1973. He visited Ceylon in 1964 and again in 1969. His fourth and the youngest daughter was born in March 1959. From 1973 until his retirement in 1980 he was the superintendent Minister of the Cheltenham Methodist Circuit.
Rev Pile his dear wife Joan and eldest daughter Dorothy attended the 1996 Double Blue Ball as our Chief Guests.

Rev Pile was the Vice patron of the Wesley College OBU for many years and agreed to be the patron in November 2010, during the last ten years Rev. Pile  lived in a care home in Leamington Spa.

Rev Pile was 94 years, at the time of this death. Wesley OBU UK conveys our deepest sympathies to his family. May He Rest in Peace...Amen!

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Adrian Wickramaratne

Obituary - 25th March 2012

WICKRAMARATNE - ADRIAN (Vice-Patron Colombo H.A., former Secy. Ceylon Hockey Federation). Beloved husband of Carrol (staff - Logos College), son of the late Leslie & Dulcie Wickramaratne, loving father of Shane (Janashakthi Insurance), father-in-law of Charika and grand father of Selina, brother of Sarath, Kanthi and Rohan, brother-in-law of Visaka, A.C. De Silva, Anandi, Bryan, Fay and Fortune, expired. Remains lie at A.F. Raymonds Funeral Parlour. Cortege leaves at 4 pm on Monday 26th March for burial at Madampitiya Cemetery at 5 pm: 33/14, Albert Place, Medawelikada Road, Rajagiriya.

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera:

Adrian played hockey for the Wesley College 1st XI like his elder brother Sarath. He was a fine sportsman and a gentleman who contributed generously to the life of the school. He was a few years younger to me and remember him well coming to school with his brother all those years ago. I never met him since leaving school but Sarath always gave me information about Adrian that he was happily married and was leading a comfortable life.

Former Wesley Sports Star Adrian dies
Source: Daily News 26th March 2012
Former Wesley College sportsman and well known sports administrator in the 80s and 90s Adrian Wickremaratne died last Friday morning, aged 67 years.
Coming from a sporting family where his brothers Sarath and Rohan were also keen sportsmen, both at Wesley and at club level.
Adrian excelled at cricket and hockey. He was instrumental in the revival and running of the hockey section at Colts C.C. Where he also led the 'Daily News' cricket team in the 70s.
As a administrator, he was the Hony. Secretary of the Ceylon Hockey Federation, President of Colombo H.A. and Life-Member of Colombo H.A. He was also a first-class hockey umpire and officiated in matches at all levels, especially taking the game to the outstations.
Later he was in Sepak Takraw and managed their National Team for the World Cup in Malaysia in 1990 which incidentally was the first international tournament for the team.
He leaves behind his wife Carrol, son Shane, granddaughter Selina, brothers Sarath and Rohan and sister Kanthi.
The funeral will take place today at Madampitiya Cemetery at 5 pm.
May the turf lie light on him

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


Pete Mendis - In Memoriam

Photo of Pete Mendis

Wesley College Cricket Team 1947

(Standing): V. Dias, B. Perera, D. Vantwest, C. Bartholomeus, D. Ramanayake, N. Prins, N. Jayasundera and W. Mottau.

(Seated): P. Mendis, A. Ratnarajah, Rev. J. Cartman, Edmund Dissanayake (Captain), J. L. F. De Mel (Master), H. Matthysz and W. Abeywardene.

From the OBU-UK: It is with sadness that we received the news of the death of Peter Mendis the oldest Wesleyite in London. Peter’s last wish was to listen to the College song. Which the Old Boys Union (UK) was able to arrange. Azahim Mohamed represented the union at the funeral. We convey our deepest sympathies to the family.

From Nihal D Amerasekera: Pete contributed an article to the 125th Wesley College Souvenir written in his own inimitable style: I first came across his name in the OBUA when he wrote a message in the Guest Book. I tried to contact him but to no avail. He played cricket for the 1st XI team at Wesley in 1946 with Edmund Dissanayake when they beat Royal and St Thomas' in the same year. He was a true Blue Wesleyite all his life and followed the fortunes of the school with great interest and affection. We thank him for his contribution to the life of the school and the hostel and send our condolences to his family and friends.

We make our lives tiny diamonds in the cosmic sands

Links to further reading

125th Souvenir Editors Note: Pete A. Mendis apart from his keen interest in Cricket was also involved in many other activities of the school such as the Histographers Society, and was a rumbustious Hosteller, though pint sized! He is the only son of the Late Rev. George Mendis, a one time Chairman of the Methodist Synod. He is married and now lives in London, England

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Herman Claessen

Transcribed from an article by Elmo Rodrigopulle

Accident at Galle Road

Radley Claessen recalled the accident at Galle Road, when a drunken driver crashed onto the motor bike ridden by Bryan with Herman as the pillion rider. The brothers were returning after a late night show at the Regal when the accident occurred which killed Herman when he was just 18 and with a wonderful cricketing career ahead of him.

Herman was a clever left-arm spinner and was tagged the Ernie Toschak. Toschak was Australia’s number one left-arm leg-spinner at that time. His early demise took away a bowler who could have reached great heights.

Addendum by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Herman Claessen was a young all round cricketer who played for the 1st XI team in the 1955/56 cricket season. Herman impressed more as a bowler. He was a fine left arm-spin bowler and a very useful batsman. In that era of so many good spinners in schools he was up there with the best of them, if not the best. He was a tall bowler who had tremendous success in the games he played for Wesley. Herman had the spectators enthralled with his craft and guile. With his height he bowled faster than the usual left armers. A highly intelligent bowler, he was always ready to vary his bowling to suit the conditions and his opponents. Without that customary loop his variations and turn provided enough deception to mesmerise the batsmen. Yet his subtle variations of pace and spin never compromised his accuracy. As a batsman his strong physique generated awesome power, even with a short backlift. It was Senthil Sinniah (Cricket Captain 1960) who reminded me of a six Herman hit with a straight bat right on to the pavilion. What a talent and What a loss.

In the 1956 season:

H. G. Claessen ... 6 --59 Vs St. Thomas’
H. G. Claessen ... 5 --39 Vs Royal
H. G. Claessen ... 5 --116 Vs Kingswood ...
H. G. Claessen 5 --40 Vs Trinity
H. G. Claessen ... 6 --60 Vs St. Joseph’s

As both his brothers Radley and Bryan captained Wesley with great success a cricketing career in the same school was a difficult act to follow. But he did so with great style, dignity and confidence. Herman possesed that same grit, determination and skill as his elder brothers. He had a Brylcreemed look just like Radley.

He was a kind and friendly Wesleyite despite the adulation . I recall the funeral at the general Cemetary Kanatte which was attended by many school boys, teachers and cricketers. Mr LA Fernando lead the procession from Wesley College. Herman was sorely missed when he left our midst so young.

As we say for cricketers May the turf lay lightly on him.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Francis SCHOORMAN

Obituary January 2012 - Age 64

SCHOORMAN. - Franco. In loving memory of our dear brother Franco. Words cannot express our sadness and sense of loss now that you're gone, Now all is left are our questions and in our thoughts we wonder why. But brothers can never be parted, And we know our memories will never die. Forever in our hearts Loved brother of Dawn and Everard and friend and uncle to their families.

Fondly known as Frank, Who Passed away peacefully in Melbourne aged 64 years Devoted husband of Dorothy Loving father of Murray, Maryse and Shehan Cherished brother of Dawn, Brian (dec.) and Everard. We extend our sincere sympathies to the family, their relatives and friends.

A Memorial Service for Frank was held in Colombo.

Wesley Cricket Team 1st XI 1966

Standing :- Standing (L-R):O Jayasekera, E Melder, R Vethecan, E Gauder, S Fernando, N Akbar.

Seated :- N Seneviratne, F.Schoorman, M T Swangsa, Mr. A.S Wirasinha (Principal), A Thevathesan (capt.), E Dissanayke(Master-in-charge),
J Jayasekera, C De Alwis, B Batston

Memorial Service for Francis Schoorman by Lalith Wijesinghe

This is to inform all Wesleyites that a Memorial Service will be held on 31 March 2012 at 5.30pm at Christ Church, Galle Face, Kollupitiya for Francis Schoorman who passed away in Australia in January 2012. The Schoorman family members will be visiting Sri Lanka to attend this.

 Both Francis and Everard ( past captains) represented Wesley at Cricket.

 It will be appreciated if this message is passed on to those who knew and associated the Schoormans and past Wesley Cricketers.

Message from the Principal- Shanti McLelland

Francis was one a wonderful Wesleyite, remembered by many who enjoyed his company and great friendship. May he rest in peace and our prayers are for him at the General Assembly on Tuesday February 21st.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mrs. Dulcie De Mel

A Teacher at Wesley 1948-1984

Obituary - 23rd May 2012

Clarinda Trissette Dulcie De Mel : At Rest with Jesus (Retired Staff - Wesley College, Colombo). Beloved wife of the late Swinburne (Swiney), daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Andrew J. de Mel, precious mother of Suvendra and Swarna, Deepthi and Mahes, Sharmini and Karu, much loved grandmother of Srihan and Prasadika, Sajitha and Manesha, Dinuka, Mahiru and Sharuka, loving sister of Lita and of the late Iris, Edna and Esme. Cortege leaves residence at 2.00 p.m. on Wednesday 23rd May for Service at St. Luke’s Church, Borella at 3.00 p.m. Thereafter, Burial at General Cemetery, Borella at 4.00 p.m. (Anglican Section). 34/9,Watson Peiris Mawatha, Moratuwa.

A Tribute from Dr Nihal D Amerasekera:

I remember Mrs Dulcie De Mel as the Music Teacher in the Primary school at Wesley College. Her career spanned 5 decades and saw through the good times and bad and stayed on at Wesley until retirement. She never lost through those years her enormous enthusiasm for teaching music, her bubbling optimism and her unfailing sense of fun. She always wore a smile and was a pleasant kindly teacher. I will always remember her as a tall elegant lady who treated us kids with great kindness. She enriched our repertoire and inspired several generations of Wesleyites to sing and appreciate music. There was an air of resonant calm during her lessons which we all loved. Above all I will remember her for her evocative smile that lit up the busy day..

The shadow of your smile
When you have gone
Will color all our dreams
And light the dawn

GRANT HER O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


Capt Charles Selvakumar Gnanakone

From the Sri Lanka Sunday Observer 29/7/12

Obituary - 29th July 2012

Delivered to the hands of the Lord on Wednesday July 25th 2012 in Melbourne Australia. Beloved son of the late Vyramuttu Palanasan Gnanakone and Florence Arimalar (nee Chellappah), devoted husband to Ranee (Angeline nee Lawrence), loving father of Christina, Natalie and Valentine, fond father-in-law of Jeremy and Paul, and cherished grandpa of Luke, Zach and Caleb, adored brother to Jayantha, Suvi and Vasanth (all USA). Funeral in Melbourne on Monday 30 July for cremation. Forever in our hearts, safe in the arms of Jesus 37 Rutland Avenue Mount Eliza, Victoria Australia 3930 +613 97753102. A special thanksgiving service to celebrate the life of Capt. Charles Gnanakone will be held at the Methodist Memorial Church Boswell Place, Colombo-06. Sri Lanka on Monday 30th July 2012 at 5.30 p.m.

From Ranjit Aaron - New Zealand:

It was was with sadness that I read the Obituary of Charles Gnanakone in the Sunday Observer of 29th, July, 2012. Charles and I were class mates from Standard 3. We studied in the Tamil stream. We played cricket together with some other boys in the class. At the strike of the school bell at 12.00 Noon, indicating it was a lunch interval. We ran to Campbell park with our bat & cricket ball for a hurried game of cricket. Charles & I got on very well in school and were very close friends.He was a very mild in character and often volunteered his suit case to be used as the wickets. He carried his school books in a suit case, which was neatly covered in Kahaki material. On reaching form 1,  after the 1958 ethnic riots he left Wesley College to continue his schooling in Jaffna. Since his leaving school in 1958 I never got another opportunity to meet him.

May his soul rest in peace.

From Nihal D Amerasekera

I received the news of his demise with great sadness. Charles was a boarder at Wesley College and I remember him as a pretty fine student. He joined in the sports and the fun which was inherent in the hostel. He had an unmistakable loud squeaky voice. Charles was a good friend to all. I never met him after he left school and am told he joined a ship to be trained as a Captain. This he did and worked for many shipping companies with great success. Controversy followed him in later life but at school he was a respected boarder and a good friend to many.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


Abu Fuard - In Memoriam

Obituary July 2012 - Age 75

From The Nation Newspaper of 29th July 2012

Cricketer who opened doors for the lesser-privileged

One of the greatest off-spinners produced by Sri Lanka in the pre-Test era Abu Fuard passed away yesterday at Durdans Hospital at the age of 75. Recently Fuard suffered from breathing problems and was in and out of hospital before the final call came from his creator.

Fuard has not been in the best of health since he underwent a kidney operation in 1997 and was confined most of the time to bed at his residence at Fifth Lane. Colpetty. The strong drugs he took after the operation affected his eye sight and made him blind.

But even from his sick bed being the doughty fighter he was he fought for the betterment of Sri Lanka cricket until the end. Till his last breath he was looked after lovingly by his dutiful wife Fowzia who attended to all his needs.    
There was no role in cricket that Fuard had not fulfilled. He was a brilliant all-rounder opening the batting for his school Wesley College, clubs Moors SC, Colts and CCC and for his country Ceylon and bowled his heart out with his off-breaks that made him one of the finest spin bowlers produced by the country. He played for Wesley from 1951-54 and for Ceylon from 1956 to 1971 before getting into cricket administration in 1973. There he performed in the role of coach, manager, national selector (being chairman for three years) and curator, and was made a honorary Life Member of the CCC for the services he had rendered to the game.
“My entire career was fighting against severe odds,” Fuard once told The Nation in an interview. “I was fighting for the cause of the underprivileged. I used to always move with the underprivileged people and I used to enjoy their company not the whisky-soda fellows. I had no time for them.”

It was Fuard who broke the Royal-S Thomas’ monopoly at national team selections.
“If you ask me what has given me the greatest joy and happiness in my career I would say it is opening the doors for all the lesser affluent cricketers to play cricket. I gave them a place in the sun,” Fuard said. “Today when I listen to the cricket commentaries nothing gives me more joy than to hear the number of remote outstation cricketers playing for the national team. None will understand it because they don’t know what it is all about.”
In actual fact Fuard gave his life for cricket. He undertook the task to build the Asgiriya Stadium to fulfil one of the promises Sri Lanka had given to the ICC when they were granted Test status in 1981 to build the infrastructure and grounds and this exposed him to the dust which affected his kidneys.

It was Fuard who convinced the late Minister Gamini Dissanayake to become the president of Sri Lanka Cricket, a move which paved the way for Sri Lanka not only gaining Test status but also taking a great leap forward in the game.
Fuard was manager/coach of the 1975 World Cup team and assistant manager of the 1979 side when they became the first non-Test playing country to beat a full member country India. Under Fuard’s management Sri Lanka also won the under 19 Ali Bhutto trophy twice and beat England Under 19 to win the Agatha Christie trophy. In 1985 he was manager and coach when Sri Lanka recorded their maiden Test victory over India at the P Sara Oval in 1985 and also won their first Test series 1-0. The following year they beat Pakistan in a Test at the CCC and also won the Asia Cup.
Fuard and his brothers Ansar, Mohideen and Dr Harris followed in the footsteps of their father AM Fuard (who captained Wesley in 1915) and played cricket for Wesley in the fifties. Fuard left Wesley in unfortunate circumstances when he was deprived of the captaincy.
His funeral takes place at Kuppiyawatte Muslim Burial grounds at 9 am today. (ST)

From the Sri Lanka Times

Former Sri Lanka cricket player and administrator, Abu Fuard passed away yesterday. Regarded as was one of Asia’s best off-spinners, Fuard was 75-years-old when he passed away. He was known to be a brilliant all-rounder, opening the batting for Wesley College, Moors SC, Colts and CCC.

He represented Ceylon during a first-class career that spanned from 1956 to 1970. His off-breaks made him one of the top spinners produced during the early era. He played 19 first-class matches and claimed 51 wickets with career best figure of 6 for 31. As a batsman Fuard had scored 406 first-class runs in 32 innings. Fuard was well known as an efficient cricket administrator of Sri Lanka but during the recent years he was confined to his residence in Colombo due to his ailing health condition.

He played for Wesley from 1951-54 and for Ceylon from 1956 to 1971 before turning out as a cricket administration in 1973. Fuard then continued his love with cricket as coach, manager, national selector and curator. He headed the national selection committee at thrice occasions. He was manager cum coach of the Sri Lanka team that debuted the international stage in the 1975 World Cup. He also was the assistant manager of the 1979 team which finished fourth, beating India. Fuard was instrumental in convincing former BCCSL chairman Gamini Dissanayake, a UNP MP and a lawyer, to become its head. Dissanayake later helped Sri Lanka gain Test status in 1981 which gave Fuard an immense task of turning the Asgiriya cricket ground into an international cricket stadium. During the period of construction Fuard fell sick and later it was diagnosed as a kidney failure. He underwent two surgeries.

Just before he passed away he had difficulty in breathing. His janaza will take place at the Kuppiyawatte Muslin Burial Grounds at 9 am today.

"Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon"
From Him do we come and unto Him do we return"

Links to further reading

In Memoriam - Saybhan Samat

Obituary - 31st July 2012

From the Sunday Times 31st January 2010

Saybhan Samat is a musician different from many others in his trade. His band which calls itself ‘Saybhan and the Society Band’ plays a special brand of therapeutic music designed to provide relief to mental patients, sickly people, depressed prisoners, injured soldiers and alcoholics.

The band plays especially for children living in orphanages, residents in elder’s homes, school children and also at social occasions such as weddings and get together.

The band includes Louise Anandappa, daughter of the inimitable and immortal Gerry Crake herself a very talented musician, Roy De Silva, a very talented musician and a key board specialist and guitar specialist as well as the outstanding Darlen Perera on guitar and vocals.

Saybhan and the Society band : A 'revelation' in music by Karel Roberts Ratnaweera

Saybhan Samat needs no introduction to light music lovers in the island - but perhaps he needs a reintroduction to them and to a new audience; Saybhan, this time around, is using his talents as a musician in a good cause.

This of course does not by any means mean that his earlier music was not in a good cause. As an entertainer, his earlier dance band was top of the pops with those whose tripped the light fantastic.

