GALLERY OF EVENTS - Diamond Jubilee Dinner Dance Nov 2002

A write up of this event with images is also available

The Display Board outside the Function Room
The Main Banner behind the Band Stand
The Army Bag Pipes at the entrance
Guests at the Registration Desk, purchasing Souvenirs and the Members Directory.
The Head Master Mr.Geethal Mendis (President of the OBA) and Mrs.Mendis being welcomed by the Senior Vice President P.S. Duleepkumar.
2. Duleep with HM
Sunil Watawala, (Vice President OBA and Chairman, Organizing Committee) places the button hole on the Head Master whilst Bandula Wanigasekera looks on.
The Senior Vice President with Mr. Frank Jayasinghe (a former Headmaster of Gurutalawa) and Rizvi Jalill - (Secretary, Organising Committee).
The Senior Vice President with Dr. David Ponniah (Warden STC Mt. Lavinia and Patron of the OBA)and Mr. Frank Jayasinghe
Sanath Jayatilaka, (Attorney-at-Law) and Jimmy Samaraweera (Governor North Central Province) at the entrance.
A M Chandrasekera (Headmaster, S. Thomas College, Bandarawela) and his wife at the Registration desk
The Senior Vice President with Sunil Watawala, and his wife Manel.
Button hole for Mr. Alban Fernando (a former Headmaster of Gurutalawa) being placed by Rizvi Jalill
Mrs.Colin Ratnayake, Mr.Colin Ratnayake and LJ
Button hole for Mr. Colin Ratnayake (a former Headmaster of Gurutalawa) being placed by Sunil Watawala.
Gamini Jayasuriya with his guests at the Registration desk
Butani with LJ
The Senior Vice President, Bandula Wanigasekera, .Sunil Watawala and Nihal Wanniarachchi at the entrance to the Function Room
Prabath Jayasundera at the entrance
Some of the early arrivals
Senior Old Boy V.Tharumaratnam (Engineer) and Buddhika Kurukularatne, (Attorney-at-Law) at the entrance
The Headmaster Mr. Geethal Mendis making his Welcome address
The Anniversary cake
Compere Faisal Bongso invites the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour to cut the cake.
The Headmaster and Dr. David Ponniah cut the Anniversary cake
The Birthday Song and thereafter the College Song being sung led by Sohan
The last post being played - honouring the dead
The VIPs stand remembering those who are not with us - The Headmaster, Mr. Frank Jayasinghe, Mr. Yoheswaran Casiechetty (Headmaster of STPS Kollupitiya), Mr. Colin Ratnayake, Dr. David Ponniah and Mr. Alban Fernando with their wives.
Guests enjoying themselves in Fellowship
Distinguished Invitees at their table
Butanis and their guests
Guests at LJ’s table
Guests enjoy fellowship
Guests enjoy fellowship
Mahi, Jojo, Wanni, Gerald
Guests enjoying themselves
Guests enjoying themselves in Fellowship
Sohan provides the entertainment

Guests dancing (01)

Guests dancing (02)
The College Dancing Troupe provide entertainment (01)
The College Dancing Troupe provide entertainment (02)
The College Dancing Troupe provide entertainment (03)
Gifts for the first 25 couples on the floor
Keheliya Rambukwella congratulates a Winner. Lakshman Seneviratne looks on
The Army belles provide entertainment (01)
The Army belles provide entertainment (02)
Dinner time (01)
Dinner time (02)
Tharu Mahen & Others
P J Fernando with Lakshman Seneviratne and Keheliya Rambukwella
Thomian Queen Contest in progress (01)
Thomian Queen Contest in progress (02)
Thomian Queen Contest in progress (03)
The Runner up being congratulated
Mrs.Manel Watawala Crowns the Thomian Queen
More Gifts for the Thomian Queen.
The Thomian Queen in dancing mood.
The Baila competiton in progress - Lasantha & Rozain
The Baila competiton in progress - Muthalif & Manel
Sunil Watawala congratulates the Queen of Baila
The couple that won the Baila competition giving an exhibition
Sujeewa Godage receives prize for the King of Baila - (Stag)
Mahen Ranasinghe gets the gift for Runner Up - Baila
The King and Queen of the Baila Competition giving an exhibition
performance (01)
The King and Queen of the Baila Competition giving an exhibition
performance (02)
Zodiac provides entertainment
The Senior Vice President dancing his cares away
Guests dancing in the wee hours of the morning (01)
Guests dancing in the wee hours of the morning (02)
Guests dancing in the wee hours of the morning (03)
Guests dancing in the wee hours of the morning (04)
Some of the Guests

