MRS. MARY HAYMAN
A description of the events by Kamal
Mid morning, Tuesday, twenty seventh of November
in Worcester was a quintessential autumn morning befitting
the occasion. Overnight mist was lifting to a thin and crispy
hue she was so familiar when at Gurutalawa looking ahead
to the rising sun across the paddy fields from headmaster’s
bungalow, a daily occurrence during almost her entire days
in Sri Lanka. Then, it was a nature’s deliverance
of a cheerful bright day with beaming sunshine in an orange
hue through the disappearing fog awakening its elements
in full glory. Today, though, sun was beyond sight, air
denser and heavier, an appropriate sombre ambience in empathy
with the gathered congregation to bid farewell to a beloved
Mrs Hayman’s family, friends, the chaplain
and Old Thomians were gathered at the Astwood Crematorium
in the outskirts of shire city of Worcester in the midlands
of England to pay respect and bid their final farewells.
The hearse carrying Mrs Hayman in her final journey rolled
its way gently through wooded landscape only to be caressed
by an occasional but symbolic descending leaf, once green
and full of life but now, brown and withered devoid of same,
having performed its duties throughout its life. Trees in
preparation for the winter, and the flower plants having
bloomed and blossomed in the seasons of Spring and Summer
come to rest, as if to comply with Mrs Hayman’s request,
‘no flowers, please’.
On arrival at the forecourt, the casket draped
in the College flag given by K.N.Amerasinghe an Old Boy
who was in Guru in the late Fifties,.
was carried by representatives of her family, friends and
Old Thomians in to the chapel for her deliverance. Sister
Joan Hudspeth conducted a beautiful Service, narrated chapters
of Mrs Hayman’s life from her birth in Sutton, Surrey
through a lifetime of wholesomeness to parting days. Don
Lear Iddamalgoda, a student from early years of the school,
delivered a eulogy embracing her years at S Thomas’
and the indelible mark she left behind. The funeral service
was completed with the College song in the background.
True to her beliefs and values, she had requested
a simple funeral with no flowers, and any customary donations
to go to the welfare of others, through the nursing home
where she spent her final days.
At the invitation of Mrs Hayman’s nephew,
we all met at a local hospitality hall where we reminisced
the life and times of Mrs Hayman with the family, friends
and fellow Thomians over refreshments. Unfortunately, Mrs
Hayman’s brother could not be there owing to his own
health concerns. Nephews, John and Brian, their families,
Mrs Hayman’s neighbours David and Alison Briggs, their
daughter, and other friends from Bournemouth with the Thomians
formed the gathering.
The Pallbearers were:
Mrs Hayman’s nephew, John Rudd
Her neighbour from Bournemouth, David Briggs
Don Lear Iddamalgoda
Ranjith De Silva
Eulogy delivered by Don Lear at the Funeral Service
of Mrs Mary Hayman
Mrs Mary Hayman was a nurse by profession. She epitomised
its highest standards. It is said that God works in a mysterious
way, His wonders to perform.
So it was that with the out break of war in Europe the guiding
hand of destiny in its benevolence brought her to Ceylon as
Sri Lanka was then called and to my old school S. Thomas’College
which had been requisitioned for a Military Hospital .In due
course she met Our Headmaster Dr R. L. Hayman and came as
his wife to a part of the College which perforce was relocated
in a show piece Farm of 36 acres in a hamlet called Gurutalawa
.There she established serving as The Sick Room Matron, her
own particular Regency over the Thomian community of which
we were a privileged part.
If Gurutalawa was a show piece farm set in the Hills with
its Keatsian ambience, Mrs Hayman made the Sick Room a show
piece of Care and Love. Apart from ministering to the Boys
of The College she opened its doors to the surrounding villages.
She was a committed environmentalist and set the standards
for the general house keeping of the extensive campus redolent
with its Gum and Fir trees, fruits of every kind and flowers
of every Hue. Grass was mowed, hedges were trimmed, flowerbeds
bloomed. Roofs and Gutters were cleared of leaves and twigs
and no one dared to throw litter even into some hidden gully.
Her Ubiquity kept every one, Staff, Boys ,Domestics and Farm
Labourers on their Toes.
The preservation of trees which abounded was aggressively
pursued by her and she extended her instinctive vocational
concern for the sick to the vegetation around and to all natural
life. Once she received a live Turkey as a gift for Christmas
and you would have guessed correctly if you said the Turkey
saw many Christmas’ through alive and well. She had
a pet deer and a resplendent peacock and empathized with them
even as St. Francis would have done presiding as he was as
the Patron Saint of the College Chapel.
Mrs Hayman retired in 1963 when Dr Hayman himself decided
to leave. It was a wrench for the School which has still to
recover from the wound. She returned again and again 5 times
in all 3 of them after Dr Hayman’s Death in 1983.On
one such occasion she came as the most acceptable Chief Guest
for the Schools’ Golden Jubilee Celebrations.Her visits
were at her own expense and was a great source of strength
to the Thomian Community. She gave generously from her limited
resources without ostentation.
