Updated
14 May 2017
Pageloads at update 9730

Pageloads since 16th August 2013
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OFFICE BEARERS 2017/18

President:
- Michael
   Fernandopulle
Vice President:
- Ravi
   Raveendran
Secretary:
- Jerome Adams
Asst. Secretary
- Trevor Anandappa
Treasurer:
- Balraj
   Rajaratnam
Social Secretary:
- Navantha de Silva
Asst. Social Secretary:
- Sextus Perera
Sports Secretary:
- Jaya Fernando
Asst. Sports Secretary:
- Colin Lewis
Membership Secretaries:
- Tony James &
- Ephrem Mutukisna
FoC Representative:
- Ravi Raveendran
Editor(s):
- Tony Mutukisna
- Sunil Fernando
Committee:
- Dr Nihal Candappa
- Joe Sebastian
- Suresh Christopher
- Aruna De Alwis
- Tisutah
- Rohen Sampoo
- Max Anandappa
Eulogy read by Freddy Olivelle
  at the late Dr. Joe Olivelle's funeral


Several of you here today were in Orpington in April last year bidding farewell to Joe’s twin brother Anthony. Patrick the youngest of the siblings, then spoke with his recollections of the school days of the inseparable twins at St Benedict’s College, Colombo.
      I left Sri Lanka in 1959, when Joe and Anthony were medical students. After qualifying and practising for some years Joe left Sri Lanka with his family to take up an appointment in Tanzania. I know he loved his wife Irene and his sons Rajeeve and Sanjay very much and (as you heard from Rajeeve) their time together in East Africa were some of their happiest days. They loved the vast expanse of East Africa, travelled extensively, enjoyed the sea, the safaris, the BBQs and made good friends. Joe spoke with animation later of the experiences.
      In 1971 Joe came to England with his family to complete his FRCS which he duly did. Anthony was already here and the twins met up again professionally at St Charles Hospital in Ladbroke Grove. Anthony’s chosen specialist field was Anaesthesia and Joe’s Orthopaedics. They were both well respected by their peers and the consultants.
      Joe’s consultant was a Mr Harris who was also a minor celebrity appearing on television often. There is this anecdote about Harris’s fee paying patient arriving at St Charles for a hip operation. Harris introduced Joe to this self-important patient and said Joe, the registrar, would perform the operation. The patient was furious and reminded Harris that he was paying good money for the expertise and attention of the consultant. Joe’s complexion did not particularly inspire confidence. These were 1970s. Harris calmly advised the patient that it was precisely because he was a special patient Joe was doing the operation. Harris also asked the patient not to let others know of this particular favour.
      Joe also had a sense of humour as a doctor. When my sleepy and restless two year old daughter cut the cornea of my right eye with her fingernail, I was in severe pain but was thankful there was a doctor in the house. Joe was visiting us. Having examined he said the eye was badly damaged but there was no particular need to worry as I still had one perfectly good eye left.
      Again when I was worrying about an upcoming brain scan, Joe rang me specially to calm me saying Freddy they might not even find anything to scan anyway.
      Joe spent some years working in Preston, Lancashire and he loved the great British outdoors. I have happy memories of fishing in Morecambe Bay, driving in the Lake District and the boat rides.
      Joe and the family later moved to Chelmsford, but before they completed the purchase of the property Joe stayed with us for a while. Joe assisted with the evening meals and I can say he had perfected the preparation of his speciality the Sri Lankan Dahl curry. Joe was then a keen gardener and in the green house of their beautiful garden in Chelmsford, Joe had a varied collection of tropical plants. I wonder if the Eden Project was inspired by Joe.
      Joe worked in several other hospitals in England and in Saudi Arabia and retired some years ago. In his retirement he was an amateur political analyst and I was his sounding-board. If the telephone rang around 9 in the morning I knew it was Joe. He was an early riser, he had read the morning papers and he was furious. Having made his comment he would ask me ‘what do you think Freddy?’. He was a socialist through and through, but he was also pragmatic. Needless to say therefore he was somewhat to the right of Jeremy Corbyn.
      Joe was ill and his condition progressively deteriorated. Did he fight the illness with all his strength or did he have the strength to fight it. I do not know the answer. All I know is he was essentially a good and a decent man. Joe was not perfect. He had a temper, he could be stubborn and he could be very difficult. But he was, as I said, essentially a good and a decent man and in his time a brilliant surgeon.
      I last spoke with Joe on Friday before the weekend he passed away. ‘When are you coming to see me in Devon’ he asked. This coming week Joe, I said. He passed away on Sunday. I can hear Joe say ‘trust Freddy to be late again’.
      Anyway Joe, I have all the memories. Thank you and goodbye.