But Saybhan is a deeply religious man; as a devout Muslim he disbanded his group, Saybhan and the Tempo and went into a period of contemplation that lasted for some years while all the while he was holding down a responsible job by which he looked after his wife and young family.

Now Saybhan is back - not to entertain partygoers but to bring some joy into the lives of those who do not party. He came back into this fresh field last year and is doing good work in his new chosen vocation.

In May 2001, he formed Saybhan and the Society Band - a clever name because it is not the kind of society he once entertained, although some may think his Tempo band has gone upmarket and is playing for high society! Saybhan and the Society Band play for the joy of society's marginalised folk - those in prisons, homes for the mentally depressed, sunshine homes and the like.

This turn of mind in Saybhan came like a flash from the Almighty he so fervently believes in, and he decided to try therapy through music to try to make life less dreary and less of a burden for these people.Since the formation of his new, conscience-raising band, Saybhan has accepted several invitations to play for the socially deprived, the sick, the depressed and the lonely clapped in prisons with little to look forward to. One such engagement was at the Sumithrayo Drug Demand Reduction Program at Mel Medura, Colombo 07.Last July the band played at a sing-along session at the Cancer Society gathering and at the Friend-in-Need Society in Kandy.

From June this year they have been featured every Poya morning to play at the Sumithrayo Drug Programme at Mel Medura.

Saybhan and his band provide musical therapy every two months at what is described as Sri Lanka's best-known Halfway House, Sahanaya. In July of this year, the group presented 'On Wings of Song,' part proceeds of which went to the oppressed people of Palestine - a cause very close to his heart. For this year, the band's engagements include playing at the 5th anniversary Sing Along of the 'Y' Men's Club at the BMICH in October.

Future plans include adding trumpets to the Society Band to give the authentic Latin sounds, while popularising Ricky Martin's singing style in Sri Lanka.Saybhan hopes to start work on an ambitious fusion of Arabic, Sinhala and Tamil music, with Western music as well, on the occasion of Women's Day to celebrate the birthday of the Lady Fatima. This will be at the BMICH.

The group will also be playing at Prison Day at Bogambara Prison Kandy, and at the Pallekelle Open Prison.

A one time member of the legendary Jetliners, Saybhan's new band comprises Johar Mustafa, who is a trained vocalist, Darlen Perera, (guitar), Azeeza Samat (organist and pianist) and Saybhan himself switching between clarinet and saxophone.

To commemorate the occasion of the Holy Prophet's Birthday, the group played at the Muslim Orphanage, Ratmalana.

Himself once a victim of depression, Saybhan attributes his recovery to his faith in his religion. 'Music,' he says,' can in some cases can do what medicine cannot.'

From Dallas Achilles

Saybhan was very much senior to us. He was with Mike Siebel in Thurstan and they both joined Wesley at the same time. They started Boxing together and he was Mike's sparring partner. They represented College at several Stubbs tournaments. My associaltion with Saybhan started post College days when he and Sam (Nihal Samarasinghe) invited me to join Sam the man,  & the Gaylords.  

From Rob via Victor Melder

This is very sad news indeed. I have always counted it a pleasure and a privilege to have known and played music alongside Saybhan Samat. He was truly one of nature's gentlemen, apart from being a supremely talented musician who specialised on clarinet and alto saxophone.

 I first made Saybhan's acquaintance in the mid-to-late 1960s soon after he and his then partner in music Nihal 'Sam the Man' Samarasinghe had left The Jetliners. Sam and Saybhan, as the duo were known, had made a name for themselves playing sax and clarinet in the style of Billy Vaughn and Acker Bilk. It was a huge thrill for me when the pair began playing for Leonard Francke's Manhattans dance band for which I used to play the piano accordion whenever either regular Manhattans pianist Arlene Peck couldn't make it or if a piano was not available at the gig venue.

 At the time I was in my late teens, still in school, and not a 'big name' muso, but Saybhan was always very generous to me while we were performing - ensuring that I was given a solo break during each number, indicating that it was my turn with a brief nod of his head after he and Sam had finished their duet. Occasionally Saybhan - without Sam - would toot his 'licorice stick' alongside me in another band, The Cuban Combo, that used to provide music almost exclusively at Muslim weddings, engagements, and even circumcision parties.

 While 'taking five' between brackets, Saybhan and I would enjoy chatting together. It was during those conversations with the softly-spoken Saybhan that I discovered his intelligence, shyness, gentle humour, and decency as a human being. 

 Later, I would say hello to Saybhan whenever I met him in Sri Saranankara Road, Dehiwela - where he lived - when I was visiting friends whose home was along the same road.

 Saybhan's passing is a huge loss to the Sri Lankan music community past and present. May he Rest in Peace with his Maker.

From Dr.Nihal D Amerasekera:

Saybahn Samat: SSC - 1956, College Boxing Team 1953-57, Boxing Colours 1955, College Rugger Team 56-57,

Spencer Hardy Scholarship for the best student in Form III - 1954

Saybhan Samat was a boxer at Wesley and a good one, during the successful LV Jayaweera(Coach) era. After leaving school he took up a career in popular music playing the saxophone and the clarinet for Sam The Man and also the Jetliners. He enjoyed much success in the music scene and was greatly respected by the Malay community for his charitable work.

Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon
From Him do we come and unto Him do we return


In Memoriam - Rev Christie (ACH) Rosa

Obituary 18th August 2012

Reverend A.C.H Rosa Loving husband of late Joyce, beloved father of Christine and Suren, Priyadharshini and Kumudhini, devoted grandfather of Chrishan, Romesh, Sanjeev & Mari, Sabreena, Jasmine & Jehan, adoring great grandfather of Andreo, brother of late Margie, late Cecil, late Beryl and late Sumana, passed away peacefully into the Arms of Jesus. Remains lie at A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour, thereafter will be removed to Methodist Church, Chapel Lane, Wellawatte at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday 11th August. Service at 3.30 p.m. on same day followed by cremation at General Cemetery, Borella at 5.30 p.m.

A Tribute by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Rev Christie Rosa was an old boy of Wesley College and hailed from the Methodist enclave of Kurana Katunayake. A total renovation of the Kurana Katunayake church was effected in 1962 for the Diamond Jubilee of the church. This was held during the time of Rev. A. Christie Rosa. The whole project of renovation was steered under his supervision. He will indeed be fondly remembered at Kurana Katunayake for his efforts and the wonderful outcome.

I remember him from my days in the Hostel when I attended the Methodist Church at Maradana where he preached. Small of stature and rarely without a mischievous twinkle in his eye he was a brilliant teacher. He had all the gifts necessary for a Minister– warmth, friendliness, caring and fun combined with the devotional seriousness of a priest in the Methodist tradition. His approach to the Bible was essentially conservative, though he was open to new, sophisticated interpretations of the scriptural text. As kids we loved his sermons. The stories were full of true life situations and we were enthralled by his interesting narrations. He had a brilliant, alert and inquiring mind and was an outstanding investigator of the New Testament.. His clever stories, exemplary storytelling, sharp humour enthralled a generation of hostellers particularly in the 1950's and 60's. We thank him for his services to the Methodist Ministry and Wesley College.

Rev. Fr. A.C.H. Rosa by Rev Premasiri Fernando

A servant of the Lord

The Rev. Fr. Alfred Christopher Henricus Rosa who hailed from Kurana in Katunayake was born in the year 1922 and was brought up and nurtured in a home where the spirit of Methodism was strong. He was the second in a family of three sisters and two brothers and was found to be a brilliant student at Wesley College, Colombo where he had his initial education.

After passing the Junior and Senior Cambridge Examinations he offered himself to the Ministry and proceeded to the Theological College at Bangalore in India, where he obtained a second class in the Bachelor of Divinity from the Serampore University. After service at the City Mission as well as in the Kandy circuits he went to the United States of America for higher studies and read for his Master of Arts Degree in the University of Colombia in New York.

The reverend father's down-to-earth unpretentious and humble bearings enabled people to relate to him, and his realism and willingness to talk about what really matters brought help to many people in times of need. His sense of humor came across in both pastoral work and preachings. Blessed with a high level of intelligence and academic ability, he nevertheless had a gift for making profound truths simple. At the same time he also took a keen interest in ecumenical and inter-faith matters.

He married Joyce Vimalawathie Chinniah in 1951 and enjoyed 36 years of marriage and family life. They were blessed with three daughters, Christine, Priyadharshini and Kumudhini. His wife Joyce was a source of strength for his pastoral ministry. Though quiet in nature, Joyce was a caring and faithful wife till she passed away in 1986. All their three children are married happily and Rev. Christie Rosa found great delight to be with his grandchildren and great grandson.

Rev. Rosa was a brilliant preacher both in the Sinhala and English languages. Sometimes people from even Moratuwa came to listen to his sermons in Colombo. Young people loved to hear him preaching and teaching at youth camps and seminars. He was well-versed in socialist literature, and had a passion for social justice.

He preached several times on the special May Day services conducted by the Christian Workers' Fellowship. He derived much from Karl Barth and a Dietrich Bonheoffer who were his favourite theologians. He felt strongly that politic concerns went hand-in-hand with his belief that the 'Good news of God's love and justice' is for all, and his preachings were given a freshness and realism due to his every day engagement with people.

He enlightened his congregations by his thoughtful expository preachings, moved them by his reverent administration of Holy Communion and consoled them in days of adversity and sorrow by his calm reverent presence and wise counsel. He was a loving husband, a caring father and grandfather. He was first and foremost 'A people's person', very approachable and with a great sense of humour.

Christie Rosa's life and work were deeply rooted in his faith in Christ, always trusting the One who sustained him through many different experiences. He kept up his reading and had an alert mind almost till his very end. He stunned the Methodist Conference with his wide knowledge of world affairs, and biblical scholarship. People listened to him with rapt attention. He captivated the audience with his characteristic style of speaking. His favourite hymn was 'Be Thou My Vision' and he sang with passion. He enjoyed singing John and Charles Welsey's hymns. He worked in the circuits of the City Mission of Kandy, Kalmunai, Maradana-Colombo South, Kurana, Badulla, Moratumulla and Mount Lavinia.

Rev. Rosa was not concerned much about church politics of his day. He was elected as the Deputy Secretary of International Peace Conference whose Headquarters was in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He travelled to many countries preaching the 'Good News of Jesus Christ'. Like John Wesley he could have said the 'The world was my parish'. After retirement he came to settle down in Nugegoda.

He was not building up churches but was building up people. His preaching was biblical and touched many people. He was a good colleague, a wise counsellor, a friend and a servant of the Lord. Whatever happened over the years, he knew that God was in control. He never worried about the future because he knew his life was in God's hand. He firmly believed that there was something far more wonderful beyond this life.

This great servant of the Lord passed in that faith on August 9, 2012 in his 89th year and after serving 64 years in the Ministry of the Lord. We thank God for his life and service. The words of St. Paul aptly suits him;

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - PRINS - Nathaniel "Natty" James
Obituary 11th September 2012 Age 84

Natty Passed away peacefully On Aug. 26, 2012 Aged 84 years Loved husband of Margot (nee Cameron). Dearly loved father of Elaine, Colin and Tina. Rest In Peace. We extend our sincere sympathy to the family and friends.

An Appreciation of Natty Prins by Gerald de Zilwa, 31 August 2012. 

Friends –

We have come together to give thanks to God and to celebrate the life and times of our dear friend Nathaniel James Prins, known to us all as “Natty”. He was once described as a tall, dark and handsome guy with a mischievous smile lingering on his face. Oftimes he was ready, willing and able to participate in any daredevil activity that challenged him.

His early education was at Arethusa School in Colombo and his secondary education at Wesley College. He was first a day scholar and then became a boarder and lived in the school’s dormitory. He participated in many of the activities of the school, both indoors and outdoors. He took to sports keenly, playing cricket and hockey for Wesley. He was a house captain and a school prefect. As a boarder at Wesley he was confined within the school boundaries. This was hard during the weekends. Sunday offered an opportunity to explore the world and walk with friends down a long road that led to the Methodist church. Here there was music, people and girls, and God was so good. Some of his contemporaries at Wesley were Harold Matthysz, Norman de la Harpe, Harold van den Driesen, Harry Tytler, Harry de Vos, Brian Nagel, myself and many others.

He was employed as an administrator of the Lady Lahore Charity Fund and was of assistance to many people. After some time he became a Manager of the Trust Fund and served them well.
He was also a member of the Burgher Recreation Club (BRC) in Colombo and played cricket and hockey for the Club. Some of his contemporaries there were Hugh Aldons, Vivian de Kretser and Ken Joachim. There were many social activities at the club and Natty supported them. He loved people, popular music and dancing.
In the course of events he was the Best Man at our wedding.
He later met and married Margot Cameron and migrated to Melbourne in 1967. They enjoyed a happy married life for 47 years and had two lovely children, Elaine and Colin.

In Melbourne he worked for Australia Post and later joined the Public Service and served n the Education Department. He enjoyed his work there and made many friends. He was able to maintain those friendships even after he retired.
He was also a member of the Wesley College OBU and supported them by attending functions whenever he was able to do so. The spirit of those meetings and luncheons was warm and friendly and Natty always enlivened the atmosphere and joined Harry de Vos’s group in lustily singing many songs, especially the “Band of Double Blue”.
As the Melbourne summers became warm and the temperature high and climbing, there was a need for coolants and what better than a refreshing cold beer at the Waltzing Matilda. There were a few friends who sometimes felt the same need.   At other times he worked in the garden and sometimes played golf.
He unfortunately met with a motor accident which set him back quite a bit. He became quite ill and never fully recovered. On medical advice he was sent to a nursing home where he spent a few years and was cared for lovingly till the end came.
And it is now with a sense of sadness that the time has come to say goodbye to a sincere old friend. May his soul rest in peace.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Wilbert (The Ground Boy) By The Cricket Master

Added 13th Sept. 2012

Wilbert joined the Ground Staff of Wesley College in 1920, at the age of 15 years. He served the School devotedly for 48 years, until at the age of 63, because of feeble health he retired from service. He passed away on the 23rd of April 1968.
Wilbert's greatest problem was how to fend for his family of live. The good father that he was, he endeavoured to provide the bare necessities for his family by sacrificing his mid-day meal. How many are aware that he often partook of only a plain cup of tea at lunch-time? He was greatly devoted to his Children. It is fitting that in 1967, he had the satisfaction of seeing his Son pass the G. C. E. "0" level (science) with five credit passes.
Cricketers who passed through Wesley, had the highest regard for Wilber t. He had a good knowledge of the game; he would even suggest the composition of the team, and very often, his opinion was shared by the authorities too. Umpires Who came to the Wesley Ground were full of praise for Wilbert's accurate marking of lines. Really it was not necessary for any Umpire to check that aspect before a match.
Wilbert had great faith in Wesley. At death's door he told his wife that she need not worry about his funeral expenses, for Wesley would not fail him. Indeed the Old Boys of Wesley have rallied round magnificently by, launching a Fund to help his family of five. By the end of December 1968, the Fund had realized Rs. 2686/80.
Wilbert's devotion to duty, integrity, loyalty, sense of responsibility and quiet efficiency, are unparalleled. Men of his calibre are very rare indeed.

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha


The Death of Mr. C. V. Honter

Added 13th Sept 2012

From the Wesley College archives
We regret to announce the sudden death of Mr. C. V. Honter, Our Headmaster, on March 10th. Mr. Honter continued his work until Friday evening and appeared in his normal state of health. But he was taken ill suddenly on Saturday evening and passed away with startling suddenness. There was no school on Monday, as a mark of respect. At the opening assembly next day, the Principal, who was I deeply moved and seemed to feel the blow very keenly, referred to the loss the College had sustained and paid a high tribute to the life and work of Mr. Honter.
The funeral took place at Kanatte Cemetery on Sunday evening March 11th. The Principal conducted a short service at the residence in Karlsruhe Gardens and officiated, along with the Rev. A. E. Restarick at the graveside, where the Maradana  Church Choir led the singing. The funeral was largely attended by Old Boys, present boys and  friends, and numerous wreaths were placed on the grave.
The Principal, the Rev. A. Hutchinson, conducted the Memorial Service which was held in the College Hall on Sunday morning, March 18th. The Vice Principal. Mr. Dalby read the lesson in the Hall

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mr. S. S. Silva (The Lab Boy)

Added 14/9/2012

From the Wesley College Archives

One must have great endurance to do the same job for several years in succession, lf it is a job which calls for little work and more pleasure it is still more difficult. That was the job of Mr. S. S. Silva one time lab-boy had. Mr. S Silva had served Wesley College for more than fifty years. During these years he had been  loyal and devoted to the college. He retired only when his physique broke down.  A number of eminent men of Wesley had gone through during his time. The first Ceylonese Governor of Ceylon, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke was one of them. Mr.Silva proudly remembers those day even now.
It is a great pity that such a devoted lab-boy would stand near the college gate everyday waiting for the lunch interval to collect the leftover meals of boys for his sustenance. The College pays him gratia allowance of Rs. 25/- per month.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Silva are sick I hope the old boys of Wesley College  and  wellwishers will come to know about the diffuculties of Mr. S. S. Silva through this article  and whatever possible will be done by them.
(Silva passed away in June 1969
)

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

This caricature of Silva was drawn by MB Wickramasinghe for the 1958 School magazine. MBW went on to complete an honours degree in Zoology at the University of Ceylon.

Physics Silva was part of the physics scene since I joined. He wore thick-rimmed small circular spectacles. He brought his ancient bicycle to work every morning and looked after it like a Rolls Royce. He rode it like a circus clown - pretty upright and in straight lines. Silva parked his bicycle just outside the lab and sometimes inside. He had a foul temper and would have frightened even the boldest. By the time I used the labs in the 6th form he was ancient like the equipment but he took great care of the stuff in the lab which was fit only for the scrap heap. He was a kind man and helpful when doing the Physics practicals. He was one of the few in the school who knew how to use the infamous "post office box" used in practicals. No one can fault his dedication to duty and his loyalty to the school.

I have the greatest respect for the support staff at Wesley during my years at school. It is unlikely any of them are alive today.

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha


In Memoriam - Mervyn Pieris

Obituary 20th September 2012

PEIRIS - MERVYN (Founder and Chairman of Mervynsons (Pvt) Ltd. Loving father of Nihal, Ravi and Jayantha (all in UK). Cortege leaves A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour on Saturday 22nd September at 4.30 p.m. for Cremation at General Cemetery Kanatte at 5 p.m. 

