Festival of Cricket UK Donates Medical Equipment to Jaffna and Karapitiya Hospitals in Sri Lanka

Most of the Cricket loving Sri Lankan community has some idea what the Festival of Cricket (FOC) is about. This was initiated by Mr G C Perera , Elmo Rajasooriya and Kosala De Silva in 1989 with six Sri Lankan Old Boys Associations (OBA) to play a 7 a side cricket tournament. The objective was to raise funds for schools in Sri Lanka and to raise funds for Maharagama Cancer Hospital. They have continued with that work for many years. In 2011 under the Presidency of Aruna Tiskumara and in 2012 under the Presidency of Wickrama De S Waidyanatha, there were 26 schools OBAs under the FOC umbrella, taking part in this tournament.

In 2011 funds were raised for Karapitiya Hospital in Galle. We were in touch with Dr Nalin Gamalathge Consultant Neonatologist and Dr Chandima Sirithunga, Deputy Director of Karapitiya Hospital and they made a request that they need some equipment for Neonatal Intensive Care unit. From these funds we managed to purchase an Infant Incubator and the Photo Therapy lamp. We were told that they only have about 5 of these units in this hospital and they were very appreciative of our efforts to get this equipment for them. We met all the nursing staff who treated us with homemade cakes, patisserie and fish cutlets and nice tea, told us that there are very small babies born in this unit, some of them are weighing less than one kilo! It was very difficult to hear their stories and I had tears in my eyes and sometimes we need to think how lucky we are living in UK with all the facilities available to us! In 2012 Festival of Cricket could not be held due to bad weather on the night before, but large numbers of the Sri Lankan community turned up on the day hoping for the best. With many thanks to them and to the 26 OBAs who took part in this tournament, we managed to raise more funds in 2012 for G.G. Ponnampalam Cancer Treatment unit in Jaffna Hospital.

We were in touch with Dr. Jeyakumaran – Consultant Oncologist at the unit, who requested us to help them purchase the Radiation Measuring instrument. We travelled all the way to Jaffna Hospital and met Dr. Jeyakumaran and Dr. Tharmotheram, Senior medical officer and the nursing staff. There were about 40 patients on that day for treatment and this equipment was presented in front of them, and I said to them “You have suffered long enough due to the unnecessary civil war and the equipment we have given now will help you to recover and have a better life!”. On our way back we visited many other areas such as Kilinocchi and Vavuniya and met with a lot of charity workers who have requested our help in small ways for example: used computers, used cricket gear, books and other small items. I think in future we should target these small charities as well.

It must be said that although we raised funds through FOC, we were short of funds to purchase the equipment and there were volunteers who came to our aid because of FOC. To mention few names, Kapila Jayasena (Old Nalandian) Waidyanatha Family (Old Richmondites), Jay Edirappuli (Old Anandian) Natkunam Wimalendran (Old De Mazanodian), and Mr Ashok Kumar Nagamuthu (Yalini Food Products Ltd) and Karai Welfare Society for allowing FOC to raise funds at their annual Summer festival in Morden.

Our special thanks must go to Bank of Ceylon (UK) for sponsoring our main event for the past 6 years and for Sri Lankan Airlines providing us with air tickets for charity raffle draw for many years. We must also thank Mr Kapila Theminimulla (Serendib Lanka Travel and Tours Limited) for providing the transport free of charge all the way to Jaffna and return.

The Festival of Cricket Executive Team that visited Jaffna and Galle were, Wickrama De S Waidyanatha (President 2012), and Natkunam Wimalendran (Treasurer 2012). Dr Ananda Thevathasan (Fund Raising Chairman 2012) also accompanied them.

As it is the FOC Jubilee this year (2013) we hope to raise funds for Batticaloa Cancer Hospital and to donate 30 beds for the newly built unit. We hope we will have the support from All Sri Lankan communities and all the OBAs, and, under the presidency of Dr Gnana Sankaralingam the 25th Silver Jubilee, will be a very successful one.


FOC Executives at Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Karapitiya Hospital handing over the Photo Therapy




The Infant Incubator handed over to Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Karapitiya Hospital


Neonatal Intensive Care unit staff at Karapitiya Hospital


FoC Executives at Cancer Unit at Jaffna Hospital handing over the Radiation Measuring instrument.



FoC Executives with Jaffna Cancer Hospital Staff

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