Freddy Olivelle OBUK
24th September 2016


Announcement

The passing away is announced of Capt. Irenaeus (Mike) Ferdinandusz (1939 – 2016) in Svendborg, Denmark. A loyal Old Ben, he was Senior Athletics Champion at the Annual College Sports Meet in 1957 and represented the College at the Public Schools Athletic Championships. He was also a keen cricketer.
      Upon leaving school he worked at several companies representing them at the Mercantile Athletic Championships in Sri Lanka. In 1964 he moved to Denmark and after three years of service as an Able Bodied Seaman he entered Copenhagen Navigation College and qualified as Master Mariner and served as Mate and Captain on various Danish merchant vessels until his retirement in 1999. During his working life, he helped numerous Sri Lankans including many Old Bens and other foreigners in obtaining employment on Danish vessels. His selfless service to his fellow compatriots and others is much appreciated to this day, particularly by the many recipients of his good deeds.
      A devout Catholic, he was born to a well known family in Mutwal, Colombo and was a parishioner of St. Andrew's Church, Lunupokuna, Mutwal where his father Ignatius was a key figure in the Church and local community. Ignatius played a prominent part in opposing the Government Schools takeover in 1960/61 making a rousing speech and sharing a platform on this issue with Mr W Dahanayake, a former Prime Minister of Ceylon.
      A very popular personality both in Sri Lanka and Denmark, Irenaeus pursued his evident mission in helping his fellow human beings, even in retirement, by teaching children of immigrants in Denmark to attain proficiency in English and Danish.
      His long term partner, Lotte predeceased him many years ago. His funeral will take place on Wednesday 25th May in Denmark. May his soul rest in peace.

Tony Mutukisna, Joint Editor, OBUK
23rd May 2016


Announcement

The passing away is announced of Fatima Dass (nee Candappa) after an illness spanning a few months. The sister of Old Bens Dr. Nihal (committee member of Old Bens UK) and Walter, she was an employee of the Bank of Ceylon for all of her working life. An Old girl of Good Shepherd Convent Kotahena she was married to Norbert Dass of Crystal Engineering Enterprises and was the mother of two daughters Shamindri and Charini. Fatima was a resident of Kotahena until her marriage and also leaves behind two sisters Muthurani & Mysthree both Old Shepherdians and two little twin granddaughters. A kind, caring and lovely lady with a good sense of humour, she will be sorely missed by all those who knew and loved her. May her soul rest in peace. The funeral cortege will leave A F Raymond's Parlour at 3.30pm on Monday 18th April for interment at the Borella Cemetery RC section.

Tony Mutukisna, Joint Editor, OBUK


Old Benedictines in the UK
23rd Annual General Meeting
Sunday 17th April 2016 Time: 1500 hrs

Notice is hereby given that the 23rd Annual General Meeting of the Old Bens (UK) will be held at St William of York RC Church Hall, 1 Du Cros Drive, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4TJ commencing at 1500 hrs promptly.


