Vernon Corea, Sri Lanka's pioneering broadcaster, died
on September 23 this year aged 75 years. He was born in Kurana,
Katunayake on September 11, 1927. A descendent of Dominicus Corea,
King of Kotte in the 16th century, his parents were the late Canon
Ivan Corea and Ouida Corea. Canon Corea was one time Rural Dean
of Colombo for the Church of Sri Lanka and Vicar of St. Luke's Church,
educated at Royal College, Colombo where he played an active role
from being a member of the debating society to playing tennis. He
was also educated at Bishops' Theological College in Calcutta, India
but decided not to pursue ordination.
returned to Sri Lanka and went into teaching at Uva College, Badulla
where he met his wife, Monica, who was also a teacher. After the
death of their first born son, Vernon and Monica moved to Colombo.
He worked briefly for Car Mart and then joined Radio Ceylon as a
Relief Announcer in 1957. He took to radio and his career spiralled
upwards. Vernon soon established himself as one of the most popular
announcers of Radio Ceylon. He presented some of the most popular
radio programmes in South Asia: Two for the Money, Kiddies' Korner,
Old Folks at Home, Maliban Band Wagon, Dial-a-disc and many more.
also instrumental in introducing Sinhala music onto the English
Service. Together with his cousins Sangabo Corea and Vijaya Corea
he made Clarence Wijewardene, Annesley Malawana and other talented
Sri Lankan musicians, household names. Vernon's career at the Sri
Lanka Broadcasting Corporation progressed up the management ladder
as Business Manager of the Corporation and in 1974 he was appointed
Director News. Vernon also spent six months in Britain on a scholarship
with the Nuffield Foundation and received training at the BBC.
moved to England in 1975 when Vernon and Monica became the first
Asian missionaries at the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade founded
by the all England cricketer C.T. Studd. They worked for the radio
arm of WEC, Radio Worldwide who were stationed in Upper Norwood
South East London at the time.
After a spell
in religious broadcasting, Vernon was invited to present the first
ever Asian programme in English "London Sounds Eastern"
on BBC Radio London. The programme was successful and Vernon interviewed
Pandit Ravi Shankar and the President of Sri Lanka among the whole
host of distinguished personalities. "London Sounds Eastern"
built up a huge following and Vernon was reaching new audiences.
In 1978, Vernon Corea was appointed as the first Ethnic Minorities
Advisor for the British Broadcasting Corporation and held it until
his retirement. The BBC were trying to be more inclusive and Vernon
brought with him a whole new picture within Britain's multicultural
mosaic. Vernon valued diversity and he certainly changed views at
the BBC. The introduction of the BBC's new Asian Network is largely
due to the pioneering work carried out by Vernon in the late 1970s
and 1980s at the BBC. Vernon was a committed Christian, his faith
in God and the Lord Jesus Christ was non-negotiable. He had a deep
and abiding faith in Christ.
He has left
a magnificent legacy to Sri Lankan and British Broadcasting - with
45 years of service to public service broadcasting. The London Times
(8th October 2002) and the London Guardian (October 15th) paid tribute
to the pioneering work undertaken by Vernon Corea who was dubbed,
"The Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon".
autistic people in the UK and 30,000 in Sri Lanka, Vernon supported
the Autism Awareness Year campaign launched by his son and daughter-in-law.
He leaves behind
his wife Monica, his children Ivan, Vernon and Ouida. He was the
father-in-law of Charika, Fidelma and Praveen and he adored his
grandchildren - Charin, Rohan, Mark, Emily, Rebecca, Jeremy and
Baron De Livera
warrior and father figure
It is quite unthinkable for those who knew Major V.A.P.
Samaraweera, to believe that he is no more with us. Major Vyshal
Samaraweera passed away after a brief illness on October 28, this
Amarajith Paul Samaraweera was born on December 11, 1968 and studied
at S. Joseph's College, Maradana, where he excelled in sports, especially
in Cricket playing for the first XI team. After leaving school he
joined the Army with the sole intention of rescuing the motherland.
After completing training at Sri Lanka Military Academy and Pakistan
Military Academy as an Officer Cadet, he was commissioned as a Second
Lieutenant in 1987 subsequent to which he joined the Gajaba Regiment
as another proud Keterian. Further, he was lucky enough to be a
member of the first batch of newly commissioned officers to join
the 4th Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment.
career in the Army for 16 years, Major Vyshal Samaraweera had followed
many specialized courses here and abroad in which he excelled.
he has served many years in Operational areas contributing to many
military operations and a few years in the Sri Lanka Military Academy
as an Officer Instructor for Officer Cadets. He was awarded with
Bhoomi" and "Riviresa" medals for serving in Operational
areas and "Desha Puthra Sammanaya" for being wounded in
Samaraweera was a pleasant and kind-hearted Officer and gentleman.
He was a warrior during the war, who was a father figure to his
Captain Thiline Jayasundera
The Gajaba Regiment.
faced life with determination
It is a year since the death of my dear mother on November
24, 2001 leaving sorrow in our hearts. At the time of her demise
she was 87, having spent the final four months on a sick bed. During
this period she never lost her charisma. Being her eldest daughter
I would like to write this appreciation in her memory.
I am still
trying to understand why God chose to take mum. At one moment it
seems like a lifetime ago, at another it feels like yesterday. The
one thing that never changed was God's plan for mum. Everyday is
a reminder of how little control we have over life.
With the four
of us to look after, she faced life with determination. She had
her share of duties and we were hard to discipline.
career played an important role in her life. She made her staff
understand their duty towards their patients. Discipline was maintained
with understanding and firmness. She performed her administrative
duties well and knew every person under her. By her presence she
gave encouragement to others to put forth their best efforts.
were wide. She was an avid reader. She was also very good with her
hands, creating beautiful work and Christmas decor. She was also
good at gardening., cooking and sewing.
I quote this
beautiful poem which made the sorrow over her death a little easier
Do not stand
at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
Good-bye Mummy. You are now across the bridge - where there is no
more pain and sorrow.
She helped others
whenever she could
Tina - or Myrtle Garnier was born to a family of four girls
and three boys. She led a happy life and was especially spoilt and
loved by her cousin Iris. She married Benjamin Nicholas who continued
the work of cherishing and protecting her. Later with his death
her two sons, Bryan and Malcolm -her pride and joy -took over the
work of caring for her.
She lived at
Bambalapitiya and her house was always the terminus for any member
of her family. Tina always welcomed her visitors with open arms
and the latest family news. She never failed to produce a welcome
cup of tea or cool drink.
pastime was doing crossword puzzles and she and Aunty Monica spent
many happy hours seeking elusive words. There were some crossword
enthusiasts who used to consult her on the telephone too. She kept
up with all the news local and foreign and her special love was
'Cricket'. She knew every cricketer in every team by face. She loved
talking to people and listening to their tales of woe - unobtrusively
helping whenever she could. She retired to bed quite fit, that fatal
Friday but suddenly got a pain in her arm and back. After being
admitted to the intensive care, she suffered a heart attack and
passed away on Saturday afternoon. So quick - so peaceful - but
what a shock to those left behind especially her two sons who had
done everything possible to make life happy for her. So many people
came to pay their last respects to her - a lady who died as she
lived causing no trouble to anyone. She had deep faith in God and
we are sure He would have taken her to a place void of suffering
or pain. Tina - you have gone and No. 7 Majestic Avenue is no longer
the home it was but your sons will try to continue your ways of
hospitality. May your Soul Rest in Peace