From Keith de Kretser

Dear Friends of Wesley

 

 I wish to inform you of the sad news of the passing last morning in Colombo of Mervyn Peiris or Uncle Mervyn to many of the younger generation of Wesleyites who knew him. He was a much loved gentleman respected by many, a proud Wesleyite who served Wesley in various capacities long after he passed through as a student. A most gracious, generous and gentle person who would willingly help anyone in need.

 His funeral is on Saturday in Sri Lanka and his remains will be at Raymond’s Funeral parlour from Friday. On behalf of the OBUA and the fraternal brotherhood of Wesleyites the world over we extend our sympathies to his family, especially his sons Nihal and Ravi both Old Wesleyites at this sad time. May his soul rest in peace.

 Ora et labora

 May he have Eternal Peace


In Memoriam - Julian Douglas Claessen

Obituary 15th September 2012 - Age 87

CLAESSEN. - Julian Douglas (Doug)LL.B (Lond.) LL.M (Sydney)Retired Liquor LicensingCourt Magistrate24.6.1925 - 15.9.2012Best friend and devoted husband of Verna for 62 years.Loving father of Rohan, father and friend of Yolande and Phil, father and father-in-law of Jerome and Victoria.Proud grandfather of Zjaan and Tait (dec.), Esme, Nicholas, Matthew, Elizabeth and Patrick, and adored great grandfather of Jude.Much loved brother of Mabel, Hector, Bryan and Herman(all dec.) and forever remembered by his brother Radley, and their families.

From Keith De Kretser

Dear Wesleyites

 It is with regret that I inform you of the passing of Douglas Claessen one of the famous Claessen brothers who were distinguished Old Wesleyites. Radley is now the only surviving brother and he lives in Adelaide .

 On behalf of the OBUA and the Wesley brotherhood world wide we express our condolences to the family and friends at this difficult time.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Rev S Ariyaratnam (Aria)

27th September 2012

Chaplain to the Bishop of the CSI Jaffna Diocese - Passed away on the 25th of September. He is the son of the late Mr N.P. Sivasubramaniam formerly of the House of Representatives and the late Mrs Enid Sivasubramaniam of Wesley College, loving husband of Jayanthi (nee Jesudas) and beloved father of Andrew (London) and Priya (HSBC). He is survived by his brothers in Sydney, P. Sivasubramaniam, S. Purushothamar (Kuchchi), Illatharasan (Kuruni), Chevanayagam Sivasubramaniam (Patta), (Manila Philipines) and Yogendran Sivasubramaniam (Bokka). Funeral arrangements as follows : Viewing at A.F. Raymond’s Borella on Friday 28th of September from 08.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. and will continue at 08.30 a.m. on Saturday 29th at the CSI Church No. 17, Frances Road, Wellawatte. The Funeral Service will commence at 3.00 p.m. Cortege will leave at 4.30 p.m. for Burial at General Cemetery Kanatte (General Christian Section).

From Keith De Kretser :

Dear Wesleyites

 It is with regret that I inform you of the passing of Rev S Ariaratnam(old Wesleyite) son of the late Mrs Enid Sivasubramaniam and loved brother of Ponna, Kuchchi, Kuruni and Patta who were all Wesleyites and Bokka( a Royalist). The OBUA and the fraternal brotherhood extend sympathies and prayers to his family at this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace.

 Ora et Labora

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - - John Christie

Obituary - 4th October 2012

(From Carson Cumberbatch), son of the late Reginald and Vivienne, son-in-law of the late Francis and Benedicta, dearly beloved husband of Anna (Ex. Staff Stassen Exports), beloved father of Gayani and Richard (Tetran), beloved father-in-law of Dineth Ratnayake (Haycarb), much loved grandfather of Vinuki and Chemal, beloved brother of late Reginald and of Peter, Kenneth, Mahes, Yoges and Rachel, beloved brother-in-law of the late Lulas and Josephine Tavarayan and of Tibet and Burnley Rodrigo Mutupulle, Shanthi, Terrence Alles and Reginald Rodrigopulle. Cortege leaves 56-20/1, Puwakwatte Lane , Hendala, Wattala at 3.30 p.m. on Wednesday 3rd October for burial at General Cemetery Kanatte, Borella (Roman Catholic Section)

From Keith De Kretser

Dear Wesleyites
 Once again it is my sad duty to inform you of the passing of John Christie, brother of Wesley cricketing character Peter Christie in Colombo The OBUA and  the Wesley fraternity extend our sympathies and prayers to his family and friends at this time. May his soul rest in peace.
 Ora et Labora

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Dharmaratne Kodituwakku

Obituary - 05/12/2012

A Tribute to Kodda by Senthil Sinniah

A thoroughly decent human being.

It was only two months ago, that I was talking and reminiscing of our schooldays with dear Kodda-----at the re-union dinner and Eighty Club. To-day, Kodda has gone to a better place. Needless to say, I was devastated when LCR rang to give me the sad news. I still am devastated.
Kodda and I played cricket for the U16 and U19 teams (1956-60). He was the Vice Captain 1960 and captained the team in 1961. He also played hockey for college and was the Head Prefect in 1961. He was always a fiercely loyal team member. He had no malice in him, kind and gentle but with a quiet authority. I found his humour very infectious. He loved his family and doted on his two grand-children.
I want to end by sharing this poem with you all.

Farewell my Friend

It was beautiful,as long as it lasted---the journey of my life.
I have no regrets, whatsoever, save the pain I'll leave behind.
Those dear hearts, who loved and cared for me.......
And the strings pulling at my heart and soul.......
The strong arms that held me up, when my own strength let me down.
At every turning of my life, I came across good friends,
Friends who stood by me--even when the time raced me by,
Farewell, farewell, my friends---- I smile and bid you good-bye.
No, shed no tears, for I need them not--- all I need is your smile.
If you feel sad, do think of me, for thats what i'll like.
When you live in the hearts of those you love,
Remember them---you never die.


The last time I spoke to Kodda was on the morning of September, 10th-----just as I was leaving the hotel to go to the airport, to catch my flight back to England. He wished me a safe journey----typical Kodda.

Farewell, my friend, May you Rest in Peace.

Prefects 1960/61 sent by Dallas Achilles

Back row L to R: Dallas Achilles, Dalkin Samidon, MH Marrikar, Harold De Alwis Jayasinghe, Rohan Wijesinghe, Milroy Bulner, TS Wanigatunge

Seated L to R: Daya Perera, Mr PH Nonis, D Kodituwakku (Senior Prefect), AC Wijetilleke, Mr LA Fernando, Sheriff Fallil

From Lalith Wijesinghe

Yesterday evening a sombre farewell was given to our dear friend Dharmaratne Kodithuwakku ( Kodda ) by his family and friends.
 The  monsoon weather prevailing in Colombo held up to enable the funeral formalities to be concluded without interruption.
  
The mortal remains of Kodda were cremated at the General Cemetery,Kanatte at 6.00pm amidst a large representative gathering. A  funeral service as per Buddhist customs was held at his Rajagiriya home prior to departure to Kanatte. The Prefects of Wesley College, were in attendance beside the bier in the home.
 The Pall bearers were members of his family and friends from Wesley which included several former Wesley Cricketers who were his team mates.  A short funeral oration was made by his grand daughter as a concluding event.  This is a very brief account of  the very simple but touching  formalities which took place yesterday when we gathered to pay our respects to Kodda who left this world in a  very unexpected and abrupt manner.  We will miss seeing his familiar tall frame at Wesley events in future.He was a very fiercely loyal  Wesleyite.  May he attain eternal peace.

From Afghar Mohideen

I was not able to be present to bid farewell to Kodda yesterday as I am in London  and will return after the cruise only on 21 dec. When Kodda captained college I was in the fourth form and only knew him as a tall smart cricket captain and admired him for his cricketing prowess whenever I watched a college match and of course he was also head cop.
I only got to know him closely in the last few years when I meet him at the various get togethers organized by you where we all had  a good time and listened to his good humor all over a few  drinks from the golden waters of Scotland
May his soul rest in peace and attain nibbana

From Bill Deutrom

It certainly is a sad day for Wesley and for all of us who had the pleasure of knowing Kodda. I missed being in his team, but watching him from the sidelines, one could  not help being impressed with his leadership and style. He will be sorely missed at the gatherings and I am grateful that Lalith organised the great reunion where we could meet our heroes and fellow cricketers and classmates. Kodda was a hero to all those who knew him and we are grateful for his contribution to Wesley and for the friendship he had with so many Wesleyites. May he rest in peace.

D. Kodituwakku Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

I first came to know Dharmaratne Kodituwakku when I joined Wesley in 1950. He was a year ahead of me and in Standard 3 with Mr Bharathasinghe. He was tall for his age and stood out as a gentle but a determined student.  “Kodda’s “ parents owned a furniture shop in Maradana which I think was called Albert and Company, 615 Maradana Road, Colombo 10. He had two younger brothers and a brother elder to him who sadly died tragically in the Kelani Ganga in Kaduwela while still in the Primary school at Wesley.

Academia never impressed him. 'Kodda' came into prominence as a cricketer from an early age and rose to become the Cricket Captain of the 1st XI team in 1961.  He was quiet, thoughtful and tactically astute and also a man of exemplary modesty and integrity.  Behind his unaffected modesty lay a stern determination and ambition . Kodda handled his team with skill, style and success. He had little taste for publicity, and his team mates admired his thoughtful, methodical approach which brought good results on the field. As a leader he was a great motivator. As a wicket keeper and batsman he blended artistry with pragmatism, a rare talent for a schoolboy. For a wicket keeper one may say he was too tall but he did a damn good job behind the stumps. There were more eye-catching batsmen in the team but there was a fluency and flow to his play which gave us confidence. Above all he was unfailingly good-humoured and friendly on and off the field. 'Kodda' batted superlatively to score 151 against Kingswood in 1960 when Wesley made 348 runs in the 1st Innings. In 1961 he made 103 runs against Carey College and the school amassed a massive 353 for 5. Kodda was the captain of the team when Errol Smith Scored a brilliant 199 against Richmond at the Esplanade in Galle and Wesley reached a total of 361. That was indeed a fine year for cricket at Wesley.

His annus mirabilis was in 1961 when Dharmaratne Kodituwakku became the Senior Prefect of the school and also Captained the 1st XI Cricket Team.  As the Senior Prefect he earned the respect of his teachers and students alike. As a teenager I respected him enormously and admired his authority, humour, gentleness and firmness. He was a young man with a strong sense of fair play. In the manner he carried out his duties as the Head Prefect he brought dignity to the entire Prefects Guild. His fellow Prefects paid him glowing tributes when they heard the sad news of his demise.

After leaving school he spent many years in Scotland finally returning to Sri Lanka in his retirement. With his characteristic enthusiasm, Kodda remained a perennial presence at the OWSC at the gathering of friends returning from overseas. The warmth of the reception he received at the Club speaks volumes for his popularity. One often got the impression he never spiritually left Wesley. Although he wasn't into school politics he had firm opinions and his views were inevitably delivered with charm and a twinkle in the eye. Kodda was not afraid to speak his mind and believed in the more traditional values of impartiality and integrity. It was an environment in which he felt comfortable . Mostly, as a reserved and essentially kind and thoughtful man, he disliked causing offence. He remained hugely popular and greatly admired. His warmth and enthusiasm gave him significant powers of persuasion.

Kodda was omni-present at the last Great Reunion of September 2012 when I had the wonderful privilege to catch up with him. He walked upto me and asked “ ND can you remember me?" That was the extent of his modesty. Who wouldn’t have known the Cricket captain and Senior Prefect?? With a glass in hand he was a live wire at Senthil Sinniah’s dinner at the 80 Club and that was the last time I saw him. Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives.

Kodda was lively, happy, confident and uncomplicated and retained a great loyalty to Wesley College. Thus his natural buoyancy and optimism were easily sustained. He led a life that was far from empty. He was respected and held in great affection by the Worldwide brotherhood of Wesleyites both for his personal qualities and his unassuming but substantial contributions to school life. His defining characteristic was his concern for others. He was able to reflect with great satisfaction his many years of cricket at Wesley. His comments that those were "some of the best years of his life" still ring in my ears.

His health has been a matter of contention for a few years. It raised eyebrows, but he continued to live life the way he wanted. Kodda's final illness, however, came as a shock to everyone. It was sudden as it was quick. Although Dharmaratne Kodituwakku is no more he lives in the minds of all who knew him. As for me I will always remember his sincerity, modesty and his charming friendly smile. Who can forget his warmth as a human being and the generosity with which he assumed and carried his fame. He will be long remembered at Wesley as a generous man with a big heart and an Icon of his time.

The love of his family and friends remained with him to the end.

As we say for cricketers "May the turf lay lightly on him"

Annicavata Sankhara , Uppada vaya Dhammino
Uppajjitva Nirujjhanti – tesam Vupasamo Sukko.
Transient alas are all Component things
Subject are they to birth – and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away

The Buddha


In Memoriam - Christopher Gillmary BOWLES

Obituary 9th November 2012 - Age 57


BOWLES. - Christopher Gillmary Passed away on Nov. 9, 2012 As a result of a small plane accident. Aged 57 years. Incredibly loving husband of Donna and most perfect father of Ryan and Jordan. Family and friends from all over are welcome to join us to celebrate Chris's life, that touched and changed so many, in the Christian City Church, 5 Queensbury Ave, Currumbin, on SATURDAY (Nov. 17) commencing at 10 a.m. (Qld.) and 11 a.m. (N.S.W.). Followed by a Private Burial

Dear Wesleyites

It is with regret that I inform you of the passing of Chris Bowles known to many of us as Gilmory. He died under tragic circumstances and I attach a message from his sister informing friends of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they mourn his loss. Gilmory was a classmate and fine chap. He recently attended the Class of 68 – 72 Re-union.

 Below is the message from his sister: Kathy Kunz(Nee Bowles)

 Dear Friends,

I lost my best friend, mentor and brother Chris Bowles at 10.20 am Aussie time on the 9th yesterday Friday in Lismore(NSW) in an aviation accident . He was with his best mate and instructor flying as they always do for pleasure when his plane went down suddenly. We are yet to know the circumstances and will not know for a long time. He was in Ceylon with his beautiful wife to attend the Wesley College Celebrations and I am glad that he was able to meet all his school friends for the last time. He had a wonderful time back home and we were planning a family holiday around Sept. of 2014.

He leaves behind his wife Donna of 29 years , and two sons Ryan 23 and Jordon turning 20 in a months time . We are shattered and trying to make sense of all this and know that God has his hand on us and will carry us through at this terrible time. Would appreciate if someone out there would let Roger Koch know so that all his friends are notified .

Emails and messages have been pouring in so if I do not' reply promptly it  is because I am so shattered but will get  back to each and everyone of you at a later date. We thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers and appreciate that at this stage that we are allowed to grieve in private. If I have missed out on sending this to someone , please accept my apologies and trust that this will be passed on by one of you .

 As always and with love and gods gracious blessings
 
Kathy Kunz(Nee Bowles)

Lest we Forget

 Keith de Kretser

From Braden Koch

Dear friends.
Most of you may already be aware... that unfortunately, one of our batchmates [Chris Gillmary Bowles], is no longer with us. He left this world as a result of tragic plane crash in lismore last friday [9/11]. his funeral is on saturday [17/11] in curumbin, gold coast. Chris [and his wife Donna] attended the ‘Wesley - Class of 68-72 ReUnion’ on 15/9 [in colombo] and is present in many of the photos.
  I was in absolute shock & filled with emotion & extreme sadness when i received the tragic news [from keith dek]. My immediate reaction was... someone please tell me that this is NOT true. but unfortunately I then received an email from Kathy [his sis] that confirmed the sad news.
  I used to mix with chris & his siblings in Sydney during the early 70s. We were family friends as well. our families lived in Nawala, in the 60s. we travelled together sometimes by bus & sometimes in my dads mini minor. We then lost contact for 30+ years but the Wesley Reunion brought us back together again. Chris loved cars & was fondly referred to as the CAR NUT. He later chose to Christen his own business with the same name.
  I am so glad that i was able to bring this Reunion to his attention/notice personally. This was more by a chance/fortunate meeting rather than good management. i was so happy that Chris chose to attend & participate. He was not in the early email loops, but he did not take offence. he received very short notice, but he simply jumped at the idea [to my surprise] & made an immediate commitment to attend. That was great support indeed, and that was the character of the gentleman !!!. Chris & donna also made a very generous $$$ contribution towards the school hall project.
  Chris [and donna] certainly enjoyed all the Re-Union Celebrations & they took back many many wonderful memories. it was clearly evident that he was having a great time. they were so happy to have participated, and explained it as one of the best times of their lives. I cannot count the number of times that chris & donna thanked me [personally] for having invited/informed them of this event. they were also very appreciative of roger koch assistance with all their SL travel arrangements.
  Yes it was a wonderful & memorable day for all of us, and chris was so happy to have had the opportunity to meet many of his friends/batchmates again. Chris was nervous that most would not remember him, but he was washed away by the emotion, camaraderie, and the euphoria of the day. We take some comfort that he was able to share in that glorious day with all his friends/batchmates before his departure from this world. such is life !!!
  Chris was a wonderful, decent, humble, gentlemen. I became close to Chris & Donna during the re-union planning, and we also spent a lot of time together at the functions in SL. I will treasure those special moments. Chris shared with me the tremendous support he had received from Donna over the years & also how happy & proud he was of his 2 boys. he was enjoying the fruits of his labour & was looking forward to retirement. We had many common interests & we planned on meeting regularly into the future. Unfortunately, this will not happen with chris, but I will continue to support & comfort the family in whatever way I can.
Chris has now left us forever... but we will continue to remember him with fondness & love !!!
Goodbye my Friend... Thanks for the Super Memories... Rest In Peace.
  Trust this will also serve as a warning for those of us who take life for granted. Life is obviously very precious and we must try to make the most of each moment of every day. Time just passes by....
  Note:  It was great news to hear that our ‘Wesley - Class of 68-72’ will be represented at the funeral by our local brisbane old boys Carlyle WP, Chris Harvie, and others. good on you guys. chris funeral will be held on the gold coast, Queensland [1000 km from sydney, 2000 km from melb].