She was laid back ,soft spoken and modest but with nerves
of Steel and a heart of Gold.
Mrs Hayman in her own right will assuredly have her place
in the annals of the College.
She lives on according to her faith elevated by the quality
of her life in a Kingdom beyond the ken of human consciousness
but still her memory remains within our ken; Inspiring and
Nurturing us to care and to love, not merely the School but
all life and indeed Life itself as a gift to be shared and
given in the service of others.
Eulogy by Dr.Nimal Jayatilaka to Mrs Hayman
- Distributed to mourners
"As we gather here today on this sad occasion to say
farewell to Mrs Hayman,there are many others around the world
who are unable to be present. I am sure they join us in spirit.
We will always remember Mrs Hayman rushing around at STC Gurutalawa,
doing one thing or the other. She was a strict disciplinarian,
like Dr Harman. Together, they taught us right from wrong.
They taught us loyalty and brotherhood. It was a sad occasion
when we gathered before at Dr Hayman's funeral. Today, as
we bid goodbye to Mrs Hayman,it will be the end of an era.
Together, they gave many Thomians at Gurutalawa a great education,
which will remain with them for ever. Many of them are here
in the UK ,contributing in their own way and using the skills
taught by Dr and Mrs Hayman.
Mrs Hayman was in charge of the sick room. It was a pleasurable
experience to be admitted to the sick room! She would bake
special cakes and serve them to the sick boys. That is where
we learnt to play Canasta, now long forgotten. It is the one
card game which requires two packs and at least 108 cards.
Mrs Hayman was always on the look out for raiders. These were
boys who plucked fruit from the orchard. The purpose of this
was to teach us discipline-the fruits were unimportant, it
was the principle.
Whenever, Old Thomians visited Dr and Mrs Hayman in Bournemouth,
she would make a special rice and curry, not forgetting paripppu
or lentils - and the famous Thomian Polkudu Sambol.When departing
after meeting her, it was like saying goodbye to your own
Mr Abeykoon, the old Sinhalese teacher, used to describe the
sadness of parting at death as 'viyo dhukha'. It is the greatest
sadness of all. Today as we say good bye to Mrs Hayman,we
echo the sentiment.
You and Dr Hayman will live in our hearts for ever.
May you rest in peace.
MNDP Jayatilaka (Nimal) (1954-1958)
Mrs Mary Hayman, wife of the late Dr R.L.Hayman passed
away in a private nursing home in her home county of Worcester
shire on Saturday the 17th November.The funeral has been arranged
for Tuesday the 27th November at 10.30 hours G.M.T.
Guru Old Boys of the years 1948 to 1963 will remember her
with affection and gratitude as a Sick room Matron par excellance.She
also spent her time seeing that the campus of 35 acres was
kept spick and span and maintained the highest standards of
She was soft spoken and kind but brooked no nonsense from
mala Fide miscreants.She was a source of great strength and
support to Dr Hayman as Head master and as the head of the
the community that was Gurutalawa.
She enjoyed keeping in touch with the school and the old boys
after her retirement and made five memorable visits back to
Sri Lanka and the School,the last two of which was after Dr
Hayman's death in 1983 ; the first being to open the Canon
R.S.De Saram memorial Library in 1987at Gurutalawa and finally
as Chief Guest at the 50th Anniverary dinner in 1992.
She spent her retirement as was Characteristic of her in visiting
and ministering to the needy elders at Bournemouth..She was
also persuaded to be the President of the Joint Uk O.B.A.Branch
till her health precluded her from making the Journey as required
to London for the meetings.
The College at Guru will remember her at a special service
on the 27th itself and there will also be a special Memorial
and Thanks giving service for her life, at S.T.C Mount Lavinia
in the Chapel of the Transfiguration, as will be noticed .
Mrs Hayman started her stint in Ceylon as it was then known
as a nurse in the Military Hospital at the College premises
in Mount which was requisitioned for the Purpose (Thus Gurutalawa)
and returned to serve the Main School as sickroom Matron in
the years 1946/1947, when Dr Hayman was recalled By Warden
De Saram after the War was over
to assist in the Rehabilitation of the College.
I came to know Mrs. Hayman long before I joined Guru as a
student in the Lower Fourth Class. My father was teaching
Sinhala at Guru and he was living in one of the married quarters
set aside for Staff. Mrs. Hayman used to visit the married
quarters of the Staff at least every other week. She inquired
about the health and welfare of the entire family of the Staff
Member. We all knew how she cared about the health and food
of the students. She was very concerned about the cleanliness
of their living conditions. She was particular that the Dorms
and the toilets including the night toilets were regularly
swept and washed and maintained properly. She was equally
concerned that the kitchen, the food stores, the pantry, and
the dining room were spotlessly clean. She ensured that these
areas were washed every weekend with detergents. She was in
charge of the sick room and the Isolation Ward. The sick room
had a regular stream of boys each evening, to be treated for
their colds and coughs with the mixtures; to be dressed for
their invariable cuts and bruises earned during the regular
sporting activities each evening. The Isolation Ward came
in to use when boys in large numbers contacted infectious
illnesses in the nature of chicken pox, mumps and measles.
