embodied honesty, integrity and generosity
Dr. Felix Wickrema
Felix was a perfect gentleman and good brother to all of us. Calm,
quiet, humble and kind-hearted, he was a respected specialist in
obstetrics and gynaecology in Britain as well as in Sri Lanka. Above
all he was the personification of honesty, integrity and generosity.
He was a devout Catholic.
was the fifth in a family of five boys and four girls, the fourth
amongst the boys. Felix was a curly haired, roly poly fair kid and
I was an impish, dark one. We used to walk arm in arm down to the
Bambalapitiya beach and we were nicknamed "the Black and White
we settled down permanently at "Uddagiri", Kandana, we
began our school career at De Mazenod College. There he had a brilliant
academic record, being the recipient of several awards at every
College prize giving. He represented the College 1st eleven soccer
team for about four years. At Medical College (Colombo), he continued
to play soccer and was also a pretty good badminton player,
he passed out as a doctor he served in several hospitals- Matara,
Kalawana, Bibile, Badulla, Ragama and at the Castle Street Maternity
Hospital in Colombo.
the early 1970s, he left Sri Lanka to pursue his studies in obstetrics
& gynaecology in Britain. During the years 1976 to 1979, I was
fortunate to reside close to the the hospitals that he was serving
at Forest Gate and at St. Andrews in East London. He established
himself as an obstetrics & gynaecology specialist and resided
at York. He meticulously constructed a hedge on either side of the
drive-way. The front and backyards, had beds of roses and other
flowers and a variety of fruit trees (apples, apricots, blackberries,
raspberries, and gooseberries). It was a wonderful garden. His favourite
hobby was reading and his home library had a variety of books (on
medicine, fiction and non-fiction, science and technology and encyclopaedias).
He was also skilful in the culinary arts.
was unfortunate to suffer from an acute attack of coronary thrombosis.
My brother, Percy and sister Vivienne, stayed in York with him and
when he had partially recovered they brought him to Sri Lanka. Once
he recovered, he decided to settle down at Dangolla, Peradeniya.
mid-January 2005, he had a mild stroke and died on February 6, this
year. We miss him very much. He was a good brother, friend and perfect
A host of saints await you
Anna Florence IMihindukulasuriya
In life you were so virtuous, so industrious, so meticulous and
possessed of such phenomenal powers of organisation that we stand
shocked and grief-stricken by your sudden demise.
thanking God for giving us this rare opportunity of having been
associated with such a beacon of light, we rest assured that you
will receive a standing ovation from all the Saints in heaven to
which home you richly deserve to be admitted.
conclusion we pray that we may be able to emulate your sterling
qualities and entreat you to be a source of consolation to us in
our time of grief.
Ben Mihindukulasuriya & Children
He believed in the spirit of liberty
Peter Berenson died this year. He was 83 and he was
also the founder of Amnesty International - the human rights movement
that now has more than a million members in 150 countries. He was
so modest a man that many Amnesty members had no idea that he had
been its founder - and yet, his warmth and generosity of spirit
gained him friends worldwide.
was the grandson of a Russian banker. His father died when he was
eight and Berenson was tutored by the poet W.H. Auden, then sent
to Eton. While there, his idealism came to the fore. He organized
support for the Spanish Republican Government during the Spanish
civil war. Later, he raised £4000 from his college friends
to rescue two Jewish children from Nazi Germany.
idea for Amnesty was born in 1960, when, in a newspaper, he came
upon a story of two Portuguese students who had been imprisoned
for drinking to liberty in a Lisbon restaurant. He wrote an article
which began: "Open your newspaper - any day of the week - and
you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being
imprisoned, tortured or executed because of his beliefs... The reader
feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust
all over the world could be united into common action, something
effective could be done."
this is what Berenson set about to do. The response to his newsletter
was instantaneous and support flooded in. It marked the birth of
Amnesty International. In one year, AI groups were formed in the
UK, the Netherlands, West Germany, France and Switzerland. The AI
logo - a candle surrounded by barbed wire was a symbol of hope around
the world but growth came so fast that by the mid-1960s, funding
could not keep pace with need and there were many internal divisions.
Berenson was so exhausted that he resigned in 1966, but returned
in the 1980s. He never stopped campaigning for a better world and
AI has crossed swords with Sri Lanka on numerous occasions.
organization is fearless, even reminding us of the savagery and
torture that went on in this country and telling the world, in damning
reports of the cancer that had begun to eat into this country as
Optimist to the end
Rachel Velupillai or in simple, affectionate
terms, 'Baba Akka' lived a full and contented life. She passed away
recently outliving the psalmist's three score and ten.
nurtured six boys and four girls which in itself is a Herculean
task, she saw to it that they remained a close knit family, all
of whom are doing well in their chosen fields, both here and abroad.
who married young, had to face many vicissitudes during her life
time. Even in later years when illness and petty complications took
hold of her, she fought relentlessly with cheerfulness and optimism.
She never worried over illnesses but took things as they came, thinking
only of the present and not of the morrow.
knew her as her nephew first when she married my uncle, but I became
her brother-in-law by marrying her youngest sister, Irene. From
then onwards we became closer.
day prior to her demise, she had inquired about me, but alas, the
following day when I went to see her in hospital she had passed
Brian Charles Gray
I write this with feelings of sadness that Brian is no more with
us. I first came to know Brian around 1990 when I had the good fortune
to meet him at Havelocks.
numerous friends from all walks of life, be they be rich or poor,
businessmen or the downtrodden, he treated alike. He was elected
a Trustee of our club this year. He was one of the most regular
members at the club for the past 20 years. He would come early to
the club, sip a drink and welcome other members as they came in.
wife Swarna who kept a strict eye on him would telephone the club
between 7 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. informing him it was time to come home;
lest he forget. Brian knew very little Sinhalese and when the telephone
rang we used to say Ekai, Dekai, Thunai.
me he was a good friend to whom I could go for any advice. I shall
miss his familiar greeting as I entered the club "Evening Ravi".
Goodbye Brian, may God bless you and grant you eternal rest till
we meet again on that beautiful shore.