GALLERY OF EVENTS - Service of Thanksgiving for Mrs. Hayman


The First 13 photographs were taken by Cameraman Mahen before and during the Service using a Sony DSC – W7, Cyber-shot Digital Camera. Photographs 14 to 43 were taken after the Service by Cameramen Nihal Wanni and LJ using the same Camera. Photographs 44 onwards were taken before, during and after the Service by Cameraman LJ using a Nikon Coolpix 8800 Digital Camera.




A Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for the Life and Work of Mrs. Mary Hayman will be held on Saturday January 12th, 2008 at 9.00 am at the Chapel of Transfiguration at S. Thomas College- Mt. Lavinia.


Commentary - Service of Thanksgiving

The late Mrs Mary Hayman; 1913-2007

A service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for the life and work of Mrs.Violet Mary Hayman was held on Saturday the 12th January 2008 at 9.00a.m. at the Chapel of Transfiguration S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia.

The Officiant was The Rev. Marc Billimoria Head Master of S.Thomas’ Gurutalawa who was assisted by Rev. Lloyd Weerasooriya, Chaplain of S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia and Rev. Andrew Gnaniah, Chaplain of the College at Gurutalawa.

The service started with formal words of introduction and an appropriate passage from the new Testament, expressing the Christian Hope “We look not for the things that are seen but for the Things that are unseen….” and a focus on Mrs.Hayman as the purpose for which the gathering had assembled.

The opening Hymn “Now thank we all our God” introduced the liturgy for the celebration of the Eucharist ( the Holy communion service). Significantly Old Boys who had had close relations with the Schools in her time were inducted to participate in appropriate sections of the service.

Mr.Chandra Schaffter did the old testament reading while the Epistle from the new testament was read by the Senior Sacristan of S.T.C.Gurutalawa. After the hymn ‘Blest are the pure in heart” the Chaplain of S.T.C.Mount Lavinia did the reading from the Gospel. This was followed by the Eulogy which was delivered by The Headmaster Rev.Marc Billimoria and a Tribute by Mr. P.S.Duleepkumar. The Texts of these contributions are recorded independently.

However the thrust of the Eulogy was that Mrs.Hayman was one of the Great Cloud of Witnesses that has served the Church through the ages and that remembering her is to Re Member her and hold back as it were the process of dismembering that follows death so that she lives on in our hearts and minds. The tribute characterized her as a person with nerves of steel and a heart of Gold…. Fearless and Compassionate.

At the offertory Mr. R.B.Wijesingha and Mr. Gerald De Alwis took up from the knave of the church the Elements of The Bread and Wine symbolic of Jesus Christs’s offering of himself at the Cross for the sins of the whole world to be consecrated at the Climax of the Service by the Officiating priest Fr.Marc. and the shared diatribution subsequently in an act of communion and fellowship and as a means of Grace. In particular at this service we offer Mrs.Hayman’s soul as the Beneficiary of that one perfect and sufficient Sacrifice perpetually available.

Then followed the Intercessions for all people led by Mr.Yohesan CassieChetty Headmaster of the Prep School Colpetty; and a Special prayer of Thanksgiving and Praise for Mrs.Hayman’s life…….” We praise you that in bearing your image she brought light to may lives, especially those at S.Thomas’ College Gurutalawa………..saw in her friendship reflections of your compassion, in her integrity demonstrations of her goodness, and in her faithfulness, glimpses of your eternal love……”

The sharing of Peace institutionalized by the exchange of Greetings was followed by the offertory hymn “ For all the Saints’ and the participation of Communion during which the Choir sang the moving and beautiful hymn “ Bread Of Heaven’. The communion was followed by a period of Silence after which the choir sang The Nunc dimities as an act of commendation.

The organist and Choir master then played the Famous Dead March from Saul by Handel which resonated the poignancy of the occasion to which the congregation traditionally and rightfully stood.

The service was then brought to a close with the final Blessing, the dismissal, And the closing Hymn ‘Ye holy angels bright’.

The Order of Service was arranged by the Head Master Rev. March Billimoria And reflected the sensibility of the special occasion in a fine harmony with its liturgical structure. The Choir of S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia was in attendance and made a qualitative difference to the Service under its Choirmaster Mr.Vinodh Senadheera who was also the organist. A special word of Thanks to them.