When we are in need of comfort
We walk down memory lane,
There we see your smiling face
We talk with you again,
And as we wander slowly back
We seem to hear you say
Don't grieve. don't worry my friend
We'll meet again some day.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mervyn Hamer

Obituary 19th January 2013 - Aged 68 years

HAMER - MERVYN JOSEPH. - Beloved husband of Claudette, daring father of Jo Anne Asirwatham, Chester Hamer (Late) & Allyson Melwani, Brother of Russell & Granville Hamer, father-in-law of Rowan, Petra & Bharat, loving grand-father of Megan, Rachel, Julianne, Ronan, Daniel & Sarah, passed away. Remains lie at A.F. Raymond's Funeral Parlour, Borella. Cortege leaves the Parlour at 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday 22nd January, Cremation at General Cemetery Kanatte at 4.00 p.m. 017634

The photos were kindly sent to me by Mervyn's daughter Jo Ann Asirwatham

 

Mervyn Hamer Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Mervyn Hamer passed away peacefully at the age of 68 after a prolonged illness. Smart and fair-haired, Mervyn came from a family of Wesleyites. His father was an old Boy of Wesley and a respected cricket umpire and charismatic Soccer referee. Mervyn was the brother of former All Ceylon wicket-keeper batsman Russell and also of Granville who was a fine cricketer in his own right. So Mervyn had a natural buoyancy and optimism as he came from a family well-rehearsed in the challenges and disciplines of sporting success. Great things were therefore expected of Mervyn and he lived up to it.

At Wesley I remember him as a friendly and affable junior with a captivating twinkle in his conversation. Mervyn was entranced and fascinated by cricket since his early childhood. He was an aggressive and stylish left hand opening batsman with plenty of natural talent. His first instinct was to attack. At his best Mervyn could make any attack seem ordinary. Perhaps his finest moment at the crease was when he scored a career-best 232 against Kingswood College at Randles Hill in 1964. He carried his boyish enthusiasm for the game well into maturity. Mervyn played for the Burgher Recreation Club (BRC), Nomads and the Maharaja Organisation. Mervyn was a man of boundless zest. His easygoing, genial ways made him a popular figure in the players' dressing room. He must have had some wonderful memories of his golden years of cricket for school and clubs. It seems, sadly, a football injury that forced him to give up competitive cricket, the game he loved so much.

Latterly his health seemed to fail. Mervyn's many friends worldwide gave him their support and most generously. To each of them he wrote personally showing his gratitude and appreciation. Throughout his life he remained a popular lad and a loyal Wesleyite reminiscing his schooldays with great nostalgia. Mervyn had strong support from his close family all through his long illness. He earned the respect of all who knew him and all who cared for him. He showed much courage and resilience right to the very end and left this world with great dignity.

As we say for cricketers May the turf lay lightly on him

From LCR Wijesinghe

I regret to inform you that Mervyn Hamer passed away last night. He was ailing for quite a long time. His body will lie at AF Raymond's parlour from 2 pm onwards commencing today. The cremation/burial will take place either on Monday 21 Jan or Tuesday 22 Jan. It is sad that many past Wesleyites and Cricketers of our vintage are leaving us one by one.

Mervyn Hamer an old boy Wesley cannot forget By Peter Casie Chetty
Mervyn Joseph Hamer is someone I have to thank for whatever I did since a dull day in February 1964 brought me the headlines in the national newspapers two days “running”. The papers described us as being a combination that would be the downfall of many school-boy batsmen. He was the brains in the combine.
His flat baggy Australian style cap at a cocky angle “Salmon” as Mervyn was called would walk; take his stance then belt a lot of new balls past and over ropes. He was stylish and what people did not understand was that he was an “instinct batsman” and his way of playing could not be curbed in any way. Coaches and captains from other schools seemed to have worked him out; after all he was part of the school cricket first XI team from 1961. Somehow he did not make the hundreds everyone expected him to do for that was what his talent should have provided.
He joined Wesley midway in 1957 – sat with Robin Riemers, Bashu Musafer, cousin Tony Musafer, Bill Deutrom, Layton Vanderput, and Joe Gunasekera a.k.a “Goluwa”. Mervyn was at home at Campbell Park throughout the year representing the cricket, the soccer and even the rugby team. He was a “must” to include and never let anyone down.
In 1963 I was the youngest of the team led by Milroy Muthuvaloe. In those days the seniors and juniors did not mix. We formed two blocks and Mervyn was our link. He did what he could to welcome us and was re-assuring when the dreaded “rag” was about to come about after the Saturday night dinner at Chinese Restaurant at Ward street. Although younger than the other seniors he was instrumental in seeing that everything went without too much incident and when I returned shivering from the cold showers he was the first one to see if all was “aw rite”.
I felt that moving to the lower sixth I moved up the ladder socially speaking. I was now a friend of the gang that had Bill Deutrom, the late Robin Perera and Mervyn Hamer. I spent a lot of time in the library irritating the poor librarian. Mervyn would then shoo me down. Billy was involved but as all three were prefects I had to take the cosh once in a while. If ever they caught me late to school, I was reported. No favours then. I missed out sitting in the 1964 photograph because I said out loud “Amen” when ‘Walking Bible’ de Saram was praying like a chugging slow train with his arms outspread for everyone and everything. I had not completed some Sinhalese homework and each minute wasted on the prayer meant I was going to be found out by “Ravula” Felix Premawardena. That would have been “torture by pinch”. Mervyn glared at my irreverence and later I was summoned to the prefects guild and “given the works”… by my friends. This lesson is not about a betrayal but about fairness. I did wrong and no matter what or who I was; I had to answer.

Mervyn left school and was employed as were many other good cricketers by the local authorities having to represent them at cricket. There he wasted his talent – in fact all those who represented Nomads CC did then. It was the employment. Sportsmen with less talent and qualifications were employed as “creepers” with knowledge that they would be planters and run their estates. But the tight knit family they were, Granville and his two older sons chose the Municipality. Chances of getting to the top were minimal and when that episode was over they joined another company where success was equally compromised.
I visited Mervyn in hospital when his health started to deteriorate. Seeing the sturdy man turn to a skeleton I appealed to the Old Boys and there was limited response sadly. It seems that many people had forgotten that the school song talks about; “past and present kindly meet, each the other proudly greet- fraternal bands”. Were these just only words?
My friendship with Mervyn Hamer continued after his illness worsened and it was heart rendering to see him or even get news of him. I last visited him in July 2012. He did not limber up any more. He was in shorts and his legs showed more bones than muscle. But he was cheery and chirpy. He swore he was on the mend and I believed him. He had a few less teeth than he had before but his smile and his crackling laugh was still evident. I planned to get him a ticket for the dinner so he could meet all those cricketers who were there before and with him. I called him once and he was delighted that many of Wesley’s iconic cricketers had taken the time to visit him. It was just so simple to please the man and I was happy for him. Then I got his daughter Jo-Anne’s emotional message to say “Dad died today”…..
Gone… Brian Claessen, Abu Fuard, Lou Adhihetty, Nalendra Abeysuriya, Upali Samararatne, Daya Koddithuwakku, Robin Reimers, Rodney Perera, Tyrone Maye, Daya Koddithuwakku, Francis Schoorman, Donald Thurairatnam and now Mervyn Hamer… Wesley will never ever forget these names. They are star dust; they are golden.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - P.S. Rodrigo

Obituary - 11th February 2013

Priyalal Senaka Rodrigo beloved husband of Ranjini (Lalitha), Youngest son of the late Mudliyar and Mrs. J.A.V. Rodrigo, brother of Surangani, Nalini, the late Carmini and of Vimal (UK), expired. Cortege leaves A.F. Raymonds’ Funeral Parlour on Sunday 10th February 2013 at 10.30 a.m. Cremation at General Cemetery, Borella at 11.00 a.m.  

P.S Rodrigo Remembered by Rohan (RL) Wijesinghe 

I got to know ‘PS” at Wesley College mainly through playing badminton. He was once our captain. Together with my two brothers and I, we formed the Wesley College Badminton Team. Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe was the Master in Charge. PS was also a Tennis and Table Tennis player of no mean repute and with the knowledge and experience from all three racquet games he had superior court craft and experience. Nimal, my elder brother, PS and I played the three Singles matches in inter-college tournaments while I partnered him in doubles and my two brothers, Nimal and Prasan formed the other doubles pair.

In those early years (1957-58) when Badminton was considered a new competitive sport, our school did not have adequate funding to promote inter-collage tournaments. But a few years before, those who were interested in the game had been able to get permission to use the college hall to play the game. When tournament play began the team usually with the help of a minor staff person had to clear the space in the hall, sweep and set up the court for play.  Although much of our energy was already spent we managed to do fairly well in these tournaments.

In 1958 both PS and I entered the YMCA Novices Badminton Tournament. PS was seed No.2 while I was unseeded.  I had an extremely good run and by defeating several seeded players I reached the finals and faced PS for the crown. It was an all Wesley Finals. Mr. Edmund Dissanaike, Prefect of games and Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe graced us with their presence. Before the match they spoke to PS and me and encouraged us to play our best and show everyone what “Wesley College” is made of. PS was confident as he was a superior player and I tried hard to find a way of defeating him. The entire gymnasium was full of people for the event. Then I remembered that PS’s only weakness was that he is a crowd pleaser. As I was in very good form I let PS win the first set by allowing him to dominate and play all manner of exhibition shots. Very soon, he had the entire crowd cheering for him. But he was getting tired quickly. I won the other two sets easily. Being a true sportsman he was magnanimous and gracious in defeat. Such is the spirit of a true sportsman. That tournament helped us form a strong bond of friendship and mutual respect.

Daya Perera, Sarath Wickramaratna, Lakshman Jayasinghe and I were in the sixth form science medium and PS pursued studies in the Commerce medium. Daya, Sarath, Lakshman and I had already become close friends and PS was introduced to this circle and we then called ourselves the “Big 5.” Sarath, Daya and PS being residents of Colombo shared an interest in the entertainment and social life Colombo offered. I cherish the fun and friendship we shared as good friends. PS was fun loving, light hearted and enjoyed life. PS had a wide circle of friends and was quite popular because of his excellence in other racquet sports as well.. PS also had a reputation playing the card game Bridge and later participated in the National Bridge Championships.

I met PS again in 2006 when I visited Sri Lanka. He still had his easy going, fun loving nature about him.  Distance of sea and land and years had not diminished a warm bond of friendship I had with PS. His mischievous laughter continues to ring in my head even now.
I salute PS as a good friend and as a sportsman of no mean repute!

From Nimal Wijesinghe - Former Badminton Captain at Wesley - in the late 1950s

PS was a fun-loving person. As I recall, PS was more a Tennis player than a Badminton player but his skill with racquet games enabled him to give a good account of himself at Tennis, Badminton and Table Tennis.
 
I know that PS was excited with Rock n' Roll music (Rock around the clock/Jailhouse Rock/etc.) when it hit the charts! The piece that really got PS going was 'Giddy-up a ding dong'!

 
I met PS once after College days. That was in the Survey Department building in Narahenpita. PS suddenly appeared from one of the halls and I was surprised to see PS there as he was to see me. He had stepped out for a change of scene after a game of Bridge. He was participating in the National Bridge Tournament which was being held at the Survey Department building. I do not know if PS and his partner won the tournament, but PS appeared to be quite enjoying himself.

Post Script: Nimal Wijesinghe was a popular student at Wesley in the 1950's and captained the school badminton team with success. He has retired from a successful and rewarding career related to Oceanography. Quite early, Nimal found the faith that would transform his life. With his brother Rohan, they were stalwarts of the school Student Christian Movement. He is now a lay preacher and lives in Glenmavis, Airdrie, Scotland. Rohan is a retired Pastor in Toronto Canada. Nimal, Rohan and I have been friends since 1950 when we 1st joined the school and travelled daily by train from Nugegoda to Baseline Road. ----- The editor NDA

PS Rodrigo remembered by Lalith (LCR) Wijesinghe

P.S. Rodrigo known as “P.S”  to all of us was at least 2 years my “senior” at Wesley.
He was an extremely talented  allround sportsman  and excelled at Badminton and Tennis and would have reached National  standards in the former if he  pursued it with intent.

My association with him commenced whilst playing Cricket for Wesley. “P.S” was a member of the 1st XI Cricket Team of 1959 Captained by Nalendra Abeysuriya where I too played as a “fresher” in the majority of the fixtures. I recall him being a very enthusiastic , focussed and determined  cricketer. He was a right arm leg spinner and right hand batsman who wielded a straight bat.

“P.S”  played in the team more for his bowling and fielding rather than his batting. I must  confess that fielding was his special talent ,specially close – in having pulled off many a stunning catch in more than one College cricket match at his favourite position of “gully”. Uncanny anticipation in the field was a special trait he possessed.

The  cricket match where he and I played against Richmond in 1959 at the Galle Esplanade ( now a Test Cricket Venue)  was one which P.S. had great  success with his right arm leg spin and googlies capturing 3 or 4 wickets. The Richmondite batsmen could not “pick “ his googly and were completely bamboozled.Two incidents which occurred  during this outing  are indelibly imprinted  in my memory. One was how Upali Samararatne who was the Vice-Captain   was “hit” by a Richmond batsman’s bat off P.S’s bowling whilst keeping wickets close up, and was concussed.

The other was how most of the cricketers in the team  shared  some fun at P.S’s expense in exploiting his “ over enthusiasm” regards his special performance at the match. This event took place at the dinner hosted by Dr Abeysuriya (Nalendra’s Father) at his elegant home in Galle. The seniors conspired to present a  “bogus” trophy to “P.S” for his performance at the match with the connivance of Dr Abeysuriya.  After the dinner  “ P.S” was presented this “ bogus” trophy to the concealed amusement of everyone present ,except ‘P.S” who was oblivious to everything ,being  still “ up in the clouds”, bowled over by his own performance.
Later in his life, “ P.S.” became an excellent Contract Bridge player and was a member of the National Team for several years.

I am happy that I was able to “reconnect” with “P.S. “ after my college days on account of the “Cricketers Reunion” held last year. I was in regular contact with him by letter and telephone for a period of over 8 months. Since falling ill he was  quite  optimistic of his condition and informed me that he was on the road to recovery. Alas it was not to be.  From a very affluent family background “ P.S.” has had his share of misfortunes. He faced them with courage and was looked  after by a devoted and  dutiful wife.

“P.S.” was a loyal Wesleyite. We have lost yet another past cricketer from our vintage before he could run the full race.
May he rest in peace.

 
 

1958 School Tennis Team       

Seated LtoR: PS Rodrigo, Mr PH Nonis, Mr C Yesudian, N Abeysuriya

Standing L to R: Sheriff Fallil, RB(Rex) De Silva, Senthil Sinniah

1958 School Badminton Team

Standing LtoR: Rohan Wijesinghe, Farouk Sikkander, SK Seneviratne, Fahmy Sikkander

Seated LtoR: Nimal Wijesinghe, Mr PH Nonis, PS Rodrigo (Capt), Mr Lanerolle, Mr Wilfred Wickramasinghe (Master in Charge)

1958 1st XI Cricket Team

Standing LtoR: Senthil Sinniah, PS Rodrigo, R Athukorala, Kabir Ismail, Neville Perera, Olkie Edema, D Kodituwakku, A Palihakkara, M Bulner, BS Batuwitage

Seared LtoR: Warwick De Kretser, Upali Samararatne, Mr PH Nonis, N Abeysuriya, Mr Lanerolle, Mr Fred De Mel, SM Rajasingham

A Tribute by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera:

PS Rodrigo joined Wesley in the middle school in the mid 1950's. That was the golden decade of sports at Wesley. He soon became a popular student being a fine badminton, table tennis and tennis player. With his fine coordination, agility and quick movement he was a master of the racquet games. He was a dauntingly formidable opponent whatever game he played. He realised while at school what an exceptional talent he possessed. PS together with the Wijesinghe brothers, Nimal and Rohan, the school had a fine badminton team. He captained the Badminton Team in 1958 and made a significant contribution. The unmistakable elegance, panache and style with which he played the game became his hallmark. PS Rodrigo anticipated well and seemed to sense the speed and trajectory of the shuttle faster than most players. They won many coveted trophies for the school including the YMCA Championship Tournament. They performed superbly in the ever popular and fiercely competitive inter school games with much success. Many appreciated his wisdom and commitment to the sport. PS was a talented tennis player with fine technique and a full range of powerful strokes. Tennis is a confrontational, duelling sport for which he was well suited. He remained the best player in the school until he left. . He was quick around the court and volleyed well. For a tennis player PS wasn't tall but he had quick reactions and represented the school with much success. PS played for the 1st XI cricket team as a wily leg spinner in 1958 and 59. In all his pursuits he was extravagantly gifted and flamboyant sometimes to the extreme.

Photo- PS Rodrigo at the school assembly Sept 2012 - with Senthil Sinniah

PS Rodrigo came from an affluent background and retained an air of confidence. He was proud of his talents and spoke out without fear. Disappointment and failure never entered his mind. He lived in 27, Pendennis Avenue, Colpetty and cycled to school with Sheriff Fallil.. Like all sportsmen he enjoyed the celebrity cult status at school but managed to keep his feet on the ground, well, most of the time!! He wasn't impressed with academia but his passion for sport grew during his time at Wesley. We remember him as an affable and loyal friend with an omnipresent boyish grin. Although reserved,, we treasured his dry surreal sense of humour. I can still smile when I remember his sly mischievousness when we met in the long corridors of Wesley College in the good old days.

He had a circle of close friends (the gang of five) at Wesley including Daya Perera, Rohan Wijesinghe, Lakshman(LS) Jayasinghe and Sarath Wickramaratne. They were inseparable. PS Rodrigo's forthright opinions added much spice to life. He gave full vent to his teenage passions in those distant days. PS loved the good life. Music, dancing and partying was never far away from his thoughts. With his cheerful disposition he was a delightful person, just great fun to be with and became part of the fabric of life at school.

After leaving school, sadly, our paths never crossed and I never met him. He remained enviably fit into his seventies and was never tired of tennis which was his first love. From time to time I have read on the internet his success in Tennis and National Bridge Championships, the last being his games for the SLTA Inter Club Tennis Championship for the over 55's in 2010. PS was in the Sri Lankan Bridge team that played Tamil Nadu in October 2002 held in Chennai, India. I sincerely hope he has had a good and rewarding life.

He wasn't free of the storms of life. Due to events beyond his control he moved from the Metropolis to suburbia in Kelaniya. PS remained an inveterate biker all his life cycling to work from Kelaniya to Colombo all through the mayhem of heavy traffic until his health failed. At school and after leaving Wesley he remained close to Sarath Wickramaratne.

