Sri Lankan sportsman and sports organiser Pat Williams will be fondly remembered by past and present students of St. Aloysius’ College, Galle, and by all Gallians, as well as the sports-loving communities of Kandy, Hatton and Badulla. Pat passed away recently, in Melbourne, Australia. He was 92.
According to the Galle chronicle “Galle as Quiet as Sleep”, by Norah Roberts, Pat was born in Hyderabad State in India of Anglo-Indian parents. His family migrated to Sri Lanka and settled in Galle.
Young Pat studied at St. Aloysius’ College, Galle, from 1924 to 1936, under Jesuit fathers. One of his teachers was Dr. W. Dahanayake. Pat played in the cricket team, and captained the soccer team in 1935.
On leaving school, he took up a job at Walker Sons & Co, Galle branch, where he remained for the next six years. He captained the Southern Province Football League in 1939. In 1943, he found employment at Norman Armitage & Co, in Colombo 7.
When Norman Armitage moved to Dickoya during the Second World War, Pat formed the Dickoya Ramblers’ Club, which played soccer. He also formed the Hatton District League in 1944 and was captain of the soccer team in 1945. He also played cricket and hockey for the Dickoya Ramblers’ Club.
Pat later moved to Badulla as manager of the Ceylon Motor Transit Co.
There, he joined the Uva Club, which played rugby. Although he never played rugby, he was made convenor for the rugby seasons of 1962 and 1963. In 1955, Pat formed the Uva Hockey Association, and was its secretary for nine years. From 1957 to 1963 he promoted badminton by forming his own Badminton Club, The Badulla Comets.
In 1964, Pat joined the Sun (Davasa group of newspapers) as a sports reporter. In 1966, he moved to Kandy to cover soccer, hockey and cricket for the Sun newspaper. While in Kandy, he formed The Kandy Cricket Association.
In 1969, Pat migrated to Australia, and worked at General Motors Holden until 1980. After his retirement, he formed The Old Aloysian Club. The Aloysian Quarterly was established in 1984, and Pat was editor and patron of the quarterly for 25 years. Aloysians residing in Australia and abroad helped him in this project. The quarterly, which comes out three times a year, now reaches readers in Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Jordan, France, Switzerland, the UK, Canada and the US.
I was happy to be in contact with Pat over the last 25 years, providing him with news and photos of the college, past pupils and Galle Town for the Old Aloysian News Mag.
A true Gallian, Pat loved Galle town and his alma mater up to the very end. He was deeply concerned when the tsunami struck Galle on December 26, 2004. He wanted news about the damage done to the Galle esplanade, the grounds where he had sharpened his sporting skills.
He was happy when the grounds were restored to their original state. Pat’s last request to me concerned the war memorial in front of the new entrance to the Dutch Fort, Galle.
O. P. D. L. Amarasiriwardene