The gathering which included The Warden Mr.David Ponniah who is also the Patron Of The O.B.A. then had a period of fellowship on the Chapel steps over a cup of Tea. Quite a few of the Old Boys who were in Guru, at the time Mrs. Hayman was The Sick room Matron were present, but the representation could have been better. This reflected the allusion in the Tribute to those famous lines Of Christiana Rossetti:-

‘If thou wilt Remember, If Thou wilt Forget’.





12th January 2008

May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Epistle to the Hebrews Chapter 12 and verse 1 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’

The history of the Church in countries like ours has witnessed men and women of faith leaving their homes, their safe spaces, their familiar world and coming to places like this where they served God by serving the people with love and devotion seeking nothing in return. All our Church institutions and Schools are a testimony to the work of such men and women whose example of devotion, selflessness and sacrifice were inspiring, even though many today would consider them foolish to have done what they did. Women of Faith like Murial Hutchins of Karuna Nilayam in Kilinochchi and Evelyn Karney of the Talawa Mission, men of God such as Bishop James Chapman, Dr R. L. Hayman and Mr W. T. Keble are but a few of these great men and women who form the ‘Cloud of Witnesses’ that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to.

For a Christian the whole process of remembering is to ‘re-member’ or put back together, almost the opposite of dis-member. When Jesus instructed his Apostles at the Last Supper to ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ he was really saying ‘Do this to remember me’ and this has become the central act of Christian worship. In remembering we re-member or put back together Christ and what he stood for and died for. For Christians therefore ‘the Cloud of Witnesses’ that the writer to the Hebrews refers to is all about re-membering those who have gone before us – the Communion of Saints to which all Christians who have died in the faith of Christ belong.

The woman we have gathered to give thanks for and to remember this morning Violet Mary Hayman was one such person, who together with her husband Dr R. L. Hayman epitomized the selfless devotion and sacrificial service that was so much a part of the lives of missionary-teachers of yesteryear. The quotation of Bishop Graham-Campbell’s speech at the 1963 Guru Prize Giving shows just how much they were held in esteem by people of that era. Mary Hayman, from all that I have heard from people who knew her and from what I have read, was a woman of great faith. She was humble and unassuming and a loving, gentle person. Many old boys and a couple of the staff left at Guru who knew her testify to her motherly and caring nature as Matron, and although Dr Hayman and she did not have children of their own they were surrogate parents to all the boys at Guru. One old boy writing in the history of the College has observed, quite rightly, that ‘Mrs Mary Hayman in her own right will assuredly have her place in the annals of the College and in the hearts and minds of all the Old Boys of the school who have had the good fortune to have been under her care and know her as a true friend.’ It was a very pleasant and moving surprise for me last week to receive a letter from Mrs Hayman’s solicitor informing me that she had left the school a legacy in her Last Will – such was her love for Guru to the last!

What was her secret and what are the lessons of her life for us? This is what the process of re-membering calls for.

In Luke 10: 41 Jesus tells Martha thought she was doing something great by running around, busily preparing a meal for him that she lacked what was really important. He said “but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” What did Mary of Bethany choose that Martha did not? Quite simply Mary chose to listen to Jesus rather than be worried about trying to serve him without sitting at his feet. The Mary we remember today was able to do all that she did because of her devotion to her Lord at whose feet she sat and whose will she sought to fulfil in the lives of young people. She chose the better part indeed and those of you gathered here this morning who had the good fortune of experiencing her loving care will undoubtedly testify to this fact.

In giving thanks for Mrs Hayman and all she stood for and meant to the Thomian community at large and the Thomian Family of Gurutalawa we are called this morning to re-member those parts of her and make them part of our own journey that we have left in this life. So what are the qualities we would do well to re-member?

As we re-member her loving nature should we not consider how much we need to reflect a love and kindness and compassion in a world that sadly lacks these virtues?

As we re-member her devotion and selfless service to S. Thomas’ College should we not be inspired to devote ourselves to the service of the School whether it be at Mount Lavinia or Gurutalawa? Perhaps we need to remind the present generation of teachers and staff of the kind of self sacrificial service that both the Haymans invested in building the School at Guru? One of the sad realities of our times is that while we scapegoat our colonial rulers for all the ills of the present day we rarely appreciate the fact that we are still reaping the harvest of what they sowed – in some cases perhaps we have even destroyed the crop completely!

As we re-member Mrs Hayman’s humility perhaps we need to remind ourselves of the need for humility in our dealings with others. For it is humility that helps us to truly appreciate and respect others and esteem others above ourselves and our selfish interests.