Displaying his customary spirit he arrived back at Wesley for the Great Reunion of September 2012. Many of us were so pleased to see PS. For me seeing him after 50 years was a blast from the past. He showed courage, loyalty and love for his alma mater when he walked up to receive his award for his contribution as a sportsman. His presence at the assembly despite his debilitating illness and walking up the steps with a stick he won the affection of everyone who had gathered there. PS Rodrigo received the award amidst much cheering and a generous applause. On the stage he seemed to bid farewell to everyone there. The greatest accolade is to be recognised and remembered by one's own schoolmates. He was a much loved and valued friend and we will all miss his smiling face, his kindness and his warm friendship. PS was so much a part of life at Wesley his voice and laughter must swirl in the ether of the classrooms and corridors of the school.

Now he is free of the pain and burden of life

May he find Eternal Peace


 In Memoriam - Suresh Nithiyananthan

Obituary - 21st May 2013

We are sad to inform the sudden and untimely death of old boy Suresh Nithiyananthan who passed away on Saturday night. Suresh played hockey for College and was a key contributor during the construction of the OWSC building around the carriage. He was also a Vice President of the OWSC not so long ago. His remains lie at his residence No. 24/3, Charlemont Road, Wellawatta. Cortege leaving residence at 12noon on Wednesday 22nd May for Cremation at General Cemetery, Borella (Hindu Section) at 2.00pm.

Former Wesley Hockey Player Suresh Nithyananthan no more by Jeremy Brohie

As the sun began to rise on Sunday the 19th Of May 2013, the shocking news on the demise of our dear friend Suresh Nithyananthan began to filter amongst the old boy fraternity of Wesley College.
Shocked and in a state of daze as we were it was indeed a day of sadness amongst his close friends who associated with him since his school days and thereafter. Suresh who was better known as “Niththi” was a very passionate old boy who loved his school as much as anyone did. He was a very popular hosteller and a superb hockey player who belonged to an era of some of Wesley’s finest hockey players as well as great champion teams. He was also good athlete excelling in the short distance events. Suresh played an integral part in the affairs of the the Wesley College OBU and was a Vice President of the OWSC some years. Since the Old Wesleyites Sports Club was revived in 1990 Suresh has been involved with the club participating in many of its projects. Recalling the years when Suresh was fully involved with the Sports Club he use to always be there when the call was sounded for any of its events. In 1994 an ambitious project to build a club house was undertaken by a committee of dedicated past Wesleyites. With barely any funds in the kitty, Suresh the philanthropist that he was readily agreed to do the electrical work of the entire complex free of charge. That was Niththi, a man who gave his heart for his school. In fact that was one of the many contributions he made towards his alma mater. More interestingly he even created history by being the only Wesleyite to celebrate his daughter’s wedding by hosting a reception at the Old Wesleyites Sports Club.
Niththi who enjoyed life to the fullest was always game to have fun at any time.  Remembering his wife and him to be champion baila dancers there was a time when he and his wife were requested to be judges at College Dances just to ensure that they did not participate since they almost won every baila competition. Strangely enough Niththi breathed his last while on the dance floor at a function last Saturday and knowing him he would be only too happy to leave this world that way.
Suresh leaves his loving wife Claudette who was always there by his side, his two daughters Megan and Sesha, his son in law Shatrugan and granddaughter Navyarare.

As the busy world is hushed and his work on earth is complete may Niththi’s Soul Rest in Peace
“Friends are forever; you might loose them but never forget them”. Wesleyites will miss their good friend Niththi.

Dreams drift away like leaves on the water.
They roll down the river and slip out of sight.
Too many times we do what we ought.
Put off 'til tomorrow what we'd really rather do tonight,
And later realize:

Time passes by, people pass on.
At the drop of a tear, they're gone.
Let's do what we dare, do what we like,
And love while we're here before time passes by.

May he find Eternal Peace


In Memoriam - Harold Matthysz

Passed away 5th July 2013 Age 84

MATTHYSZ. Harold Lloyd Amos Passed away peacefully on July 5, 2013 Aged 84 years Loving husband to Esther. Father to Christine and Michael. Grandpa to Reece, Katrina, Christiaan, Danielle, Charmaine, Jesse, Rhiannon (dec. ) and cherished brother to Maurice and Winifred. The long day closes. The Funeral Service for Mr Harold Lloyd Amos Matthysz will be held in the Le Pine Chapel, 388 Springvale Rd, (cnr Waverley Rd), Glen Waverley on FRIDAY (July 12, 2013) at 2.30 p. m. A Private Cremation will follow No flowers by family request. Donations to the Cancer Council would be appreciated.


Remembered by Keith De Kretser

It is with regret that I inform you of the passing away of Harold Matthysz after a brief illness. He was an all-round sporting legend in the late 1940's. An elegant batsman, a skilful wicket keeper and a great athlete who was successful in many Public School Athletic meets. He won the discus, javelin and pole vault in 1947 and Captained the Wesley College Athletics team in 1948. But he truly shone as a cricketer. In 1948 he Captained the 1st XI and scored a century against Royal that year. "Had he not migrated in 1949 to Australia he would have represented Ceylon" say Norman de la Harpe a dear friend of Harold's since school days.

Harold was an Engineer by profession and was married to Esther and had two children - a daughter Christine and a son Michael. He had a distinguished career as a Freemason and was President of the Ceylon Masons in Australia Association. I was his Secretary on the Committee and succeeded him as President. During this period when we served on the Committee we exchanged many anecdotes of our experiences at Wesley even though we were from different generations. His peers always spoke of his sporting prowess but Harold's humility kept his achievements under wraps. His sister Winifred also attended Wesley when she was a young girl and later married a Wesleyite the late Lt Col. Roy de Zilwa.

Harold was a simple man of simple faith. He was unpretentious and did not seek the trappings of wealth but was a gentle, genuine, sincere and caring person.

As time moves on we have seen in recent times the demise of many Wesleyites who have left an indelible memory of their ability be it in Mart or Hall or with Bat and Ball as a legacy for future generations.

We extend our condolences and prayers to Esther and the family at the loss of their loved one.

A wonderful innings has come to an end. Farewell Harold and may you have eternal rest.

From the archives - by ND Amerasekera

It permeated through to succeeding captains, from Harold Matthysz (1947 - 48); W.P.S. Abeywardene (1949); Derek Mack (1950- 51); Radley Claessen (1952) and then Bryan Claessen in 1953, when Wesley remained unbeaten - Bryan Claessen

Some of the 1947 players flit into mind like Harold Matthysz, D.T.Ramanayake, Piyasiri Abeyewardene, Vivil Dias, Denis Van Twest, Clive Bartholomeusz, Natty Prins, and Orville Mottau- of course there were others too who played their part for Wesley.

Many recall Edmund stepping down from Captaincy to give Harold Matthysz a chance.

In 1946, in the match between Royal and Wesley, Harold Matthysz of Wesley was given out to a catch that went off his boot. Mahes Rodrigo the Royal skipper, recalled Harold to the wicket. Shortly after, Mahes played for All-Ceylon.

In athletics, while still schoolboys Mohamed Sheriff, Harold Matthysz and Ian Campbell, competing with the cream of Ceylon's athletes, secured Ceylon titles in long jump, the javelin throw and high jump events, respectively.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mr Dunstan Fernando

Obituary July 2013

FERNANDO - WILLIAM DUNSTAN MERVYN -Former Principal, Wesley College, Carey College and Sri Palee College, former Vice President, Methodist Church. Beloved husband of Chinthamani, eldest son of the late John (J.D. Fernando) and Mary, precious father of Dhilanthi and Shanta, Devinda and Dushyanthi, Maheshini and Rajitha, Kavindha and Dishni, loving grandfather of Charith, Devaka and Kalinka, Amali and Perry, Dishara, Shenara, Rashika and Andre, Savindri, Deshan, Mithran, great grandfather of Baby Nayomi, brother of Dorothy, Muriel, Joyce, Leslie, Eileen, Gladys, Clarence - all at rest with Jesus - and Ranjit, brother-in-law of late Quintus, Shelton, Preethi, late Dudley, Terrence, Anna and Nyantha. Viewing at Wesley College Chapel on Wednesday, 10th July, 1-6 p.m. and at Kollupitiya Methodist Church on Thursday, 11th July, 10 a.m. onwards, to be followed by a service of Thanksgiving at 2.30 p.m. at Kollupitiya Methodist Church. Burial at Moratumulla Methodist Church Cemetery at 5 p.m.

Donations may be made in memory of Mr. Dunstan Fernando to the Wesley College Scholarship Fund. Mailing address for correspondence c/o Mrs. Dunstan Fernando, 35, Devananda Road, Navinna,

Links to further reading

Dunstan Fernando was Principal at Sri Palee College Horana

Reformer Specialist Principal - Mr. Dunstan Fernando

From the Sri Palee College website

Principal Mr. Dunstan Fernando certainly created a bright and a dignified “change” to Sri Palee’s outlook. Mrs. Fernando was a western music teacher and infused western music to Sri Palee students in such a smooth manner, there was no negative feedback but a positive appreciation right through. Her piano classes were very popular among the girls and she conducted the sessions in an inherited passion for western music. She saw to it that Sri Palee concerts were catered with a contribution of western music.

Mr. Fernando as a principal had the authority but he never threw the authority back at students but displayed rich quality and magnitude of his education. He had been a principal of few schools before coming over to Sri Palee.

He organized sports activities in a more methodical manner. He introduced a batch of prefects to Sri Palee in 1957. The first batch of Prefects at Sri Palee was a very novel experience for prefects, students and the teachers. It was a simple supervision exercise to infuse discipline and the behavior among the student population of the school. It too introduced basics of leadership building and strategies for supervision. The experience gained as a prefect in the student period will certainly act as a catalyst in your adult and professional life. I am ever grateful to Mr. Dunstan Fernando and other teachers for selecting me to be among the first batch of prefects. I can certainly confirm that this background helped me in my personal and professional life to attain more goals.

The unique way Mr. Fernando conducted English and Mathematics was with an unusual motivational package. Let me tell a long story in short : Mr. Fernando will write out a mathematical problem in the blackboard and request students to try the problem individually in their books. If anyone completes the excercise, you have to put up your hand to show that you have completed it. Then he will come to your table, check the working step by step – and if it is right : proclaim in loud voice “Amaratunga has done it! – Anyone Else ? Anyone Else?”. And he will wait for another student to answer. All the students are now working hard to complete the problem. Afterwards, he will work out the problem in the blackboard and complete a successful mathematical session. This motivation outlook was unique for us at that time.

Mr. Fernando was always attired in a light cream coloured suit, and was one of the well attired personalities at Sri Palee in that era. I can remember he had two kids and used to travel up and down in a Hilman Car. He introduced the basics of public speaking – by ice breaker exercise in arranging the prefects to speak in the morning at the school assembly / ”upasanaya”. Sir you have done an immense contribution for Sri Palee at large. In your period, education at Sri Palee was never dry. All students recall this as a bright period. Thank you very much.

In mid 2008, couple of us (old boys) had the fortune of visiting Mr. & Mrs. Fernando at their Lunawa Residence for the birthday party of Mr. Dunstan Fernando.

Dr. Jayaratne, Janaka Kumara, Gamini Jayasundara, Ranjith Senanayake and myself had an enjoyable evening as Mrs. Fernando introduced us to the other old pupils from different schools and their family members. We cut out a fine figure among the “other students” as we had a team from Sri Palee. Mr. Dunstan Fernando took several minutes to recall our names after Mrs. Fernando’s several clues. Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Fernando. Both of you are in our precious memory.

Mr.Dunstan Fernando by Nihal Alwis

Dunstan Fernando was one of our teachers during the 1950s at Richmond College. He married Chinthamani who studied at Southlands, Galle and taught at Southlands during the time my sister Viola was teaching when the Principal was Miss Ridge. Dunstan Fernando, I remember him as a teacher who was a very strict disciplinarian and I vividly remember him punishing and reprimanding my elder brother Elmo who always opted to defy orders which he thought was unreasonable and unfair. It was the time we had drill on the grounds and the commander was a teacher whom we had nicknamed ‘Patholaya’ - Mr. Perera. Dunstan Fernando supervised it to ensure that none were ‘fudging’. He spotted my brother wearing a cap and he ordered him in a loud tone “Elmo de Alwis remove the cap”. He was stubborn and defied his orders. Dunstan Fernando came up to him addressed him in a stern tone and removed Elmo’s cap and placed it on the ground. As soon as Dunstan Fernando reached his original position along side Mr. Perera, Elmo wore his cap again. It happened twice and Dunstan Fernando was naturally furious and my brother was hauled up before the Principal, F.R. de Silva and he was meted out the normal punishment.
He also did not tolerate unpunctuality and several of us suffered the consequences. The most erratic was my very close friend and classmate Ranjan Rajawasan who was ordered out of the class. However, though Dunstan Fernando did his best to instill punctuality he succeeded with many but failed miserably where Ranjan Rajawasan was concerned.

Another point of his was singing and training students in Drama and Singing which he did succeed ably supported by the then Vice Principal Shelton Wirasinghe, Vincent Goonewardena, our English Teacher Miss Grace Batholameusz and my sister who was teaching at that time - Fidelia better known as Mrs. Jayawardane.

Dunstan Fernando was always neatly attired with a tie to match the shirt and trouser and had a very commanding voice. Though he was strict, he was a very kind and lovable character. He never harbored any anger or grudges and was explicit in whatever he said and was candid in whatever he had to say. He loved and enjoyed singing and training the choir. His voice was a very strong and I felt he had a good “base” voice and a baritone too.

He had an ambition of becoming Vice Principal at Richmond when Shelton Wirasinghe succeeded E.R. de Silva as Principal. Unfortunately, he missed it and he was disappointed. That disappointment led him to leave Richmond and join Sri Pali, Horana as Principal. I suppose he decided to take this step as he was also growing old and did make this decision in his best interest in pursuing his teaching career. His achievements as Principal of Carey College and lastly at Wesley College nonetheless proved that he would have been an asset to Richmond if he was appointed Vice Principal.

Dunstan Fernando has been a great example of a teacher of his era when commitment and dedication and dignity of this profession was greatly displayed. His wife and his children always stood by his decisions and that I am sure made challenges in his profession easier. Many Richmondites paid their respects to him at the Methodist Church Kollupitiya and Wesley College. We met the children and they did not appear to know his close association with Richmond. Our deepest sympathies to them. Destiny showed that Dunstan Fernando had to be Principal of Wesley, Carey and Sripali and it reminds me of a saying, ‘destiny is not a matter of choice, it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved’.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Sunil Rupesinghe

Obituary - 9th August 2013

RUPESINGHE - SUNIL RANJAN PERERA - (Chairman, Shelhiru Group of Companies). Dearly beloved husband of Rebekah, much loved and devoted father of Shalan (Australia), Hirosh and Ruwan (Australia), beloved loving father-in-law of Tracy (Australia), Harshi and Tamara (Australia), devoted grandfather of Savannah and Sarah (Australia), Joshua (Wales) Shanaya, Taneesha and Ryan (Australia), brother of Nimal, Rohan, Seedevi (UK) and Ravi, beloved son of the late Richard and the late Siri Rupesinghe, stepson of Walter Rupesinghe, brother-in-law of the late Ramani and of Mano (UK), Kanthi and Sriyani, Anton and Carnita, Tyronne (Australia), the late Ricardo and of Anita (Australia), Belinda and Donny. Cortege leaves residence No. 55, Rampart Road, Kotte at 3.30 p.m. on Sunday 11th August 2013 for Service at the Cinnamon Gardens Baptist Church and thereafter burial at General Cemetery, Borella (General Christian Section).

From Sajeeka Abeynayake (sent 9th August 2013)

Sunil Rupesinghe who is an old boy of Wesley has passed away last evening. His three sons also old boys captained and played rugby for college. Shalan was 88' Rugby Captain, Hirosh was 90' Rugby Captain, Ruwan also played 1st XV

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Asoka Cooray (NAL)

Obituary -29th August 2013

Formerly of Mahaweli Authority and Nippon KOEI. Beloved son of the late Mr. Peter & Violet Cooray, beloved brother of Chandrani, Ranjith & the late Nimal, brother-in-law of Vincent Goonawardena & Monica, beloved uncle of Sajith Cooray (Super Link Travels), passed away. Cortege leaves residence No. 468, Nawala Road, Rajagiriya, at 4 p.m. for burial on Monday the 26th of August at 4.30 p.m. at the General Cemetery, Kanatte. (Anglican Section)

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Asoka Cooray (N.A.L) joined the Kindergarten at Wesley College in 1946. I remember Asoka as a quiet student a year ahead of me. Asoka was not a shy man but had a reserved nature and a twinkle in his eye. Underneath a rather stern exterior, he was a knowledgable, cultured and erudite person. He always had an air of sophistication and confidence. His younger brother Ranjit too was at Wesley.

Asoka left school after the GCE, in 1959, to resume  his  studies at Richmond College Galle. He entered the Engineering Faculty of the University of Peradeniya in 1962 and qualified in 1967 with a BSc.

Asoka worked in the PWD as an Executive Engineer from 1967-71. He proceeded to the UK in 1971 and became a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in London. On return, his career path settled on track with a succession of immensely demanding posts in Sri Lanka.

After serving  several years in the Ministry of Irrigation Asoka was promoted to the prestigious position as Principal Engineer at the Mahaweli Authority where he served for many years.  He spent a brief spell in Fiji before becoming the Deputy General Manager of Nippon Koei Co Ltd Colombo where he served until his untimely demise after a brief illness. He never married but his work and profession became a lifelong preoccupation and joy.

Despite the massive brain drain of the 1960's and 70's Asoka decided to remain and serve his country. As a respected Engineer he leaves behind him not only the record of someone who did the country considerable service, but also, for his family and friends, indelible memories of a life well lived.

I never met him again after Asoka left Wesley, but I was lastingly impressed by his courtesy and unforced charm which he showed for many years as a loyal Wesleyite.

P.S: My thanks to Lalith (LCR) Wijesinghe and Ranjith Cooray for providing the photo and the information from which I drew much inspiration for the above account.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Mr E L Rodrigo

Obituary - 11th November 2013

Photo: Mr.E.L Rodrigo

From Ravi Peiris

Dear All,

This is to keep you informed of the passing away of our beloved master Mr. E.L. Rodrigo last evening. Mr. Rodrigo was much loved and respected and apart from teaching he was also the Cub Master, Hunter House Master and in charge of the college Bookshop. The unofficial and unconfirmed information I have is that the body will be brought home to PRIYADHARSHANA, MUKALANGAMUWA ROAD, SEEDUWA, this afternoon and the funeral service at his home will be on Saturday at 3.00 p.m. and there after burial at Methodist Church Seeduwa.

