TRIBUTES | Sunday Observer

TRIBUTES

Berty Galahitiyawa : Valuable contributor to the media

With the demise of Berty Galahitiyawa we lost an experienced and exemplary media person who was always ready to share his expertise with his colleagues.

Mr. Galahitiyawa (Berty to his friends), was an unassuming and humble man who attempted to expand his extensive knowledge about literary and general activities even after his retirement, by collecting and reading books written by contemporary authors, in Sinhala and English.

In his early life, he was a resident of Ampitiya, Kandy.

After his primary education he won a fifth standard scholarship and entered the Talatuoya Central College.

From there he moved on to Nugawela Central College and completed his secondary education with flying colours.

He entered the General Clerical Service thereafter, and worked in the Irrigation Department in remote areas like Minneriya serving the pioneering farmers who had settled in early colonization schemes like, Hingurakgoda.

His untiring efforts to develop himself resulted in his following a course in journalism at the Sri Jayawardhanapura University, where he obtained distinctions.

Later, he joined the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) and worked with veterans such as H.M. Gunasekera and Thevis Guruge. He was a popular newscaster.

People still remember his sonorous and clear voice with which he used to read the news bulletins over the radio.

He introduced new features like the ‘Sanida Saadaya’ and ‘Hela Urumaya’ to radio programs.

He brought Colombo city to a standstill on the day he broadcast a short program adapting, ‘War of the Worlds’ of H.G. Wells.

Later, he was elevated to the position of the Director of the Training Division of the SLBC.

He used to give nationwide radio commentaries on the Kandy Perahera with H.M. Gunasekera, long before the advent of the television.

Recognizing his valuable contribution to the media he was appointed as General Manager of the Independent Television Network (ITN) by the then Media Minister, Dharmasiri Senanayaka.

He held that position for three years from 2004. For a short time he functioned as the Head of the Sri Lanka section at the Beijing broadcasting services in China.

Berty was instrumental in establishing the All Ceylon Central Colleges’ Past Pupils’ Association (ACCPPA) and functioned as its first Secretary.

He has published a book on the life and services of Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara and pioneered the activities that led to the grant of a state pension to Dr. Kannangara.

He was an active member of the ACCPPA from its inception and continued to be a member of its executive council until his demise.

May he attain Nibbana.

Mathu.

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Soma Rajapaksha: A versatile teacher

Soma Rajapaksha of Henegama, the eldest sister of my wife Sunethra Rajapaksha, passed away peacefully, a few days ago at the age of 90.

She was a devoted teacher who served at the Anuradhapura Central School, Henegama Central College and Sapugaskanda Maha Vidyalaya for 37 years. She gave love and care for her students and did everything to help them.

She was an outstanding lady who will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew her.

She had an iron will and determination to get things done despite all odds, and put her heart into all that she undertook.

She was a great listener, conversationalist and a friend.

The staff at the above schools were loyal to her, and tremendously proud to be associated with one of her calibre.

She was a person of strong principles and a devoted Buddhist. Everybody will remember her kind and genuine smile. She was a devoted wife and mother.

Among her other great interests were reading and poetry.

We have lost an unassuming, simple and friendly relative.

May she attain Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

A.D.T. Maithripala 

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