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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tudor WICKREMARATCHI: Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera

Although we joined the Medical Faculty together I came to know Tudor more closely during our internship in Kurunegala. We worked together in Surgery with Dr N Rasiah for 6 months. He was caring and kind to his patients and had great empathy for the poor village folk of the Wanni. He had the tremendous gift and ability to speak to them in the same village jargon. Tudor was a wonderfully helpful colleague and I too had the privilege of covering up for him when he had a particularly heavy night, sometimes at work and occasionally in the clubs and bars in the town. He showed tremendous loyalty to his firm and colleagues during the heavy workload and intensity of internship.

Tudor lived in Ambaruk Sevana, which was an old walauwwa gone into decline. This was acquired by the hospital and refurbished as HO’s quarters. It was ideally located in a coconut estate. Being at a distance from the hospital their frequent parties and nightly sing-songs did not disturb the peace. The Medics in those days lived up to their hard working hard drinking image. He was our very own  CT Fernando who sang those famous songs deep into the night often dripping with emotion. We were young in those days and amazingly the public forgave our misdemeanours or so it seemed. His bosom pal was Asoka (AP) Gunatilleke from the Peradeniya batch. They organised the fun at Ambaruk Sevana in that magical year of internship. Sadly Asoka too passed away 2 years ago after a successful career in New Zealand.

During those happy days in Kurunegala he fell in love and married a fellow intern from Peradeniya. After internship he was posted to Dambulla as DMO. During this time I was AJMO Kurunegala seconded from the OPD. On many occasions I met up with Tudor in Dambulla while on duty. He never failed to invite me to his lovely DMO’s bungalow after work. Often even before I sat down he opened the bottle of amber nectar.

Tudor came into prominence in our batch when he apparently threatened to let loose the Maradana thugs on those who ragged us. He boasted at the time he had connections to the Colombo underworld but this perhaps was just tall-talk. Tudor was well versed in the art of  exaggeration. But all through the Faculty days he was a gentleman and kept on the straight and narrow. He was lively, entertaining and humerous. He made a tremendous contribution to the life of that great institution. He always remained a kind, generous and loyal friend.  Tudor joined in the fun and frolic that was endemic in our batch. Tudor was a member of the Bloemfontein hostel that had a macho image during our years in medical school.

He too emigrated to the UK around 1974 and specialised in Histopathology. Here I met him just the once while visiting Dr Titus Perera in London. He was then his usual happy self but much subdued by the passage of years, building up a career and bringing up his family. I nearly fell off the chair when he refused a drink. Tudor worked in Bristol as a pathologist where he was  greatly respected. One of his daughters is a Consultant Neurologist in Southampton. I am reliably informed  he had a fatal heart attack while playing golf in 2011. Some would say there is no better way to go than when doing what you enjoy. I was deeply saddened to hear the news. Even now when I hear a CT Fernando song I am reminded of Tudor. I can still picture his tall, dark figure dressed in all white wearing a broad smile. His loud laughter and cheeky grin are memories for us all.
Tudor, passed away on November 5, 2005  aged 66. 

May he reach the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana


  1. A lovely tribute to a much loved colleague. I remember him well also for his rather volatile temper which at time caused him problems. I think the last time I met him was at the Silver Jubilee Reunion in Windsor, UK, in July 1992. I also remember him for a saying he used to quote, (I think it was originally said by Prof Fernando of Forensic Medicine fame but I may be wrong) and it was about not observing with your eyes properly and missing the obvious, and said in Sinhalese- "Dakka, baluwe naha". He was, as we say, quite a character but his heart was in the right place.

    1. Mahen
      I recall the tantrums too. It was much like opening a bottle of Fanta. A lot of froth and fizz soon followed by calm. He never bore grudges and was quick to put his arm round and make amends. It did get him into trouble and big trouble too.

  2. Dear Nihal, it is good to get to know our batch mates through their good mates, which, however, doesn't speak well about me. But that's how it was. We were all batch-mates together but we hardly knew some of them. Now after all these years and 5 years after his death I have learned from you what a wonderful person Tudor was. Better late than never! Thanks! from Zita

    1. Thank you Zita for your comment. I wish many will do to remember our dear friend who shared our lives for 5 long years.

  3. I am posting this comment from Razaque on his behalf.

    Our Tudor.

    I came into Tudor's orbit long before most of my Batch mates, --- bar Ranjit Kurruppu. That was when the lot of us sat the Entrance Exam @ 133 Vijira Road.--- Visaka Vidyalaya along with Basil de Silva, who tragically passed away following a motor accident. I was the first and only candidate from St. Anthony's College Wattala at the time to sit this exam and Basil, a renegade and a schoolmate of mine from St.Anthony's sat the exam from St. Benedict's along with Ranjith, Clement de Silva (Senior batch), our Cyril Ernest (knew him from the cricketing fraternity even earlier) and of course our dear Tudor. After the last paper we all went to lunch at a Chinese Rest. in Fort. I was tagging on to Basil!!!!.
    That was how I came into Tudor's orbit!!!
    Then at Med.School, after the !st MB and of course where Tudor was also " One of Us"....... we got to know each other well / better, being in Bridge Table fraternity, with Tudor smoking ,'Navy-Cut' and the rest of us only the humble '3Roses'!!
    Then with, the late Russel Paul, Jaimon, & Ganesh and of course those still with us,--- Yoga, HN, Waidyaratne(from the 'other place') we had some great gatherings at my place with my Mum's (bless her soul) cooking and many, many pots........of Toddy from the Wattala Taverns.
    The rest is history, and now that ND has so well eloquently documented Tudor's memories, shall add no more and 'steal his thunder'.
    These are some of my memories.

    May all those passed away Rest in Peace in their respective "ELYSIA"

    "Inna- Illahi- wa- inna-Lillahi-Rajoon" (To God they belong, To god they return).

  4. Lucky, I am getting to know more and more about our dear departed batch mates and a few others living in other parts of the wold who I have not met since we qualified. I really appreciate this chance to get acquainted even at this late date and further I want to say, that we so often find it is too late so why do we not attempt to keep in touch with those who are still amongst us! Thanks, Lucky for giving us the medium of this blog to do so. And friends, let's make more of an attempt to get in touch and at least be read on the blog. Zita