Royal People

A dedication to those wonderful people who served Royal Primary School & Royal College, in Sri Lanka, since 1835, and, who will be remembered for their committment, sincerety and unselfishness.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


K.T. Thambapillai

On April 19, 1998, K.T. Thambapillai, the ‘Patron Saint’ of Royal rugby (1947-70) passed away. He was 88, still fit and agile. But in a cruel twist of fate he was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing by an errant bus driver.

In 1948 when Royal led by Ashy Cader with 14 freshers knocked the daylights out of Trinity to win the Bradby Shield, “Thamba” played a big role.

An Old Trinitian he served Royal for the right Royal reasons. 1998 was going to be a good year for Royal rugby celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

Mahes Rodrigo, a cricket and rugby legend from Royal and later for Sri Lanka had close ties with ‘Thamba’. He captained Royal in 1946.

“Bernard Anghie was the father of Royal rugby. Late Thambapillai continued his good work and helped Royal rugby to reach greater heights during his 25 years of dedicated service.

“I learnt much from him, on and off the field. He taught us that it costs nothing to live with honour and dignity. He firmly believed in what is right and stood by that principle.

“He taught us the simple things in life. For him the game and the school were indeed bigger than the individuals who played it,” said Mahes.

During that era Royal produced three of the best the game may have ever seen - Mahes Rodrigo, Geoff Weinman (a sports scribe who served the Times of Ceylon/Sunday Times) and Summa Navaratnam, a dazzling sprinter/ruggerite, a double international like Mahes.

From 1952, Royal never enjoyed a Bradby Shield victory. But with sheer determination ‘Thamba’ kept the Royal rugby flame flickering and in 1958 Royal won the Bradby under Dudley Fernando. With all humility ‘Thamba’ walked miles and miles, to give Royal rugby its rightful place.

The present hierarchy must revive his memory. His spirit will always remain in the hearts of those who came under his tutelage. As long as the Trinity-Royal Bradby Shield is played the late K.T. Thambapillai will be remembered.

By Bernie Wijesekera

Sunday Times April 29 2007


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