AGENDA:

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
Minutes of the 22nd AGM
President's Address
Secretary's Address  Click here
Treasurer's Report
Motions for AGM
 
6) Election of Office Bearers.
  President
Secretary
Treasurer
Sports Secretary
Social Secretary
Membership Secretary
4 Committee Members
Vice President
Asst. Secretary
Asst. Treasurer
Asst. Sports Secretary
Asst. Social Secretary
Editor
7) Any Changes to the Constitution
8) Any Other Business  

Refreshments will be provided and the meeting will be followed by a fellowship and buffet to be paid for individually. Thank you.

Jerome Adams
Secretary
Old Bens United Kingdom
13, Northfield
Hartley
Longfield
Kent
DA3 7EW
Mobile: 07985738113
oldbensuk@gmail.com


CLETUS GOMEZ:

Reminicences of a sibling

Cletus Gomez my younger brother, was born in December 1944 the third in a family of 10 siblings. We were a closely-knitted, loving and caring family unit. My earliest recollections of Cletus was that despite his young age he was mischievous but imaginative, robust, self-effacing, energetic but unpredictable. These qualities endeared him to his friends. During his childhood he suffered the effects of hay fever which was colloquially labelled as catarrh.

This meant that he was given dozens of home remedies to counteract it. Sadly few of these were effective. One of these preparations ironically called a blood-purifier, caused distressing side effects of a facial rash which I recognized many years later to be due to an additive it contained, which was arsenic. Thankfully, he survived all these insults to his system and never complained.

During the annual Easter vacations that we spent in Bandarawela, Cletus was obliged to wear a balaclava to counteract his running nose and sneezing. It was amusing to see this diminutive figure, his head covered with closely cropped hair and his vision partially obscured, running down the hilly slopes only to lose his balance roll down the slope, pick himself up scaring rabbits in their burrows, only to trip over soon afterwards and repeat the performance again with no ill effects.

Our Dad was kind but a stern disciplinarian with a sharp temper. Cletus used his versatility to outwit him when he attempted to sneak out for a late evening film, wearing a sarong over his trousers and leaping over the garden wall to join his friends. More often than not he was given a clip on his ear for his failed misdemeanor. Cletus was a bright student in the science stream at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena.

He preferred the physically demanding game of rugby to the more sedate games like football or basketball. With his burly stature and height he excelled as a lock-forward in the pioneering school rugby team and was nominated as Captain. But my father had other ideas as he had earmarked him to be his successor in the family business and trained him in the field of commerce rather than the field of rugby.

His rapport, friendship and influence with the Catholic Priests in the Parish Church was so strong that his opinion was sought on important issues. His generosity was immense, an inheritance from the family genetic pool that even in the midst of revelry and celebrations, he rarely forgot those who were less fortunate and marginalized, engaging with them when they knocked on his door on Christmas day, there being no limit on his bounty and generosity.

Quite prematurely, health issues arose which necessitated major cardiac surgery in a hospital in the UK which was successful but nevertheless, this slowed down his pace of living. His end was quite sudden following a later medical misadventure which left an enormous void in our family circle and in the hearts of those who had known him.

Following his premature demise, tributes were paid both by friends and acquaintances where they recalled that he often waived the cost of the stay at the family hospital if they requested a reduction in the bill. Had he lived, he would have celebrated his 70th birthday this month which would have been a wonderful celebration. We all remember him as one who was all things to all people and with a heart as large as his self. May God grant him his eternal reward !

Gaspar Gomez
(28/12/2014)
 VICE PRESIDENT SUNIL FERNANDO
ATTENDS REUNION OF 1964 CRICKET             CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM


Under the auspices of the Old Benedictines Sports Club a reunion of the unbeaten Benedictine cricket championship team of 1964, including all those who represented the college at cricket to the present time, was held on 2nd March 2014. The reunion was a precursor to the 150th Anniversary celebrations of St Benedict's College to be held in 2015.

The Captain of that memorable team, and a special guest of honour, was OBUK Vice President Sunil Fernando. Sunil says

"I was there and met up with 8 of my 1964 team mates. Harold Sirisens (USA), Maxwell Anandappa (UK), SriRajan Fernandopulle (Australia) were unable to make it and of course there were 2 deceased; Anton Silva and Sinclair Perera.

