Pioneering broadcaster no more
Vernon Corea
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, Borella.

Vernon was 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.

Vernon Corea 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.

Vernon was 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.

The family 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".

With 520,000 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 Rachel.
Baron De Livera

A warrior and father figure
V.A.P. Samaraweera
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 year.

Major Vyshal 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.

During his career in the Army for 16 years, Major Vyshal Samaraweera had followed many specialized courses here and abroad in which he excelled.

Since 1987, 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 the

" Poorna Bhoomi" and "Riviresa" medals for serving in Operational areas and "Desha Puthra Sammanaya" for being wounded in battle.

Major Vyshal Samaraweera was a pleasant and kind-hearted Officer and gentleman. He was a warrior during the war, who was a father figure to his subordinates.
Captain Thiline Jayasundera
3rd Battalion,
The Gajaba Regiment.

She faced life with determination
Beatrice Amarasekara
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.

Her nursing 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.

Her interests 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 to bear.

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
Myrtle Garnier
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.

Her favourite 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

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