The Dinner Dance took place at the Sapphire Ball Room of the Ceylon Continental Hotel on November 16,2002.

It was organised by a Special Sub Committee formed at the First Meeting of the Executive Committee, under the Chairmanship of Mr.Sunil Watawala and comprising Messrs. Chandana de Silva, P.J. Fernando, Shervon Fernando, Sisira Nanayakkara, Rizvi Jalill, B.G.C. Fernando, S. Balaramesh, and G.S.S. Perera.

This Sub-Committee went ahead immediately with the necessary arrangements with clinical precision. Flyers had gone out from time to time informing the Membership of the progress of the arrangements as well as the programme of the evening. All monies due on tickets except for 13 tickets had been collected by November 30,2002. 391 tickets had been sold. The balance monies were also collected by December 10,2002 resulting in a full collection of Rs.586,500/-.

By the date of the function ie. November, 16, 2002 a sum of Rs.288,500/- had been collected in advance from advertisements and over Rs.21,315/- by way of donations and contributions. The target set for the event was Rs. 1,000,000/- and every indication is that it will be met. Donations and contributions are still coming in. Many Old boys and well-wishers sponsored various aspects of the function, and this saved the Organizing Committee a considerable sum of money, so that the net collection will be utilized for College Development work. Even the printing of the tickets was fully financed by advertisements. As at December 30,2002 the donations to the Development Fund had increased to Rs.161,896.71.

The Ex-Co will be meeting shortly and will decide on the apportionment of funds collected for the Projects based on a priority list.

The function itself was a roaring success far beyond the expectations of the Organizing Committee.

The Special invitees were, apart from the Warden Dr D Ponniah and the Headmaster, the Headmasters of the Branch Schools namely, Mr. Y. Casiechetty, the Headmaster of S. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Kullupitiya and Mr.L. Chandrasekera, the Headmaster of S. Thomas’ College, Bandarawela. All Ex-Headmasters of Gurutalawa who were living namely Mr. Frank Jayasinghe, Mr. Colin Ratnayake and Mr. Alban Fernando together with their spouses were the other special invitees. All confirmed their acceptance of the invitations and were present and accommodated at the VIP’s table.

The Function Room was filled to capacity and the Hotel Management informed us that this was the first function after their new management took over, which had this record crowd.

While the members and their guests arrived and went through the formalities of entrance, two army female pipers dressed in kilts flanked the entrance to the hall and played welcome music on bagpipes.

Outside the function room were 2 attractive vehicles displayed by United Motors Lanka Ltd which could be purchased by any Old boy of Gurutalawa or his guest of that evening with an attractive discount of Rs.50,000/- with a voucher valid upto 31.03.2003.

At the entrance to the function room the Registration Desk was manned by the Hony. Secretary Shervon Fernando enrolling new members. He was also selling the Directory of Members printed by the OBA in May 2002 for the first time in its History. So also the Souvenir which entitled the holder of the lucky number to an Airline Ticket to Bangkok and back.

The Souvenir itself was enlivened with words of wit and wisdom on every page, and would have been a great source of gratification to the many advertisers, as no page would have been passed over by a reader with a cursory glance at the advertisements. Copies of the Souvenirs are available on request for those who are interested to keep such mementos at Rs.200/- a copy.

