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Tribute to the Late Lasantha P. Fernando

Posted on 18 November 2017 by admin

He gave his best to the Ex-Planters Association.

Courtesy: Sunday Times.

Lasantha.P. Fernando

The first death anniversary of our beloved Lasantha, Lassie to some, fell on November 10. His unexpected illness and sudden death shocked his friends and loved ones as he was such a dynamic, active and lively personality.

He hailed from Moratuwa and was the eldest of a family of five. He had his education at Wesley College, Colombo. Lasantha loved his Alma Mater and did a lot for it, assisting the school in many ways, especially in the construction of the school chapel. He was elected the President of the Old Boys’ Association and his final wish was that  his funeral service be held at the chapel, which he assisted in  building.

Lasantha, followed his father, a reputed senior planter, E.T.Fernando’s footsteps and took up planting in 1965 at the age of 20. He joined a reputed British owned company, George Steuarts & Co. as a “creeper”. He was trained under a strict disciplinarian Manilal Abeywardane, Manager of Rosita Estate Kotagala. Having worked on several estates as a “Sinna dorai”, he got his promotion as a “Periya dorai” on Bogawana Estate, Pundalu Oya.

After the nationalisation of estates, he was appointed the Deputy General Manager of the Janatha Estates Development Board (J.E.D.B).

He left the J.E.D.B to form a consortium with the help of some leading businessmen to take over the privatised Tyre Corporation, and formed Kelani Tyres PLC where he was a Director. He was appointed to the boards of several other subsidiaries of Kelani Tyres PLC.

Lasantha married Sriyanee, the only daughter of Dr. Colin and Maureen Gomes from Moratuwa. They were blessed with two handsome, smart sons, Eraj and Chandev. Lasantha was proud of his family, and often spoke fondly of his wife, sons, their wives and his four precious grandsons.

The icing on the cake for Lasantha was the formation of the Association of Ex-planters. He and two others, Raja Attygalla and Wilhelm Balthazar were considered founders of this association. Lasantha realised the need for an organisation for retired planters. The association has its own medical scheme and death donation fund.  Lasantha is greatly missed at all events organised by the association   as he would not only actively participate in its activities but generously contributed towards the expenses of the events as well.

Lasantha donated  large sums of money for two Memorial Funds that the association opened on his request, the “Raja Attygalla Memorial Fund” to which he made the initial donation in order to honour Raja Attygalla, a co-founder and the other the “Mr & Mrs E.T  Fernando Memorial Fund” to honour his parents.

He had a large heart and was generous in giving. Many a time he paid the annual subscriptions of members who had defaulted in paying membership fees. He also lavishly contributed  towards the functions organized by the Association.

To honour him, the Association elected him its Trustee. He came from his hospital bed to attend the Annual General Meeting in 2016 just before his demise. He was honoured once again as the Association elected him the Chairman- Protem at the AGM.  This year, we invited his wife, Sriyanee as a Guest of Honour.

One of his last wishes had been to adorn him with the association tie when he died!

Lasantha had a special place for the Association of Ex-Planters,in his heart and the Ex-Planters owe him so much.

Let us thank and praise God for the life of our dear friend Lasantha !

 

Members of the Association of Ex-Planters

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APPRECIATION: Gamini Gunawardena by Ivan Corea

Posted on 16 July 2017 by admin

GAMINI GUNAWARDENA

Gamini Gunawardena, longtime resident of London, England passed away at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington early morning on Saturday, July 15th. A popular personality, his sudden demise has sent shockwaves not only among the Sri Lankan expatriate community in the U.K. but extendede to the global Sri Lankan community. An Old Thomian, Gamini is a past-president of the S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia OBA in the U.K. He is the son of the late Patrick Gunawardena, former Sub-Warden at S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia and Mrs. Phoebe Gunawardena of Asgiriya, Gampaha. He is survived by his mother and two sisters Patricia (U.K.) and Dilini (Canada) and niece Christine, nephews Pressie and Bradley all living in Toronto, Canada.

A livewire of Sri Lankan activity in London, Gamini was well known as a tireless community activist who did not have the word 'no' in his vocabulary. He had attended his last meeting with "Festival of Cricket – FOC" Organizing Committee last Sunday, July 9th, in London. He was Chairman of a Sub-Committee.

As we speak, arrangements are been made to fly Gamini's body to Sri Lanka where funeral arrangements are been made. The Times of Sri Lanka will be posting details of the funeral services once finalised. 

Ivan Corea, another Thomian batchmate of Gamini's has penned a beautiful appreciation which is posted below:

GAMINI GUNAWARDENA APPRECIATION – BY IVAN COREA

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