So today may we not just go through this service and forget – may we instead commit ourselves to re-membering and to the dedicated service of all that Mrs Hayman stood for, worked for and represents today.

A few weeks ago I was at a wedding in Colombo and an old Thomian was having a chat with me about Guru and said at the end of it that he felt that Guru was a lost cause and that I was wasting my time there. Needless to say I disagreed most strongly with his sentiments, and reflecting on that conversation later I was convinced that I had been right to do so for if we were to give up on Guru that would be a betrayal of all that our founders sacrificed and gave up on its behalf. It would be inexcusable for us to turn our backs on the values that Dr and Mrs Hayman stood for. History will judge us as great betrayers of a sacred trust. The cloud of witnesses for Thomians starting with Bishop James Chapman our revered founder, all our Wardens and others who guided the destinies of the Thomian Family of Schools since 1851 continues to be our inspiration today. May we never let them down.

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ Amen.



Tribute to Mrs. Mary Hayman

Mrs.Mary Hayman- Tribute at the Service of Remembrance and Thanks Giving at the Chapel of the Transfiguration S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia 12th January 2008.

‘When I am dead my dearest
Sing no sad songs for me.
Plant thou no roses at my head
Nor shady Cypress tree.
Be the green grass above me
With flowers and dew drops wet.
And if Thou wilt remember,
And if thou wilt forget.’

These lines from Christiana Rosetti resonates the sentiments of the late Mary Hayman when she wrote in her will, ‘I want a simple funeral and no flowers Please. “ In life she never imposed on any one and so too indeed on her death. She was a person who disliked fuss, putting people out, and shunned the limelight. But Today in this service it is Right and we are privileged to Remember And give her Centre Stage.

Mrs.Mary Hayman was the last but not the least of that great Triumvirate which Guided the destiny of S.Thomas’ College at Gurutalawa in its formative years. Under the shadow of the legendary Dr.Rollo Hayman, subwarden of S.Thomas’ Mount Lavinia and later the first Headmaster of S.Thomas’ College at Gurtalawa Mrs.Hayman emerged from it, albeit in her characteristic subdued manner and established herself as a person of great value in her own right.

She was born Mary Rudd in Sutton Surrey and her family settled Down in Worcestershire. She was an ardent supporter of Worcestershire in the County Cricket Championship and one immediately established a strong rapport with her in her unsuspected interest both in the county cricket Championship and the F.A.Cup. It was a rapport which undergirded a lifelong friendship and evokes nostalgic memories no less compelling than one has for Dr.Hayman and Canon Foster.

Trained as a nurse Mary Rudd jointed the Army and in the line of Service was sent to the military base Hospital in Bombay. In fulfillment of the axiom that God works in a mysterious way his wonders to perform the guiding hand in its benevolence brought her to Ceylon, happily so called at the Time, where she took up duties at S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia which had been requisitioned for a military hospital.

Part of the College was relocated in a show piece Farm of 35 acres at Gurutalawa Where Dr..Hayman was in charge and it was a matter of time before she met Dr.Hayman in an exchange hiking visit from the Army camp at Diyatalawa accompanied by a Major Kirk. It was a fortuitous meeting which had Dr.Hayman Reversing roles and playing the nurse to remove some leaches which had adhered to the future Mrs.Hayman’s Feet.

They married in 1945 when Dr.Hayman took his home leave in England and returned as Dr and Mrs.Hayman initially to help Warden De Saram rehabilitate the School at Mount together with Fr.Foster as Chaplain, also returned from Home Leave. Their Job Done they were released to go back to The College at Gurutalawa, commencing from the first term in 1948.

As a nurse Mrs.Hayman epitomized the highest standards of the profession and as sickroom matron she established her own particular Regency over the Thomian community. If Gurutawala was a showpiece farm with its Keatsian ambience Mrs.Hayman made the sickroom a haven of care and love. She was particularly concerned with the Junior boys that they were warm against the cold and gave two of the attendants a rigorous training such that they could cope in her absence. She had a bug bear that the food served was hot and that the kitchens were kept clean and airy.

Apart from ministering To the boys of the college she opened its doors to the surrounding Villages and they came to her from every dell. It was characteristic of her that those needing Hospital attention were sent in the school vehicle to Badulla 25 miles away with firm instructions to the accompanying attendant from the school to take good care of the patient which she would follow up with a telephone call to the hospital, monitoring progress. It was more than professional care. It was compassion!.