A tribute to a legend at Wesley by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Mr EL Rodrigo has passed away after a long and vigorous life. He belonged to the old brigade of dedicated teachers of whom we had many in the post war period well into the 1960’s. He administered discipline with a capital “D”.  Those who fell foul of the school rules felt the full force of his palm. Despite this he won widespread respect being never bitter or acrid.

Teaching and Wesley was his life and he gave his all to the profession he joined for honourable and idealistic reasons. At Wesley, Mr Rodrigo was a vivid presence. With his curly black hair and short stature, dressed in brilliant white, he was an instantly recognisable figure walking the long corridors of the school. He was honourable, hard-working and well-informed and we all benefitted from his wisdom and common-sense. He took pains to encourage students and colleagues. He was dedicated to improving education and the lives of students at Wesley.

With Mr Wilfred Wickramasinghe he withstood the stifling heat behind the cubby hole of the bookshop. I can still picture them bathed in sweat selling monitors exercise books and Dreadnought instrument boxes. They served diligently for many years as the caretakers of the school bookshop.

Mr Rodrigo came to us from Seeduwa which was a strong Methodist enclave and remained a faithful servant of the Lord all his life. Retirement in Seeduwa, did not mean slowing down. He then became fully involved in church work and local life in his hometown. People will remember his wry sense of humour and unshakable Christian faith.

His other loves were the 14th Colombo Cub Pack and the School Hostel. To both he gave his all. The Cub Pack was managed by the inseparable duo Wilfred Wickramasinghe and EL Rodrigo. They were both strict. I personally couldn't hack it with them and left the pack for a more entertaining life playing cricket in the small park. In the hostel he was strict but his pastoral care was exceptional. He truly cared about the hostellers' welfare knowing well we were far away from home and our parents. Mr Rodrigo remained a stickler for the hostel rules and at times irritatingly so. It must be said at times we found him to be a rigorous taskmaster. Most teachers of that era were strict and life at school was never a bed of roses. Perhaps it prepared us for the future and toughened us to endure the trials of life and obey the laws of the land.

I came to know him more closely after leaving school. He was not a prickly and humourless person. Mr Rodrigo was charming beyond recognition. On my visits to the school I was often whisked away by him to the Tuck shop for a cup of tea and a chat. We then spoke more freely about the many aspects of life from politics to healthcare and the decline in moral values in a rapidly changing world.

I have been briefed that in the staff room Mr Rodrigo was held in high esteem as an affable and helpful colleague. His teaching career spanned well over 30 years and he served beyond the call of duty. We will always be grateful for his services to the school and value his dignity, enthusiasm and commitment to duty.

Mr. Rodrigo married a teacher from Methodist College and they had 3 daughters. In his final years he lived with a daughter in Katunayake. Due to his immobility and poor eye sight he was unable to attend the successsful Reunion held at Wesley College in September 2012.

He died in Katunayake where he spent his final years, and in the town which is a Methodist enclave whose intellectual and community life he celebrated and graced.

On behalf of the worldwide brotherhood of Wesleyites we celebrate his life. To all of us who came to know him, it is the end of an era. But we are comforted by the memory of his long, full and inspiring life and so proud of his devotion to helping others as he sought to change our lives for the better. To those Wesleyites who never came across Mr. E.L Rodrigo his dedication and diligence will remain a beacon for future generations in Karlshrue Hill. His voice will resonate in the ether of the class-rooms and corridors at Wesley forever.

Links to further reading

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Kirubai Dwight

Obituary - November 2013

DWIGHT - KIRUBAI. At rest with Jesus. Beloved husband of Dr Yvonne Dwight, loving father of Sean and Angelo, father-in-law of Pushpika, brother of Christobel, Richard, Luther, Kanage and Emily, adorable grandfather of Reshane, Ashane and Trinesh, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning. Remains lie at No. 11, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7. Service at residence at 4.30 p.m. on Saturday 23rd November. Thereafter cortege leaves for burial at General Cemetery Kanatte at 5.15 p.m. (General Christian Section).

Kirubai Dwight by Richard Dwight

He was a fine cricketer

As the hearse bearing the remains of Kirubai Dwight began moving slowly on the driveway of his home at Wijerama Mawatha to be laid to rest at the Kanatte General Cemetery, a pleasant breeze blew over, with a mild drizzle falling for awhile - an omen of the passing away of a good and much loved human being. Kirubai, as he was affectionately known, began his life with adversity. For when he was an infant of nine months, he was stricken with pneumonia and almost dying. The family with other relatives and a prayer group kept on praying. The doctor then rushed back to advise them to feed him with water in a spoon every 15 minutes. With this and the prayers of many, he was miraculously healed.

As a lad he attended the Kollupitya Methodist Sunday School and its church, not forgetting the charismatic Catholic churches. He had his secondary education at Wesley College, blossomed out as a fine cricketer and did well as a batsman in Mercantile cricket tournaments.

He soared to great heights at the Saracens Sports Club by scoring many a fifty and a century to boot. He was very much liked by the Macan Markar brothers who organized the club. He gave up his cricket and remained just a member of the CCC after he bought a coconut estate off Kurunegala. It did sadden him much to sell the estate two years later.

He was never aggressive but calm and collected, and lent a helping hand to the underprivileged. God did see to it that he did not suffer. He is survived by his wife Yvonne, sons Sean and Angelo, daughter-in-law Pushpika and grandsons.

Farewell dear brother, may the choirs of angels sing thee to sleep!

As we say for cricketers "May the turf lay lightly on him"

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Frank Samaraweera by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Added 30th December 2013

The news of Frank Samaraweera's demise came to me while reading the "Appreciations" of the Times of SL on the 29th of December 2013. I still do not know when he passed away or the circumstances. Despite the passage of years there was a certain pang and a feeling of loss. As the dust of the day settled there was time for reflection of a time now long gone. Living in the Northern hemisphere December is the time for winter storms and long nights. As the dawn of the new year approaches I wind down, reflect and take stock before the calendar turns. I remember those who were here a year ago but who will not be tomorrow, when we, the survivors, start anew.

I came to know Frank  when I was a boarder at Wesley College in the 1950’s.  He had the proverbial good looks - tall, dark and handsome with a warm and ready smile. Frank was 6 years my senior and I remember him as a reserved, tolerant and kind person. With his gentle, friendly manner he got on well with everyone. Frank was a fine scholar and won many prizes and awards  at the annual prize giving. At school his interests were broad. He was in the school choir with Mr Maxwell De Alwis at the helm and took part in the Operettas – Aladd-in-and out and also Robin Hood which had rave reviews when we played in Kandy and Colombo. I recall with much nostalgia the Carol Services at the Maradana Methodist Church and the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Great Hall at Wesley College with the endless hours of preparation for these events despite the pressures of the end of term examinations. Frank took all this in his stride. Being an accomplished singer he played an active role in the choir. The clear harmonies produced by the Wesley choir influenced a generation of school choirs in the 1950's.

His passion for acting took him to the school Drama Society. This was the golden age of drama at school. Plays were then directed and supervised by Mrs. C.E Oorloff who was the Principal’s wife. She was a keen producer of plays and herself trained by Prof EFC Ludowyke at the University of Peradeniya. Frank's polished performances and distinctive voice will be remembered by many.

Frank was widely respected as a reliable and keen student and was appointed a school prefect. As I distinctly recall whatever he did at school bore a certain stamp of elegance, which was his hallmark.
Frank played cricket and football in the small park like the rest of us and enjoyed the camaraderie in the hostel. He used his height to play a good competitive game of basketball.

He left Wesley in 1955 to become an undergraduate at the University of Peradeniya where he read English under the tutelage of Prof JLC Rodrigo. They were undoubtedly the halcyon days of University education at the picturesque new campus when Sir Ivor Jennings was the Vice Chancellor.

His balanced views, loyalty and wisdom were greatly appreciated and well rewarded. Frank rapidly rose to hold positions as Director and then Managing Director of many high profile companies in Sri Lanka. Over the years, as insight developed, Frank became the voice of good judgment, invaluable in listening to ideas, then rendering a cool and objective opinion. He was also well connected and an astute spotter of talent and recruited the best for his Company. He was an inspiration to all. In this harsh and fiercely competitive world he lived by the principles he espoused with courage and integrity. However, behind his formal, calm and always courteous exterior, lay a keen business brain. He graced those positions with sincerity and warmth, and above all, his immaculate presence.

Frank always had a strong moral and civic sense and worked abroad for the United Nations. He will be remembered as a good human being, someone who brought happiness, hope and reflection into life and into this world.

He never really lost touch with his roots. At Wesley College Frank became the Vice President of the Old Boys Union. During the tumult that swept across the organisation, although a formidable task he steered the OBU safely through those tough times. Frank had been blessed with a formidable intellect and great depth of knowledge. He managed to achieve his goals by persuasion. His calm presence and astute judgment was essential during the many crises. Frank inspired respect and affection as a man who understood the Old Boys psyche. He could also defuse awkward situations with dry one-liners and a twinkle in his eye. There were many happy times too. Frank loved the work, found his assignments unfailingly intriguing and also entertaining at times. In the process he developed a lasting affection for Wesley and many of the Old Boys. As a distinguished Wesleyite he personified the spirit of the founding fathers of the school.

Frank drew the warm affection and admiration of a wide range of friends. He was a close friend and confidante of Dr NAB Fernando who was a boarder at Wesley with him. They both joined the Arts Faculty of the University of Peradeniya and stayed together at the Marrs Hall of residence. He was a regular visitor to the Principal’s Bungalow at Wesley when Dr NAB Fernando was the Principal. Such meetings would have evoked great nostalgia. He wrote moving appreciations when his school mates, BJ Karunatilleke and NAB Fernando passed away.

Frank was unable to attend the Grand Reunion of September 2012 at Wesley College due to ill health. Towards the end of his life his poor health made him a recluse. Frank, who belonged to the old school is almost the last of his ilk. I would have loved to see him as we never got the chance to meet since 1955. Personal communications with his friends helped me to compile this meagre tribute. I have paid a high price for living in exile in the UK.

After all, any life that inspires and encourages so many others is a life that was well lived.

Links to further reading

A loving tribute to a special friend and man of many talents - Frank Samaraweera by Anthea Senaratna

From the Times of Sri Lanka- 29th December 2013

A man whose parents were stalwarts of the Salvation Army, whose two sisters were Priya, a renowned counsellor, and Swarna, a teacher of repute; a man who was into the arts, enjoyed acting and was involved in the theatre from schooldays to adulthood; who had an excellent singing voice; an honours graduate in English from the University of Peradeniya, and the holder of degrees in marketing and business management; a man who reached the pinnacle of his career with jobs attached to the UN. Indeed a man of many talents.

But most importantly, a kind and caring person; this, in a capsule, is a description of our beloved friend, Frank Samaraweera.
I first met Frank when he brought his fiancée Kamala Fernando to our house down Milagiriya Avenue. We were immediately drawn to them both. Kamala stayed with us for over two years while she was teaching at Visakha Vidyalaya. This was around 1959. Frank was employed as a teacher at Carey College – they had both just graduated and these were their first jobs.

A keen and versatile actor, Frank played the role of Rama in Iranganie Serasinghe’s production of ‘Rama & Sita’. I also recall his mellifluous tones singing ‘Green Sleeves’ at our place. My parents and I loved them both and my mother (who was an excellent cook) often saved a portion of Polos curry (one of Frank’s favourites) for Frank when he visited Kamala in the evenings.

Frank visited Kamala almost daily. I remember well the day he got his first private sector job at Lever Brothers. He visited Kamala as usual and casually mentioned that he had had an interview with Levers a few days earlier. Later that evening – after Frank had left, it began to rain heavily and through the thunderstorm we heard our doorbell ring – this must’ve been around midnight. My father went to the door and was alarmed to see Frank standing there — by this time all of us had gathered fearing the worst. But Frank was smiling — and he told us the good news. He had on returning home found a letter from Levers informing him that he had got the job!

We laughed and cried (in joy of course!) and hugged him before he finally was given the chance to have a few quiet words with Kamala and leave for home.

The next surprise we had was when Frank turned up in a green Ford car a few weeks later! I am sure he would have liked to have taken Kamala for the first ride in his car but did he have a chance with me (a teenager at the time), my neighbour from down the road, and the little boy who lived next-door (both constant visitors to our place)! We leapt into the car and demanded he take us for ice cream. He did as he had no other choice. When we returned I well recall my parents telling us to get down from the car and give ‘this sweet couple’ just two seconds to themselves – we must have been incorrigible to say the least!

In a few years, Frank and Kamala were married and when Aruni and Asitha were born they became devoted parents and took on the busy role of running a house and family. When I married Sriyantha (Simon) I was delighted to learn that he had known Frank and Kamala at the Peradeniya University.

Frank continued to rise up the mercantile ladder. From being a senior manager in the marketing division of Lever Bros., he moved to Darley Butler and Company, then on to Reckitt & Coleman where he was appointed marketing director and later managing director. He held this position for over fifteen years and was also an independent director of Taj Hotel.

He then joined Shaw Wallace and Company as MD and was there for several years. He was awarded the Eisenhower Scholarship and soon after took on an overseas assignment with the International Planned Parenthood Federation aligned to the UN. In this line of work he was posted to Jordan, Pakistan, the US and Kenya. On returning to Sri Lanka in the mid 1990s Frank was invited to join a few companies as an independent director while undertaking some consultancy assignments.

In addition Frank was a member of the Steering Committee that founded the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing in which he served as an office bearer and also as president.

We spent an unforgettable holiday with Frank and Kamala while they were in Nairobi, Kenya — exploring the magnificent game parks, touring the lakes and other areas of interest. We also enjoyed the somewhat unusual experience of attending a dinner theatre which was absolutely superb. We travelled with Frank and Kamala in their vehicle — it was such great fun.

Once they returned to Sri Lanka they were always a part of our family. We shall always treasure their love and friendship. Dearest Frank, Simon and I will always remember you. Now that you are reunited with your beloved Kamala may you be blessed with true happiness and peace!

Memorable anecdotes by Lalith (LCR) Wijesinghe

I still remember Frank Samaraweera coming for those OWSC Club Nights organised at the Old Pavilion during JCP Wickramanayake's time. (I too was involved with him being the Asst. Sec. of the OBU,)

JCP used to bring two bottles of arrack which was kept at his home for these events.. This was sold from behind the bar counter by Wilson ( groundboy) and he making notes of the drinks and short eats sold. Nihal Wijestunge, JBW Karunatilleke, Cecil Fernando , Afghar Mohideen,MAP Fernando, RM De Silva were some of the regular attendees at these once a month events. Frank used to love listening to Nimal Sureweere singing in his lovely tenor voice at these nights (of course having imbibed the spirits that cheer) Frank could take his liquor well. We used to play bridge till late on certain club nights. Paul Senaratne, MAP Fernando , Frank and myself, I was on the staff at Wesley ( this was in the late 60's)  As Frank was the Managing Director of Reckitt & Colman  he was trying to find me something more lucrative ( my salary was Rs 350 per month) than a teaching job. I recall very vividly being interviewed by him at his plush office in Fort,
The position was for a Medical Representative !! ( with a car provided !!) He asked me if I knew the meaning of the word " Analgesic". Would you believe that I failed to answer the question and so blew the chance of becoming a Medical Rep. and maybe visiting you Nihal to peddle my products !!!
I must also mention that once JCP instead of bringing 2 bottles of arrack for the club Night had one bottle of coconut oil in the parcel, which was discovered when it was about to be opened. It was a catastrophe. Somebody was rushed on a motorbike with a JCP scribbled note to his wife, asking her to handover 1 bottle of arrack.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Harry De Vos

Obituary November 2013 - Aged 84 years

Harry De Vos passed away in Melbourne.

A Private Family Funeral Service was held, for Harry, at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery, Victoria, Australia on the 26th of November 2013.

Harry's generous spirit reached out to all and was one reason of many why, at any gathering, people were drawn to him. His wit and bonhomie also played their part. He was a man of great charm and elegance, a force of nature and a bringer of fun and joy. His enthusiasm for friendship was infectious.

He will be sorely missed by his family and fondly remembered by Old Boys of Wesley College. Harry was an honoured and respected member of the Seniors Group of the OBU, Melbourne, where he was well known for his lusty singing of the School Song. He fostered a strong sense of belonging in all he did. We are grateful for his support and friendship over many years. Harry was a gentle cultured person and a good friend, considerate and kind. We will miss his warm smile and wicked sense of humour.

Eulology - Harry Flottiland de Vos -- by Ken de Vos

Kindly sent to me by Keith de Kretser

Harry Flottiland de Vos
Husband to Heather
Brother to Joy, Maureen, Jean, Neil and Hilary
Father to Ken and Frans
Grandfather to Caitlin, Callum, Cara and Joel.

Dad was born on 5th January 1929, in Colombo, Ceylon.
He was educated and studied at Wesley College until 1945, where he excelled particularly in mathematics...  
From 1950 he held the occupation of marine engineer and spent many years at sea.
Dad was married on the 29th July 1961 and Ken was born in November, 1962.
In 1966 the family moved to Australia where he worked as a mechanical engineer and Frans was born soon after in February, 1967. 
After obtaining his degree in the mid 1970s dad worked for the Port of Melbourne Authority up until 1985 where he was second in charge of Dredging.
Dad took early retirement at the age of 57 in 1986.
During his 27 years of retirement dad had many hobbies and interests..
Most notable was the time he spent on his inventions..
These included amongst others; the string hopper machine, lawn mower edger, hopper machine and the Acquimiser water saving device.
His love of singing and music was also well served as leader of the “True Blue Minstrels” a band which had origins back to the 1950s with the influence of Al Jolson, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Watching Cricket and hosting regular parties was dad’s other love where he celebrated right up until to his recent 80th birthday obtaining an OBE (Over Bloody Eighty).

Dad was a father, mentor and counsel to myself and will be fondly remembered for his dedication, discipline, strong principles and love for his immediate and extended family... 
Dad passed away peacefully at Lifeview aged care centre on 21st November, 2013, aged 84. He truly had a good life.
 

A precious one from us has gone.
A voice we love is still.
A place is vacant in our hearts which no one else can fill.
After our lonely heartaches and silent tears, we will always have beautiful memories of the one we loved so dear.
Servant of God well done!
Rest from thy love employ.
The battle is fought, the victory won.
Enter they Master’s Joy

Rest in Peace. (RIP) dad.