Rev. Duleep de Chickera the Lord Bishop of Colombo and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of S. Thomas’ College in his message on the occasion and appearing in the Souvenir said:

“ A strong and vibrant association of past students is an indication of the strength of a school and the loyalty it has generated in its past pupils. I am therefore glad that the S. Thomas’ College Gurutalawa Old Boys Association is very active and its Executive Committee and other members support their Alma Mater with enthusiasm and generosity. Through this Diamond Jubilee Dinner Dance you had planned to raise a million rupees, and I understand that even before the event, you have exceeded your target.

May I take this opportunity to congratulate not only the Organising committee of this event but also the present Executive Committee for the hard work you have and continue to put in towards the development of S. Thomas’ Gurutalawa. The task of the Headmaster and other authorities is made so much easier when there are so many willing hands to assist.

If your founder Headmaster Dr. Rollo Hayman were living today, he would indeed have been proud of your loyalty and dedication to STC Gurutalawa. May you continue to uphold the rich traditions of S. Thomas’ in all that you do. Esto Perpetua !”

Dr. David Ponniah Warden of S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia and who is Ex-Officio Patron of the Association was invited as the Chief Guest. His message on the occasion and published in the Souvenir was on the following lines:

“ It is a great pleasure to contribute this message to your Diamond Jubilee Dinner Dance.

I would like to congratulate the school for its many achievements over the last sixty years. In particular for the number of eminent and distinguished Old Boys who have and continue to make significant contributions in all walks of life in Sri Lanka and overseas. Through these Old Boys the marvelous ethos of S. Thomas’ College, Gurutalawa, has been spread.

We at Mount Lavinia are extremely pleased to work closely with the younger brother school and maintain links of benefit to both schools.

We wish you the very best for the next sixty years and more and trust that you have an enjoyable evening. “

The Headmaster who is the Ex-Officio President of the OBA in his message to the Souvenir stated:

“ I am pleased to contribute this message in connection with the OBA Diamond Jubilee Dinner Dance.

This year marks the Diamond Jubilee of St. Thomas’ College, Gurutalawa. This school has had an illustrious history of 60 years, during which time it has grown and matured as a vital Power House in Sri Lanka. This College has come a long way since those pioneering days, under Dr. R.L. Hayman and Rev. Canon A.J. Foster.

It also focuses my attention to the fact that St. Thomas’ College, Gurutalawa, is not a building or an impersonal lifeless institution, but a vibrant living body, a vigorous full grown blossoming Tree where little boys are sheltered, formed, educated and live in its branches.

Today it is blessed with energetic, hopeful and cheerful old boys who assist us in every way to bring back the past glory of the school. Under their able guidance may this College witness a new burst of life, a renaissance ” “ Esto Perpetua”.

Mr. Sunil Watawala, the energetic Chairman of the Organizing Committee in his message on the occasion said:

“ It is a privilege and indeed my first duty, to welcome each and everyone of you to our Dinner Dance today. Such a large and distinguished gathering shows that S. Thomas’ College, Gurutalawa, has many well-wishers and dedicated Old Boys.

Gurutalawa started with a magnanimous and gracious gift of the land by Mr. Leslie W. F. de Saram in 1942 and who was a Royalist. It was as a result of World War Two that S. Thomas’ College at Gurutalawa was established, in 1942.

But, it was left to Canon R.S. de Saram and far more so to Dr. R.L. Hayman, Canon A.J. Foster and Mrs.Mary Hayman, to nurture it through the years of building an unmatched reputation - the growing up. Their assiduity and care were genuine and this is the reason that still, they are spoken of with reverence.

Over the years the OBA, founded in 1959, has endeavoured to give of its best to the Alma Mater. The golden Jubilee Fair organised in 1992 was a great success. We have continued to endeavour over the last six months to provide a worthy Celebration that Guru deserves in its sixtieth year with this Diamond Jubilee Dinner Dance.

My Thanks to the Chief Guest, Guest of Honour, and Special Invitees, for gracing this occasion and a special thanks to everyone for their presence here today. Grateful thanks are due to our Advertisers and Sponsors of Events for their very valuable support to enrich the evening and for their benevolence to the College cause.