The boys loved being her in-door patients when suffering from
any of such illnesses or common fevers. Unlike their mums
at home who put them on starvation diet, Mrs. Hayman insisted
on the boys being served with a hefty plate of regular rice
and curry. She together with Dr. Hayman supervised the weekly
attendance in the sick room of Dr. Blaze ,the medical practitioner
from Welimada who was the Physician attending to the needs
of the College and who was responsible for the immunizations
and inoculations that had to be administered at various ages.
Mrs. Hayman was also very concerned about the garden and orchard
and their orderly maintenance. She had a pet Deer at one time
by the name of Rani and was very attached to her. Although
Dr. and Mrs. Hayman had no children of their own the hundreds
of boys who passed through Guru were made to feel that during
the College Term the places of their parents were taken by
this couple. Indeed the two of them definitely felt that they
were morally obliged to take on that mantle. Whilst Mrs. Hayman
was of the very strong view that the boys in their charge
must have proper food and health care etc. and every thing
had to be done to make them happy whilst in College she was
equally of the very strong view that for the sake of the students
the entire staff must also be treated in the same way. That
is why as I said before she paid regular visits to the Staff
Quarters. Few people would know that she did not stop at inquiring
about the health of the wife and children of the Master. She
went in to the toilets, bath rooms, bed rooms and kitchen.
She inspected all these areas on every one of her visits.
She made sure that the electricity and water service was in
order. If she found that any of these services required attention
she made sure that the maintenance department of the College
sent the Electrician, Plumber, Carpenter or Mason the same
day to have the short coming rectified. On one occasion she
dropped in to see us, my mother was cooking in the kitchen.
Mrs. Hayman would walk in to the kitchen without any hesitation
and continue to chat to my mother. Although my father was
not very fluent in English and more comfortable with Sinhala,
on the other hand my mother was able to carry on a conversation
with her in English. When Mrs. Hayman found that my mother
kept standing during the entire time it took her to prepare
the meal in the kitchen, Mrs. Hayman on her return made sure
that a stool from Dr. Hayman’s Physics Lab was requisitioned
and sent for my mother. Mrs. Hayman took a great interest
in the Staff and as Guru was for both of them, their home,
continued to take an interest in the Staff even during the
holidays. I am now in my sixties. Mrs. Hayman died at the
age of 94. I knew her when I was a small boy between the ages
of 9 and 16 ie, about 45 years ago.. My memories of her are
still fresh. She was such a gentle soft spoken and gracious
lady. I have never seen her angry. Such people cannot be found
any more. All those who were fortunate to know her and Dr.
Hayman will always carry those very special memories. For
all the love comfort and care she gave those hundreds at Guru
may she be blessed with absolute and everlasting peace in
her final resting place.
Sydney Abeykoon (1958-1963)
November 29, 2007
As for me I will constantly call her Florence Nightingale
to all the Thomians of the past . During my training for the
Public Schools Athletics Championships, my ailments &
minor injuries were promptly cured by her magic touch. I am
lost for words to express my sincere appreciation.
M Jabir Junaid (Injured Athlete)
November 29, 2007
THE GOLDEN LADY OF GURU
Politeness & concern was her way of life
She was none other than Dr Hayman's wife,
As a unique lady I would always hail
A twin sister of Florence Nightingale.
Gardening was her part-time pleasure
Trees & plants were a part of her treasure,
Doc's bungalow was a mini paradise
Hey! you hurt a plant & you'll pay a price.
A disciplined Deer she did rear
Rani was her name under her zealous care
Scruffy the cat was intelligent & smart
With these two pets she never did part.
May her soul rest in peace in paradise, in the hands of god.
M Jabir Junaid (Injured Athlete)
November 29, 2007
We are all saddened by her demise. She was best remembered
for her motherly care to all of us who visited the sickroom.
On an occasional day, the lady of the lamp, although she saw
through the pretence, yet she treated us, probably saving
us from punishment in class.
She was admired the way she helped Dr Hayman in managing the
campus at Guru. Her love of gardening, care of nature &
punctuality gave us the leadership to be disciplined men in
today's society. Her loss is irreparable to all of Guru Thomians.
May her soul Rest In Peace!
Nihal Wanniarachchi (1959-1964)
November 29, 2007
Mrs. Mary Hayman –The Last of The Triumvirate.
She lived her life to the fullest assisting those Giants
Dr.Rollo Hayman and Fr A.J. Foster in their tireless endeavours
to create Gurutalawa what it used to be She has now taken
leave of us to enjoy a well earned Rest, Peace, and Quiet.
She has not died. She continues to live in the hearts, and
minds of all of us who were cared for by her.