 

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Lucky Abeywardene

Obituary December 2013

ABEYAWARDENA - LUCKY. Beloved husband of Ranjini, loving father of Suranjan (Canada) & Nadini (NTB), father-in-law of Koshala (Hayleys), loving Seeya of Dilanjan (Canada), Kavishka, Chamalka & Thiuni, brother of the late Wimala, Kamala, Sirisoma, Hema, Piyasiri, Malani & Sirima. Cortege leaves residence on Monday 30th December 2013 at 2.00 p.m. for cremation at 3.00 p.m. at Borella Cemetery, 12, Temple Road, Nawala.

 

Standing (L-R) :-  H.S.W. Jayasekera, J.V.B. Perera, R.C. Bartholomeusz, N.de la Harpe, D.R. Vantwest,W.O.C. Mottau, L. Abeywardene.

Seated (L-R) :-  V.R. Dias, Mr. M. Sathasivam (Coach), H.L.A. Matthysz (Captain), Rev. J. Cartman (principal),W.P.S. Abeywardena (V.Capt), Mr. J.L.F. de Mel, N.S. Jayasundere.

Lucky was in the Wesley College 1st XI Cricket Team in 1948 Captained by H.L Matthysz. He is remembered for scoring an elegant 101 against St Joseph's College. Bertus Perera with L.Abeywardene were in the Combined Colleges Cricket team which played against the touring West Indies side in 1950. West Indies team was captained by John Goddard and included Jeff Stollmeyer, George Headley (Black Bradman), Clyde Wolcott, Everton Weekes, C. A. Mcwatt, W. Ferguson, George Carew. The match was played at the Colombo Oval (Saravanamuttu Stadium). After leaving school he played for Bloomfield Cricket Club and helped them to win the coveted Saravanamuttu Trophy in the 1963/64 season.

As we say for cricketers "May the turf lay lightly on him

May he find the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam M.A.M Sheriff

Obituary 26th January 2014- Age 85

It is with deep sadness I received the news of the demise of MAM Sheriff who was an outstanding athlete for school and country. He represented Ceylon in the British Empire Games (Now known as the Commonwealth Games) held in Auckland New Zealand in February 1950 where MAM Sheriff was placed 7th in the order of merit in the Long Jump clearing 21ft 6 inches. This was a great achievement in a strong field of British and African athletes. Duncan White, an old Trinitian, won Gold for the 440 yards Hurdles at the Empire Games in 1950. He had won Silver at the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

As an athlete MAM Sheriff's natural stamina, ambition and determination were clear. His achievements speaks volumes of his tenacity and perseverence. He was the Senior Prefect in 1949 during the Cartman era. MAM Sheriff brought a depth of understanding, a great deal of courage, a joyous charm and boundless charisma to his tenure as Senior Prefect. He was an iconic figure at Wesley. His excellence in sports, affable nature and smart demeanour gave him an unmistakeable profile at Wesley and earned the respect and admiration of students and staff alike.

Results of the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland - Long Jump

Position Name Country Result
1- Gold Neville Graham Price South Africa 24ft
2- Silver WBK Hough New Zealand 23ft 7 inches
3- Bronze D Dephoff New Zealand 23ft 3 inches
4. K Forsythe New Zealand 23ft 3 inches
5. H Whittle England 22ft 8 inches
6. KAB Olowu Nigeria 22ft 8 inches
7. MAM Sheriff Ceylon 21ft 6 inches

 

He never lost his love for his alma mater where he made lifelong friends. MAM Sheriff visited the school on his many trips back to Sri Lanka. When Rev Cartman's daughter Mrs. Christine Weaver visited Wesley College in March 2002 MAM Sheriff was present for the official and unofficial engagements to celebrate her visit in Memory of Rev Cartman who was a legendary Principal at Wesley College.

I understand he was from Sammanthurai in the Eastern Province. At Wesley we had a large contingent of students from Sammanthurai who played an important part in the life of the school. Thereafter they became prominent citizens of Sri Lanka and the wider world.

MAM Sheriff was domiciled in the USA and passed away while on holiday in Sri Lanka. He was 85 years.

1950 Ceylon Team for the British Empire Games held in Auckland New Zealand

L to R: M.A.M.Sheriff, Albert Perera, J.R.de. Silva, A.I.Obeyasekera, Mrs. H.N.P.Perera (the manager's wife), Somapala, Oscar Wijesinghe, K.Edwin, Douglas Arndt, K.Duraisingham, Clifford Jansz, Shelagh Gaddam, Vivien Blaze, Summa Navaratnam, John de Saram, Harry Nightingale (swimming coach), Edward Gray and Duncan White.

"Inna Lillahi Va Inna Ilaihi Rajioon"

"From Him do we come and unto Him do we return"


In Memoriam - Ronald Frederick Henderling

Obituary - 30th January 2014 - Age 72

HENDERLING: Ronald Fredrick Late of Sunnybank Hills. Passed away peacefully on 26th January, 2014. Aged 72 Years. Beloved Father of Fiona. Much Loved Brother of Elmo (dec'd), Donald, Kingsley, Noeline, Marlene (dec'd), Eva (dec'd), Esther, Patricia and their Families. Family and Friends are invited to attend Ronald's Funeral Service, at St Barnabas Anglican Church, 189 Lister Street, Sunnybank, on Thursday, 30th January, 2014, commencing at 10:30a. m. In Lieu of flowers donation envelopes available at the church for Ronald's chosen charities.

Bill Deutrom's Appreciation

I AM HONOURED TO HAVE BEEN ASKED TO SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT Ronald Henderling as I knew him. I am representing the Wesleyites present here to farewell Ronald and all those Wesleyites around the world who cannot be here today.
The Principal of Wesley College has asked me to pass on his sympathies. He met with Ron in September along with Haig Karunaratne who taught at Wesley and we were taken to lunch by Ron at his favorite Thai restaurant in Springwood. I think he really enjoyed the meeting even though he was not feeling too great.
Ron was an excellent hockey player and was appointed Vice Captain of the Wesley team. In this role he coached the juniors and I was one of the recipients of his coaching. This is where I first met Ron.
Ron was a good sportsman representing College in Hockey and Rugby. He was also a part of the Passmore house 440 yards champion relay team along with his cousin Maurice Mortier who lives in Melbourne and is unable to be here today. Maurice tells me that Ron was very pleased when he was sent up to collect the trophy.

We had a former master Fred Abeysekera visiting Australia some time ago. I was preparing to arrange his transport and accommodation to Brisbane and I rang to tell Ron about the visit. Ron told me that as usual I was a bit late in telling him about Wesley matters as he had already bought their tickets and was hosting them at his house. I managed to get him to agree to come over with the visitors for lunch. He looked after them and gave them a wonderful Brisbane experience in his usual relaxed manner. He was a generous friend and importantly a true Wesleyite. On another occasion we were planning a lunch at my home and I asked Norman de La Harpe to inform Ronald. Off course Ron immediately told Norman to tell me if I wanted him to come I had to call him which I did. There were no short cuts in dealing with Ronald!!
I am told by Fred Abeysekera that he has a room with items from Wesley. Maurice tells me that in the last couple of weeks his sister Esther had spoken to him by phone and told him to not give in. His reply was that a Wesleyite never gives in, and he demonstrated that spirit right through these difficult weeks, never losing his sense of humour and enjoying my pathetic jokes about his string of girlfriends, the trips we were going to do together and the thrashing that his English team was getting in the cricket.
I left Sri Lanka in 1965 straight from College and did not meet with Ron until I came to Brisbane from Sydney in 1988. However once we caught up we used to meet at various Wesley functions which he always attended. College was important to him as it is to all Wesleyites. However there was nothing more important to him than his daughter Fiona. During his stay in hospital he always brightened up when she was there which was pretty well all the time. Ron was very blessed to have a daughter like Fiona and he was immensely proud of her.

I had the pleasure of seeing Ron's extended family in hospital. Patricia was a constant visitor and Jeremy seemed to be there all the time. He was a real help to Ron and the food that he prepared for him was very tempting Unfortunately he never offered me a share of my friends gourmet lunches. The support that Ron had from his family helped him to endure a very trying time.
On behalf of his school friends our sympathies to Fiona and the family. We will miss our Wesley mate who had strength of character which he displayed over the last couple of years and was an inspiration to all who saw him. Ron has always been a straight shooter and once he made up his mind he did not deviate. A true gentleman and a great friend. We will miss him and may he rest in peace.

Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

As I look at his photo above how much his face has changed since those years at school. But when I read Bill's account of the man his personality hasn't changed much and neither has his passion for Wesley.

I came to know Ronald when I joined the Primary School at Wesley College in 1950. He was in my parallel class. Those were the glory days of the school. He was a smart lad, rather quiet, thoughtful, kind and reserved. Ronald was a fine sportsman even in those early years. He was great fun to be with and loved the open air, outdoor events and the camaraderie. Cricket then was his passion. During the intervals Ronny was often seen playing in the small park in the blistering sun.

Ronald came from a cricketing family. His uncle Bertram Thomas Henderling, was a fine cricketer and captained Wesley's 1st XI Team in 1942. He is now the oldest living Wesleyite to Captain Cricket and lives in Sydney, Australia. Ronald's father, Samuel Edward Henderling, played cricket for Wesley. He passed away in 1968.

With his winning smile Ronald was delightful company. I remember his dry sense of humour and the ability to see the lighter side of everyday events. He was known for his impish giggle, and his tendency to goad others on occasion. I well recall at times he could seem inattentive, distracted, as though his mind was elsewhere.

In those days of innocense we travelled together by the narrow guage KV train from Nugegoda to Baseline Road and back with the rest of the crowd including Rohan and Nimal Wijesinghe, WAK Silva, Ranjit Kulatunge, Godwin and Godfrey Roberts and a host of others. Those were happy years and it was fun all the way. When there were cricket matches being played at the Railway Grounds by the Baseline Road Station we all watched the game until the train slowly came to a halt at 3.55pm. Missing the train was a disaster as the next one was due at 4.20pm. That was a tremendously exciting regular pursuit which I recall with much nostalgia.

Wesley Rugby XV April 1959 - Sent by Michael Christoffelsz

Back Row: L-R: Ron Henderling, Darlan Perera, Trevor Gunasekera,Rodney de Kretser, Sheriff Fallil, Lameer
Middle row: L-R: S.R.Sinniah, Sin Sen Chang, Lameer, Daya Perera, Neville Ludowyk, Ronald Asirwatham, Nalendra Abeysuriya, Marice Weeraperumal, Jayantha De Silva
Front Row L-R:  Bunny Saldin, Lisk ,  Mr.PH Nonis, NE Fernando, Mr.Dabrera, Shanthi Perera          

Ground:- Mike Christoffelsz

Wesley Rugby XV April 1960 - Sent by Michael Christoffelsz

Back Row- L to R: Russell Schockman,Lameer(Jnr),Beverley de Neise

Middle Row:- L to R;- C. Sin-Sen, Ron Henderling, Lameer(Snr), Haig Maloney, Glen Reimers,Trevor Gunasekera, Mike Christoffelsz, Errol de Silva, Rodney De Kretser, Sherriff Falil.

Seated:- L to R: Darlan Perera. Principasl Mr P.h. Nonis, B.saldin (Capt), Mr. A.D D'Arbrera, Daya Perera
Ground- Robin Reimers.

In the Senior School Ronald became a regular in the 1st XI Hockey Team as Vice Captain. He was a fine athlete for Passmore House and played Rugby for the 1st XV. Ronny accepted the risk and the adrenaline of Rugby with relish. With his defensive qualities and attacking flair he became a useful member of the team in those early years of Rugby at Wesley with Danton D'Abrera as our coach and mentor. He was happiest in the playing fields of Wesley and Ronald wasn't impressed with academia. After the GCE Ronald left Wesley and settled in Brisbane, Australia where he spent all of his adult life. I flew in the opposite direction to the UK and sadly we never got an opportunity to meet again. Although I did a tour of Australia in 2009 and touched down briefly in Brisbane I never knew Ronald lived there. That would have been a golden opportunity to reconnect and remember those early years.

Ronald was not in the best of health in the past 2 years. He faced his final illness with dignity and courage and was most lovingly cared for by his daughter, Fiona, supported by the rest of his family. Ronald passed away peacefully on the 26th of January 2014.

At school he was a friend to many. Ronald had a heart of gold and was a gentleman throughout his life. In all the years he remained a true Blue Wesleyite. He was a wonderful human being and the world will be a poorer place without him.

I was informed: At the funeral the church was packed to capacity. There was a large gathering of Old Wesleyites to bid farewell to Ronald. The coffin was draped with the school colours. Ronald received the 'War Cry - Zam Zam Zacky...' as the coffin was lowered. I am certain he would have been rightly proud of this vocal last farewell. He will be dearly missed by all those who knew him. On behalf of the Worldwide brotherhood of Wesleyites I send my hearfelt condolences to his close family. The funeral was a proper celebration, a thanksgiving, and we saw genuinely who he was.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Ralph De Silva

Obituary - March 2014

DE SILVA - RALPH - Beloved husband of the late Norma, beloved brother of the late Myrle and the late Clarence, Dreda, Vernon, Shirley and Bianca, passed away on 15th March 2014. His remains lie at Barney Raymond’s Funeral Parlour on 18th and 19th March. Cortege leaves the Parlour at 5.00 p.m. for burial at the General Cemetery, Kanatte at the Anglican Section

An Appreciation by Lalith (LCR) Wijesinghe

Ralph was my classmate and dear friend until his untimely death two days ago.

When I sit back and reflect on the relationship we shared for nearly 60 years, all past events and encounters with him tell me that it was a privilege to have him as a friend. We have never shared a moment in anger even once over these long years, which exemplifies his character.

He was kind, generous and understanding. He was brought up at 42, Daya Road, Wellawatte the

youngest in a family of 3 brothers and 3 sisters and was called “ baby” by all his siblings.

Whilst at Wesley he was a member of the prestigious  School Sea  Scouts Troop and had the distinction of travelling to England for a scout Jamboree as a schoolboy, which was quite a feather in his cap.

Having progressed up to the O’Level classes he decided to leave school and subsequently joined the Merchant Navy  to see the world. This was a surprising move by him as he led a very protected and sheltered life at home, being the “baby” in the family. Also his gentlemanly ways and family background provided an ill-fit to the career he had chosen in the Merchant Navy which comprised of hardened,tough and worldly types. His easy and friendly manner helped him to make many loyal friends in the Navy. I recall with nostalgia those several occasions where he and I shared a “ beer” at the Seaman’s Club in the Fort when he used come “onshore” in Colombo after tiring voyages at sea.. Ralph had a penchant for his “beer & smoke” from a young age due to the influence of his work environment. Of his school friends as I recall  Kabir Ismail, Dharmaratne Kodithuwakku, Neville Perera and Fahmy Sikkander comprised one set.. OKHemachandra, Dalkin Samidon,Kenneth De Silva, Upali Perera and I comprised another. During our young days prior to marriage a favourite pastime of ours was frequenting all the popular “watering holes” which existed in the 1960’s and 70’s in Colombo. Ralph was a member of the Havelock Sports Club and many were our “ gatherings” at this popular club,  often till closing time. Ralph liked ballroom dancing. Going for Colombo dances,scrambling for “partners” and making plans to escort them were some of the interesting and exciting times we shared during those early days.

As we got on in years most in our circle got married and each of us pursued our careers and gave more time to our young new families. Ralph remained a batchelor for quite some time till he met Norma who was his neighbour at the Walukarama Flats at Wellawatte. He married Norma and proved to be a sober, devoted and dedicated husband. Norma was his soulmate. During her illness prior to her passing away last year, Ralph showed extreme devotion and took excellent care of Norma. This burden too had it’s toll on Ralph. He was in poor health from the beginning of this year and finally succumbed resulting in his passing away on 15 March 2014.

Ralph was a very dear and close friend to a few of us who cherished his qualities and friendship.

You deserve the best resting place my dear friend. There are not many like you.

Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Ralph was taken ill suddenly. The severity of his final illness came as a shock to us all. Lalith Wijesinghe most kindly kept me informed.

I came to know Ralph as a fellow boarder when he joined the School Hostel in 1954/55.  Although his parents lived in Wellawatte they felt it was prudent to keep Ralph in an environment conducive to study to help prepare for the all important Senior School Certificate (SSC) .

In those days life in the boarding was uncomfortable to say the least but it broadened our childhood and outlook. We were inspired enormously by our dedicated teachers. In the boarding I remember Ralph as a quiet, thoughtful boy. Although he was a quiet person was sociable with a good sense of humour and numerous friendships blossomed. He showed patience and kindness to his fellow students. Ralph took part in the usual activities in the hostel with much enthusiasm and made friends easily. He was never a great sportsman but immersed himself fully supporting the cricket and football that took place in the small park and Campbell Park. Whenever he was in a spot of bother his weapon was a smile which had the effect of disarming even the boldest. I still remember with nostalgia his playful sense of fun. Amidst all this, as I recall, Ralph remained a very private person all through the years at school.

Ralph left the boarding in 1957/58 and left school soon after. When he entered the big wide world, sadly, our paths never crossed.  I never met him again.

His experience in the boarding and the Scout Troop must have come to the fore in the Navy where much resourcefulness and resilience was needed. His career prospered and Ralph became a successful Naval Officer and a part of that community. I hope he had a rewarding and interesting life.

Ralph was a popular figure in the extended community of old boys and had a great love and loyalty to Wesley.

His most endearing qualities as a young man was his good manners and charm. He was dignified and had compassionate ways. He will be remembered for his personal kindness and thoughtful generosity. In the boarding we enjoyed his company enormously. In later life to his close family he was irreplaceable. To his innumerable friends his demise was a tragic loss.

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam - Sharm de Alwis

Obituary - 1st May 2014

Sharm De Alwis (Kangaroo Packing & Shipping) - Loving Husband of Loretta, darling Father of Samantha (Perth - Australia), Shani (Lyceum - Wattala), Dilki and Shehan, Father-in-law of Primal (Perth - Australia), Aubrey (SLT), Rajith (Sri Lanka Cricket), Ranga Krish (Arizona - USA), loving Grand Father of Andre (New Zealand), Ricardo, Dannon (OKI - Wattala), Imesha & Nadheesha (St. Bridget’s Convent), and Dinuk (Perth - Australia). Cremation will take place at Borella Cemetery (Kanatta) at 5pm on the 1st of May 2014.

Sharm de Alwis passes away (Island Newspaper) April 30, 2014, 9:32 pm

Born in Kandy on 17th March 1934 to Duwadisawage Victor Vincent De Alwis (better known as Captain De Alwis) and Pearl Wijesinghe, he was the first born of his siblings thus inheriting the respect and adoration as "Aiya". Having attended both Wesley College and Trinity, he recalls his fondest memories at Trinity the school he also served as secretary of the OBA for over three years.