She was a committed environmentalist and her Regency included the house keeping of the vast campus redolent with Gum and Fir Trees, fruits of every Kind and flowers of every hue. Under her unrelenting eye Grass was mowed, Hedges were trimmed, flowerbeds bloomed, roofs and gutters were cleared of leaves and twigs. Her Ubiquity kept everyone, Staff, boys, Domestics and Farm Labourers on their toes. So too the cooks in the kitchen and the house boys in the Dormitories and I suspect even when the occasion demanded, Canon Foster and Dr.Hayman. These occasions though rare arose from moments of indecision and the predeliction to be soft, when firmness was the order of the day. She was a Florence Nightingale no doubt but with more than a touch of Margaret Thatcher.

Her outreach to the farm included in particular the guardianship of the trees in the campus. It was not just that she saw in their conservation the opportunity for bird watching which was her pet hobby but she was sensitive to the amplitude of its ecological implications and this, long before it became a global concern as it has become now. Inevitably it brought her in confrontation with the Welsh Farm manager of the time who was pressing for a larger extent of pasture land for the dairy. I believe the lease of the Nine acre block was Dr.Hayman’s resolution of an embarrassing Empasse as Mrs.Hayman stood her Ground.

She extended her vocational remit not just to the vegetation around but to all forms of natural life. She once received a Turkey for Christmas which lived to a ripe old age and died a natural death. On another occasion some villagers brought her a python which she duly released with Piyasena the driver’s assistance by the very same sisal plant where it was captured. She always had a Siamese cat as a pet to which she added a deer and a peacock which actually followed her around She empathized with them as S.Francis would have done presiding as he was as the Patron saint of the College Chapel.

Mrs.Hayman was slightly built, always very simply dressed and had the minimum make up, if at all. She was very much the country lass unspoilt by her exalted position as the Head masters wife and completely free of any desire to acquire the sophistication that would entrap lesser beings to butress shallow personalities. But Integrity was the shared value of this famed Gurutalawa triumvirate-that rare and elusive quality of being true to yourself. She was soft spoken as one would expect and when she did speak it was in a whisper. She had a great sense of fun and was equal to making humorous asides, Deflating the pompous and exposing the spurious. Her asides were made sotto voice’ with close and understanding friends. There was no malice or littleness in her.

The ship that brought her to Colombo dropped anchor perforce a safe distance away from the harbour which was under attack by a Japanese air squadron, on Easter day April 2nd 1942. She watched the ominous fireworks display with equanimity from the deck of her ship and wondered if it was a foretaste of things to come. One of the Japanese planes crashed in the big club grounds. But the Dangerous moment Passed. She knew no danger and had a particular fearless disposition.

One such was an expedition with some old boys on holiday to explore a cave which tradition maintained reached all the way by a tunnel to the banks of the Kelani in the Siyanne Korale. She was gone missing for about One and a Half hours and emerged from that to the eye was a black hole full of bats and sundry rodents, to the Great relief of Canon Foster and some old boys on holiday but one who had the guts to accompany her. To Mrs.Hayman it was just another day at the office.

Mrs.Hayman retired in 1963 when Dr.Hayman himself decided to leave. It was a wrench for the School. 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 Logical 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.

Having settled down in Bournemouth, Dr.Hayman’s home. Mrs.Hayman spent Her retirement in ever the Ministering angel looking after the Old, The infirm and the Bed ridden. These included Miss.Mowena Hayman Dr.Hayman’s sister, Miss.Joan Foster Canon Foster’s sister and Miss.Blanchard of prep. school fame: 3 with Thomian connections of seventeen in all, at the height of her self obligated Ministry. On Dr.Hayman’s death she was justly made patron of The Old Thomian association in the U.K.a position she held till about a few years Before her death on November the 17th 2008 at the age of 94.

On her later visits she was progressively dismayed at the State of affairs in the Country and its noxious effect on the values system which spawned the Thomian Ethos.

Laid Back, softspoken and simple Mrs.Hayman had nerves of steel and a heart of Gold. She will assuredly have a place in her own right in the annals of the College. She lives on according to her faith elevated by the quality of her life In a dimension beyond the ken of human consciousness.

And we shall not forget. We shall Remember. Her memory remains within our domain, Inspiring us by example 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.


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