It was a well attended function, held in the College Pavilion, which commenced with Holy Mass celebrated by Old Ben the Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Fernando - Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo followed by breakfast and speeches.

The National Flag and the College Flags were then hoisted by me and Bro. Director respectively. This was followed by a very sumptuous buffet lunch served to around 190 attendees comprising of past Bens cricketers and Old Bens.

There was a very good band providing music throughout the day and it was good to see and chat to most of those present.

Finally there was a mini softball cricket tournament for those young cricketers present.

A 48-page souvenir produced to mark the occasion was selling like hot cakes. I have got 8 copies for the UK Old Bens."

On behalf of the 1964 team and all the BEN'S Cricketers, Sunil Fernando, Felix Dias, Lal Wickrematunga, Selva Perumal and Ranjit Fernando, paid a visit to their much loved coach the legendary Ceylon All Rounder R. Bertie Wijesinghe on 6th March 2014 at his home in Mount Lavinia (See photograph below). Mr. Wijesinghe is now 94 years, and he and his wife Dorothy will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary at the end on this month.

  L-R  Felix Dias, Sunil Fernando, Ranjit Fernando, Selva Perumal,
         Lal Wickrematunge and Seated in front is Mr.R. Bertie          Wijesinghe.

  • Click here to see 1964 photograph of winning team.

  • Click here 40 photographs taken at the celebrations by Old Ben Suresh Marcellus..

  • Click here for photographs of reception held by Sunil and Ranjit Fernando for Sports Celebrities.

  • Click here for photographs from Jayakumar Perera who was the fast bowler in the 1964 team

  • Click here for article "Bens were invincible cricket champs in 1964" by Rev Bro Nimal Gurusinghe

FOREVER FRIENDS - a trip down memory lane
By Dr Remy Perumal

Although we had been in regular contact we hadn't met for sometime.  Hence, this 'mini reunion' in Colombo on the 28th of January 2013, was a rare opportunity.

Eric from Vancouver, and Gaspar and I from the UK were on vacation and Selvam and Stephen who now live in Sri Lanka, were able to join us.

Four of us, namely, Eric, Selvam, Stephen and I were classmates at St. Benedict's for most of our years in school. I joined the junior school in the mid 1940's about the about same time as Selvam and Eric, hence our friendship has spanned over six decades. Stephen joined a few years later.

That evening in January, we assembled for beer and snacks at the family residence in Colpetty and then proceeded to the Royal Colombo Golf Club, where Gaspar joined us, for Dinner.

At the veranda of the RCGC, under the whirring ceiling fans which circulated the warm evening air, we took a 'trip down memory lane'. Nursing our favourite pre dinner cocktails, we delved into distant memories of those halcyon days our youth - the ebb and flow of life, as it used to be, in that elegant quarter of Kotahena, where our formative years were shaped.

This pertinent quote I hope, resonates the collective experience of that memorable evening:

".. Friendship isn't about being inseparable, its about being separated and knowing nothing has changed"

BREAKING NEWS
         ITEMS

Loneliness at Christmas by Dr. Remy Perumal Click here

   RECENT NEWS
          ITEMS


  • Mr Jerry Wijeratnam - An Appreciation by Eric Motha. Click here.

  • Mr J. D. Perera - An Appreciation by Eric Motha. Clickhere.

  • "What a difference 50 years Make" - A Christmas Item by Dr Remy Perumal. Click here.

  • Tribute to the late Rev. Fr. Lucian Fernando by Eric Motha click here.

  • Newsletter Old Bens Toronto (Canada) Click here.

  • "Sri Lanka Our Land" - with VOICE PRINT, an Old Bens Vocal Group. Click here.


Festival of Cricket
Silver Jubilee 2013
  • OBUK Photos click here.

  • Souvenir click here.

LINKS TO OTHER BENS WEB SITES
StBenedictsCollege
British Columbia
New York
Paris
Sydney
Canada