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July 31, 2017
The former Bishop of Colombo, Bishop Emeritus Duleep de Chickeira, led the funeral service of the distinguished old boy of St. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, Gamini Gunawardena in Gampaha, on Friday 28th July. The Funeral took place at the Church of St.John the Baptist Gampaha, in the presence of a large congregation. The officiating priests were The Reverend Francis Vithanage, Vicar, of St. John the Baptist Church and The Reverend Anthony Fernando.

Gamini Gunawardena ( fondly known as "Chucker" ) was a real Thomian livewire. He was past President of the Old Thomians Association in the United Kingdom. During his tenure as President of OTAUK, Gamini raised a great deal of funds for his alma mater - through many fund raising activities in London - including the annual Thomian Dance. He was deeply loyal to his alma mater - his father was the former Sub Warden, the highly respected educationist Patrick Gunawardena. Bishop Chickeira was Chaplain at St.Thomas' during Patrick Gunawardena's time in office as Sub Warden.

Preaching at the funeral service Bishop Duleep de Chickeira spoke with affection about Gamini and how he was very much a social person and usually found in the middle of many happenings at College. Bishop Chickeira led many students to Christ when he preached in the Chapel of the Transfiguration and Gamini was certainly stirred by the Chaplain's message of hope in Jesus Christ.

Several hymns were sung, among them: "The Lord's my Shepherd," "What a Friend we have in Jesus," "The Cross," (Sinhala hymn), "In the Sweet by and by," "Amazing Grace," and "How great Thou Art."

The pall bearers were current Thomian Prefects led by Gamini's kinsman, Adrian Gunawardena who is himself a Senior Prefect at St. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia. The Thomian flag was draped around the coffin. Gamini's batchmates and classmates joined in celebrating his life.

His sister Patricia Kulatunga who had flown in from the United Kingdom and his nephew Prasanna Fernando who had flown in from Canada, both spoke at the service recalling the life and times of Gamini Gunawardena. Leading the mourners were Gamini's mother, Mrs Phoebe Gunawardena and his wife Sue Gurusinghe. The former cricketer and businessman, Deepal Ahangama and his wife Shanthini were present at the service in Gampaha. Deepal Ahangama (who is also a Past President of OTAUK) said: "The service was a moving occasion and I am so glad we celebrated Chucker's life. All of us have so many stories to tell and recollect when we think of Gamini. He was my friend and I will not forget him."

Gamini Gunawardena was a very popular member of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in London. He played a pivotal role as the Thomian Representative of the annual Festival of Cricket in London, attended by thousands of Sri Lankans and Londoners. Gamini was actually fully involved in the Festival of Cricket held on the 9th of July in London.

A Memorial Service in London attended by a large and representative gathering was held at All Saint's Church in Queensbury in Edgware on Saturday 22nd of July - organized by the Old Thomians Association in the United Kingdom and Gamini's sister, Patricia Kulatunga. The service was led by The Reverend Kate Blake, Vicar of All Saint's Church in Queensbury, Edgware. Moving tributes by his friends and representatives of the Old Thomians Association in the United Kingdom and the Festival of Cricket were part of the London Memorial Service remembering Gamini Gunawardena.
Old memories - Gamini(left)
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