Last but not least, I thank the members of the Ex-Co for their invaluable help and assistance in all areas and especially the members of the Organising Committee for the tremendous efforts and work that they put into make this occasion what it is tonight and which helped to make my task easier.”

Each Guest was handed over a small gift of Dilmah Teas and a Slab of Chocolates at the entrance.

A Photographer was at hand to capture and preserve all important moments.

Proceedings commenced with Mr.Faizal Bongso the Compere and Master of Ceremonies welcoming all present and inviting the Chief Guest, Dr. David Ponniah, The Patron of the OBA, and Warden and Mr.Geethal Mendis the Headmaster and the President of the OBA, to jointly do the honours and open the evening’s festivities by cutting the Birthday Cake.

Thereafter Sohan himself an Old Boy (of the X’periments) led the singing of the Birthday Song followed by the College Song again led by Sohan.

There was next an act of Solemn remembrance which Mr.Faizal Bongzo the Master of Ceremonies introduced with these words.

“ As much as we celebrate here, there are those we have to remember on an occasion such as this. First and foremost is the guiding light, Dr. R.L. Hayman, and his able leuitenent, Canon A.J. Foster, both no more with us except in spirit, as well as all those other Thomians who have taken leave of us forever and staff of the College in years past, many who would definitely have been here today and the heroes of the forces who have valiantly sacrificed their lives, so that we could live. In their honour and memory, may I ask everyone here to pay their due respects by standing up now”. The entire gathering rose to honour those who were no longer with us, while a female duo of Army Buglers played the Last Post with its hauntingly plaintive beauty.

Once these formalities were completed it was time to commence the dance and to the music of Sohan and the X’periments, the main event got underway. Mr. Sunil Watawala as Chairman of the Organising Committee and his wife Manel were invited to open the dance. This done, within minutes, the dance floor was packed to capacity and overflowing. Right through the event the dance floor was found insufficient and many couples were seen dancing outside the floor. Zodiac was the 2nd Band who also obliged with superb music not to mention Faizal who chipped in with his renditions of favourite numbers presented in his inimitable style.

After the first session of dancing the College Dancing Troupe which had won first place in the All Island Dancing Championships gave a display of Low Country Group Dancing. This was received with applause by the guests present who did not expect such a superb display from about 15 students of the ages 11 years to 15 years. This particular event though rather unusual for a Dinner Dance was added as a special tribute and mark of recognition to these students and their Master Mr.Wijesiri who had put in such a great effort and was a fitting way of including the present students in the celebrations.

Thereafter the music started again and went on till 4 .00 a.m. with Sohan and the X’ periments and Zodiac taking their turns to provide superb music.

The call for Dinner was made at about 12.30 p.m. Dinner was available up to 2.00 p.m.

During Dinner time Faisal made a special Announcement of the very special offer to all Guru Old Thomians and their guests present that evening of the Rs. 50,000/- discounts on any Passenger vehicle, Dual purpose vehicle or Sports utility vehicle. In short any vehicle other than a truck or bus which were on display at the entrance. This was a noteworthy contribution by Mr.Anil Wijesinghe, Managing Director and CEO of United Motors Lanka Ltd (an Old Boy of Mt.Lavinia who had joined our Association in April 2002) who was present that evening together with two other Mt.Lavinia Thomians Mr.Eshan Cooray and Mr. Dharshana Munasinghe, who are working under him.

The recorded version of the Theme Song of the sponsors of the special offer of vehicles sung by Bathiya and Santhush was then played. We were made to understand that about 200 Discount Vouchers were filled up and handed over to the guests present and there already have been several confirmed orders.

Then, in between the dancing there were competitions galore with prizes given very generously. The Thomian Queen was also chosen. The usual baila competition and many other exciting and interesting competitions too were seen.
The proceeding of the evening ended at about 4.30 a.m with the gathering standing and a rendition of the National Anthem.

All were agreed that on the whole, the event was very well organized and to those of the Organising Committee and others who worked tirelessly a very special Thank you is due.

Newsletter No.4
January 01,2003

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