14 May 2017
Pageloads at update 9730
Pageloads since 16th August 2013
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OFFICE BEARERS 2017/18
- Jerome Adams
- Trevor Anandappa
- Navantha de Silva
Asst. Social Secretary:
- Sextus Perera
- Jaya Fernando
Asst. Sports Secretary:
- Colin Lewis
- Tony James &
- Ephrem Mutukisna
- Ravi Raveendran
- Tony Mutukisna
- Sunil Fernando
- Dr Nihal Candappa
- Joe Sebastian
- Suresh Christopher
- Aruna De Alwis
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Minutes of the 22nd AGM
Secretary's Address Click here
Motions for AGM
Election of Office Bearers.
4 Committee Members
Asst. Sports Secretary
Asst. Social Secretary
Any Changes to the Constitution
Any Other Business
Refreshments will be provided and the meeting will be followed by a fellowship and buffet to be paid for individually.
Old Bens United Kingdom
Reminicences of a sibling
L-R Felix Dias, Sunil Fernando, Ranjit Fernando, Selva Perumal,
letus 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 !
VICE PRESIDENT SUNIL FERNANDO
ATTENDS REUNION OF 1964 CRICKET
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
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
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
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.
Lal Wickrematunge and Seated in front is Mr.R. Bertie
to see 1964 photograph of winning team.
40 photographs taken at the celebrations by Old Ben Suresh Marcellus..
for photographs of reception held by Sunil and Ranjit
Fernando for Sports Celebrities.
for photographs from Jayakumar Perera who was the fast bowler in the 1964 team
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"
Loneliness at Christmas by Dr. Remy Perumal Click here
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