He was in the Trinity boxing pool even though he was not able to represent the College and when in Wesley together with his mate Babu Ahamath they managed to coax boxing in to the sports curriculum.

His big break in boxing came when he captained Shell Company in 1954 to ’56 and went on to win the Cup in the Pin and Fly weights at the Mercantile Intermediate Boxing Meet (1955). He also held the cup for the ‘Best Boxer’ for three consecutive years and remained an unbeaten boxer.

Photo - Sharm with his Boxing Trophies

His boxing career stood at a standstill when he left for England where he studied Advertising, Market Research, Marketing and Public Relations at the London University for four years. While in London he travelled around Europe for three months on his Llambretta scooter bringing back both souvenirs and tales which were enjoyed by his children and grandchildren.

On returning home, after many successful years in advertising & marketing at William Biscuits, J.W. Thomas, Grants, Senarathne and Don Carollis, in 1972 with the birth of his third daughter whom he considered ‘lucky’, he made a giant leap and pioneered his own company ‘Kangaroo Packing & Shipping’ which he steered with the help of his wife Loretta. He is also a freelance writer on sports, travel and social comments.

He leaves behind his children and grandchildren who will miss him very much.

From Dr Nihal D Amerasekera:

A veteran journalist and scribe, Sharm, was a well respected old boy of Trinity and Wesley Colleges. Although not a fulltime journalist he remained one of the most accomplished and prolific writers of his time. He could effortlessly reel off streams of school anecdotes capturing the humour with consummate ease. His energetic style was much admired and his quality and versatility was greatly appreciated. Sharm was proud of the achievements of both schools and wrote his memories of his schooldays and friends with great passion. His vivid and colourful descriptions of his school life and exploits was his hall mark.

At Trinity College he remained a legend becoming the President of its Old Boys Association. He maintained its rich archives and history for posterity. He was never afraid to correct injustice and put the record straight when that was needed. His pen always did the talking, fluently and in great style. He wrote about Rugby, which was famous at that school, with great authority. Sharm combined its interesting anecdotes and controversies to write elegantly which I am certain will remain with the school forever. His knowledge of school cricket and its personalities was phenomenal having a remarkable memory for facts and figures. Sharm's expert contributions on the Wesley-Trinity Cricket matches will continue to jog our memories of those halcyon days.

Boxing was his forte. Sharm had the courage and skill to represent Wesley, Trinity and then the Shell Company with great distinction.

During his four year stint as an undergraduate in London University his taste for adventure led him to a trip round Europe in a Lambretta Scooter which he has recounted in his own lighthearted and inimitable style. Sharm was a cheerful, self-confident man with a mischievous sense of humour and a passion for life. He was an amusing and humane companion, but his seriousness of purpose was always evident.

He had the indefinable presence in any gathering and enjoyed a successful career in Marketing and Shipping. Sharm had no intention of retiring and putting his feet up. He worked right to the very end at Kangaroo Packing and Shipping at Galle Face Terrace. He managed it with great skill and expertise since 1972. Sharm lived with his close knit family in Kiribathgoda.

It seems to me that Sharm came closer than many of us in achieving his aspirations. On behalf of the Brotherhood of Wesleyites I thank him for his journalistic contributions over many years. We will miss him.

Sharm de Alwis the colourful sports columnist By M.V. Muhsin

Island Newspaper May 3, 2014

Sharm de Alwis’ sudden demise leaves a blank space in the columns we so eagerly read in the Island. And we will miss them as we shall his caring humanity, his effervescent sense of humour and warm friendship.

Death comes to all of us and over time even memories of friends who have crossed the great divide fade away through eternity. Not so, however, with widely read columnists whose inky trademark and keyboard imprints will remain in the history books and archives, available to generations to come.

Sharm was a stylish sports writer. He belonged to a yesteryear class whose alumni are alas so few in these times. He wrote often for the Island, and occasionally to the Daily News, and The Leader about sportsmen and sportswomen and of men and mice. There was much about rugby, some about cricket and then about boxing where he had a track record of being an irrepressible pugilist. He also shared many a personal anecdote of which there was a classic about being a jail bird…more on that later.

He wrote with a flourish with brightly coloured anecdotes and vignettes that gripped our attention. There was a time when I cautioned him that his writings were more about Trinity that readers may find it difficult to ingest drawing from criticism leveled against this writer. And his response was an unapologetic yes, adding "that is what I know best and I cannot hide my fancy, and others have the liberty to write about theirs!’’

To be fair though, we read his columns for the style that was unique and for the engaging literary flourish that made good reading and for the variety of his coverage.

In his own reminiscence he traced his writing style to a curious chain of events that evolved from at attempt at Kandyan dancing that grew into prose and poetry: I had been destined to be tutored in Kandyan dancing by the best in the world - Nittawela Gunaya Gurunanse. And here was I, during the vacations, worshipping every robust movement of a supple and masculine frame and also the limpid movements of his protege, Vajira….that I did not have the fluidity of Kandyan genes to perform in the ‘eloquence’ of Dance, I turned my attention to the limpid poetry of Byron, Keats and Shelley et al.

Through those beginnings the cocktail that he offered in his writings was shandied with a host of anecdotes and spiced, I would add, with full blooded sparkling wine

There was a time when he reported back after a male dominated Trinity social event and wrote about ‘females in gorgeous plumes who were mercifully brought into the enclave rather than be left to waft their loveliness in the wilderness of another room. Their presence brought about a fake suck-in of our (his) bellies and a false air of bravado. I did fetch courage to impose: "I am Sharm de Alwis. Can you remember who your husband is?" They all got full marks but if the day extended, the husbands would have fluffed the QA!’

The exclamation marks in his writings had special appeal and an engaging twist. For instance referring to his choice of a dream Sri Lankan Rugby XV he justified it by graphically adorning his selection with vivid expressions of such giants as Y. C. Chang as a Chip of the Great Wall of China who with Hadji Omar were a team of battering rams; of Hisham Abdeen, the Crown Jewel, who defied description; of Mike de Alwis who was the finest hooker ever to be in local rugby and sacrificed his front teeth and ribs for the game; of Lanil Tennekoon who felled opponents like a lumberjack, the bigger they came, the harder they fell; of Thajone Savangam and Jeff de Jong two who played together for club and country and understood every move the other would make, inseparable at the base of the scrum or at the bar; of S. B. Pilapitiya who remains the ‘Prince of scrum halves’ even though there have been many pretenders. He would be airborne in feeding his threes and could not, therefore, be tackled. In a five yard scrum, he would leap over the defence to plant tries at will; of Nimal Maralande who remains the best in the position adding that Mohan Sahayam, ‘the Smiling Assassin’ sold dummies like he was selling ‘waday’ and would plant the try and hold the uprights as he laughed into the wind; and of Viper Gunaratne (Snr), safe as Horatio on the Bridge when try plundering opponents descended like ‘the Huns from the hills his tackles hospitalized his adversaries.’

On Boxing he wrote about Britain’s Heavyweight Boxing champion of the 60s who had put Cassius Clay on the deck in their first bout, Henry Cooper steadfastly refused to indulge in rugger, "There’s too much going on in them scrums and I am not in a position to reciprocate."

What goes on in the rugger fields is more an extension of unpolished street fighting he wrote. The pomp and majesty of street fighting was displayed by Kalu Abay and Podi Mahattaya of Dehiwela. It was Podi Mahattaya who introduced me, he wrote, to three superlative exponents of the black eye trade who had been fellows of Watupitiwela’s Borstal town and had been discharged for good behaviour when their boxing skills were honed by coach de Silva who also had had a hand in turning out crisp boxers from Christ Church, Kotte. The three from Borstal town were crowned the champions in the All-Ceylon Boxing meets of the late 60s in the categories of Bantam, Feather and Light weights.

On to cricket, he wrote that the pace and the rhythms of cricket inspire more good writing than any other sport. Next to opera and music, the literature on cricket waxes most eloquent and to pay homage to the game and to the players is a galaxy of worthy writers

And with glee and humility he wrote about his three days in Welikada’s remand prison: I was a remand prisoner in Welikada’s high security jail 21 years ago and if my term was to be only three days, it possibly was due to the poetic licence that "fish after three days begins to smell." I went in on a Friday afternoon and came out on Monday but in those three days I met a clutch of some swell guys who were incarcerated only because the milk of human kindness flowed freely within them that they fought another’s cause to uphold the dignity of fair play.

My first night was in the ‘dorm’ and as none in my family knew of the requirements I slept in the sack cloth the prison authorities had given me after they took my clothes and belongings and gave me a number. I was prisoner 134. That was my identity. A kind inmate warned me to be careful of my shoes and my spectacles because anything is booty within the dungeon.

I was imprisoned because of a motor mishap in which I had accidentally knocked down a policeman. Why I was given special treatment by my fellow prisoners was explained to me: "Sir, kochchiyekuta wadek dhunna nisai". Information had got around faster than in the Bush even without smoke signals. If I were to sing of my experiences rather than cringe it has been explained by Evelyn Waugh when she wrote, "Anyone who has been to a public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison."

Three days were a romp for me and if I did not ask for my term to be ended sooner it would have been sustained by St Augustine’s confession, "Give me chastity and continency - but not yet".

In one of his recent columns he signed off with a somber prescience: I trust I have filled your cup of joy. Mine overflows.

Indeed you have Sharm!

 

Links to further reading

May he find Eternal Peace.


In Memoriam - George Kanagarajasingham Barnes

20th May 2014

BARNES - GEORGE KANAGARAJASINGHAM – Distinguished Old Boy of Wesley College and Secretary OWSC

Retd. Asst. Controller and Asst. Commissioner of Immigration and Emigration and former AGA of Batticaloa - Vellawelli and Pattipola) Beloved husband of the late Jeyaranee (nee Canagasabey), much loved father of Shiranee, Premini, the late Suresh, Rohan (Old Boy of Wesley College – 1988)  and Adrian, father-in-law of Wijerathnam, Mervyn, Niruba and Subytha, grandfather of Pregiska, Damian, Dilukshan, Timothy, Ethan, Hannan and Keshini passed away. The Remains will lie at A.F. Raymonds Parlour on Wednesday 21st May from 8 a.m. onwards. Cortege leaves the parlour on the same day at 3 p.m. for burial at General Cemetery, Borella (General Christian Section). Rohan Barnes

GRANT HIM O LORD

ETERNAL PEACE


In Memoriam : Air Chief Marshal MJT de S Gunawardena VSV, ndc, psc

Obituary - 31/05/14

AIR CHIEF MARSHAL TERRENCE GUNAWARDENA Former Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force - Beloved husband of Sherly, beloved father of the late Kamal, Suzane and Jenny, beloved father-in-law of Ivonne, Air Vice Marshal Aruna Gunawardena (Retired SLAF) and Hon. Pandu Bandaranayake (Deputy Minister of Indigenous Medicine), loving brother of the late Annesley (CI Police) and Reene, passed away. Cortege leaves A.F.Raymond’s Parlour, Colombo at 4.00 p.m. for Cremation at General Cemetery, Colombo at 4.30 p.m. on Sunday, 01st June 2014.

A Tribute by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Terrence cut a distinctive figure as a tall, well-built teenager at school.  With his charm and poise he commanded much respect as the Senior Prefect in 1958 . I can still picture him standing by the door closest to the stage at the great hall at Wesley College, the place reserved for the Head Prefect. As a schoolboy he spoke softly, threw no tantrums and dressed elegantly.

Terrence also was the  Soccer goal keeper during 1957/58 and his courageous keeping helped the school to maintain a successful unbeaten season. Terrence won countless fans on the football field with his skill and sportsmanship. Honourable and modest, he often played hard but fair. His gutsy approach to the game was his hallmark.

He left school to join the Royal Ceylon Airforce where he appeared to breeze through life making new friends and advancing his career with an ease that left others spellbound. No single moment better encapsulated the character, talent and sheer charisma of Terrence Gunawardene than his meteoric rise to become the most powerful Airman in Sri Lanka when the country was at war. We could have predicted he would one day be a high ranking officer of the Armed Forces even while at school as he was a born leader, brave and fearless and had impeccable credentials. He had the enthusiasm, wisdom and friendship of a person meant for high office. Many who got to know him appreciated his empathy, ebullience and sense of fun.

He wore his polished uniforms and glistening medals with great pride. His country meant a lot to him. Although a dire necessity, to lead the Airforce during the war was a thankless job. He was also a patriot and an optimist who saw more clearly than many of his peers. In all this, he did not worry too much about what people thought of him, so long as he was convinced of the correctness of a course of action. Terrence took on the most demanding job when his country needed him most and was ever willng to do it to the best of his ability. As a strategist he took critical decisions to win his battles. His far-sighted persistence sleepless tact, immovable calmness and patience gave him a tremendous advantage. In the Forces he was a witty, kind-hearted, inspiring figure which gave him much respect. His courtesy and tact earned him the confidence of all ranks.

Throughout his career he abhorred publicity and was rarely seen in the media. Terrence was the very antithesis of the high-profile commander of the Armed Forces. He was fearless, forthright and dogged in his belief in the rule of law. Terrence had the guts, determination, stamina and the energy to carry out his mission in life. But his high moral values, ethics and principles made him retire early in 1994 with the comment "I am tired of bloodshed and will seek a spiritual way of life". He spent his later years in meditation which brought peace and contentment to his life.

The death of his son Kamal earlier this year was a hard blow from which he never fully recovered.

He was also warm, witty and compassionate, and touched the lives of innumerable people. Terrence was a great leader and will always be remembered for his loyalty, dignity and humanity as one of the finest Air Chief Marshalls we have had. Despite a long and distinguished career Terrence declined a Military funeral.

Sunday Times of Sri Lanka:

There was of course a good deal of public indignation, both local and international, about the work of the Airforce. Evidently the Airforce Chief was himself uncomfortable about what was going on and asked for early retirement. Air Marshal Terrence Gunawardene told the Sunday Times (16/1/94) that he was ‘tired of bloodshed and will seek a spiritual way of life.’ According to circles close to him, he had not wanted to carry out bombing operations where civilians would be the likely targets, but the government had insisted contrary to his wishes.

From the Sri Lanka Airforce Archives:

On the 1st of August 1990 Makalandage Johnny Terrence De Silva Gunawardena took over as the eighth commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, having being promoted to the rank of Air Marshal.

Groomed in the early days of his life at Wesley College Colombo, Terrence Gunawardena joined the Air Force on 31st December 1959 and was commissioned in 1961. Referred to, within close circles, as ‘Terry’, he served as a squadron pilot in many squadrons. He was also a pioneer in the early jet era flying Jet Provost and MiG 17 jets.

His rise through the ranks was made colourful by the training that he received at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell UK and the National Defence College, New Delhi, India. Prior to being appointed as the Commander he held the appointments of Commanding Officer No 2 Squadron and Commandant Air Force Academy China Bay among many other such key appointments. He took over duties as Chief of Staff in March 1986 from where he rose to the pinnacle of his career.

Wesley College Prefects 1957

The Wesley College Soccer Team - 1957



Air Marshal Terrence Gunawardena was instrumental in reviving the fighter jet capability of the Sri Lanka Air Force – an aspect that had long been forgotten and neglected. Under his concept the SLAF acquired the Chinese F 7 which spawned a new generation of men and machines. The Argentinian FMA IA 58 Pucara and the Mil Mi 17 were two other notable acquisitions to the SLAF during his tenure. Both the F 7 and Mi 17 proved to be invaluable during the campaign against terrorism. He also introduced the zonal concept which was used in administration of the Air Force.

Air Marshal Gunawardena was awarded the Vishista Seva Vibushanaya in recognition of a distinguished career with the SLAF. He handed over command on 16th February 1994. He was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal upon retirement.

May he find Eternal Peace


In Memoriam - O.K Jayantha

Obituary - 20th June 2014

JAYANTHA - O.K. Beloved son of the late Mr O.K. Albert and Mrs U. Somawathie Perera, brother of Dayarathna, Dharmadasa, Hemachandra (Rtd. D.I.G. of Police), Iranganie, Rohini, Edward, Sriyani and brother-in-law of Wimala Hemalatha, Dhammika, the late Piyasena Kariyawasam, Nihal Brito, Iranganie Perera, Sriyananda Balasuriya, passed away. Cortege leaves residence 33/1, Albert Place, 1st Lane, Medawelikada, Rajagiriya at 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 21st June 2014 for Cremation at General Cemetery Kanatta at 5.00 p.m

Jayantha was a former public schools 400 mtrs champion at Wesley. He was a brother of O.K.Hemachandra

May he find the ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


In Memoriam - Charles J A Gunasekera by G. J. P. Gunawardane

Obituary - 23rd April 2014 Age 78

Engineer Charles J. A. Gunasekara passed away on 23 April, 2014 at the age of 78 in Florida, USA..

Born to relatively wealthy parents resident in Kotte, Charlie was the youngest among six other siblings - five sisters and one brother. He had his early education at Wesley College Colombo from where he entered the University of Ceylon to pursue a course of studies leading to the B. Sc. Degree in Civil Engineering. Having graduated in June 1958, he worked for a short period as an instructor in Civil Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Ceylon and joined the Irrigation Department in April 1959 as an Irrigation Engineer. In this position he gained very valuable experience in the investigations, design, construction, operation and maintenance of major and minor irrigation and drainage projects. During this period, he also studied for and obtained his London Charter as work experience was necessary to sit for this exam. He was also involved in the project formulation and the preparation of a feasibility report for a Groundwater and Lift Irrigation project to be funded by the World Bank. His participation in the preparation of the feasibility report of the Three Basins Project covering the river basins of Kalu, Gin, and Nilwala, by the Engineering Consultants Inc., Denver, Colorado can be considered one of the highlights of his career in the Irrigation Department. On this project, he was responsible for the administration, collection of all statistical data pertaining to various aspects of the project, execution of all topographical surveys, all field work such as location of dam axis and spill sites for proposed reservoirs.

It was while doing such field investigations that he lost his way in the Sinharaja forest and had the frightful experience of having to spend a night there all alone.

Charlie was assigned to work six months in the office of the Consultants, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., engaged in the completion of plans and proposals for the project. On completion of his assignment with the Consultants, he returned to Sri Lanka in 1967 and continued to work in the Three Basins Project office in Colombo. It was during this period that I returned to Sri Lanka after my post-graduate studies in the U.K. and met Charlie, then a junior colleague of mine. We became very good friends.

In 1969, he was transfe