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Old 28-07-20, 04:06 PM
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Default The contribution of Dr. R.L. Hayman, Rev. A.F. Foster and Canon R.S. de Saram to S. T

THE TRIUMVIRATE
The contribution of Dr. R.L. Hayman, Rev. A.F. Foster and Canon R.S. de Saram to S. Thomas? College, Gurutalawa.
1942 was a traumatic year for the Warden and Sub Warden of S. Thomas? College ? the late Canon R.S. de Saram who in 1932 had become the first Ceylonese (now identified as Sri Lankan) Warden and the late Dr. R.L. Hayman who had come to the island in 1929 to serve as an assistant master and had been made Sub Warden in 1935. With the entry of Japan into the Second World War in 1942, the Government decided to take over all the buildings of S.T.C. Mount Lavinia for conversion into a military hospital for the British armed forces that poured in to defend the country. Warden de Saram immediately decided to relocate the main school in Getambe, a suburb of Kandy, while branches were opened at St. Paul?s Girls School, Milagiriya and Girls High School, Mount Lavinia, on the basis of afternoon schooling. At this juncture the late Mr. Leslie de Saram, a cousin of the Warden, made a truly timely and munificent gift to S. Thomas? College in the form of his farm at Gurutalawa in the idyllic hills of Uva near Welimada. The gift was unconditional as to the use to which the farm was to be put, except for the expressed wish that some form of agricultural instruction and training should be conducted there. Warden de Saram and Dr. Hayman seized this heaven sent opportunity to open a fourth branch of the school at Gurutalawa. The decision was both momentous and dauntless. Momentous because it resulted in the permanent addition of a branch which was nurtured from a fledgling to a sound school in the Thomian tradition, though in a rural setting, to attract boys from the upcountry areas as well as elsewhere, usefully complementing the main school by the sea. Dauntless in the context of was time Ceylon which faced a highly uncertain future when even food supplies were not assured and almost everything was either rationed or unavailable while rumours were rampart of an imminent Japanese invasion.

Warden de Saram quite naturally turned to Dr. Hayman, his loyal and indefatigable colleague and right hand man, who had done so much for S.T.C. Mount Lavinia in deed, thought and word, as well as with his private wealth, to set up S. T.C. Gurutalawa and become its first headmaster. This team of Reggie de Saram, surreptitiously referred to as ?Kunji? by the boys, and the giant of a Rollo Hayman, affectionately nick named ?Bullo? forged a long and fruitful partnership that created a school of great repute which has withstood the vicissitudes of a Sri Lanka that became an independent political entity in 1948. The third member of the partnership which may be described more accurately as a Triumvirate , was the outstanding chaplain and teacher, Rev. A.J. Foster called ?Fossy? for short, who had joined S. Thomas? in 1932, and was chosen by the Warden for his steadfast contribution to S.T.C. Mount Lavinia in his endearing, unobtrusive and self effacing style.

S.T.C. Gurutalawa opened in 1942 with 57 students on its roll, using the existing buildings of the farm. The contribution of this triumvirate in setting up and running S.T.C. Gurutalawa as a school second to none cannot be readily grasped in today?s context. Gurutalawa, at that time, was an isolated sleepy hamlet without any communications with the outside world, with the exceptions of the solitary rickety bus that went out to Welimada once a day. The only means of useful communication with the outside world was the post and Dr. Hayman?s motor car. It was the confidence and trust that Warden de Saram had in Dr. Hayman and Rev. Foster that made it possible to make Gurutalawa a reality. But Warden de Saram contributed more than confidence and trust in his team. He organized the necessary finances and the required supplies that were scarce in wartime Ceylon, to give effect to the decision to set up the school. The success of Gurutalawa as a school, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Dr. Hayman and Rev. Foster and the staff, gave Warden de Saram the confidence to make another bold decision. In 1944, Warden de Saram took the decision to move the main school in Kandy to Gurutalawa. Again the organizational tasks fell on Dr. Hayman to have the necessary buildings constructed with rough hewn stone, using lime plaster for the walls, gum trees for timber and mana grass to thatch the roofs. Thomians who were in Gurutalawa in those pioneering years will no doubt recall with pride how they were initiated to ?shramadana? by Dr. Hayman and Reverend Foster, who led and galvanized the boys by joining in to dig the foundations for the dormitories after school hours . it was a red letter day for S.T.C.
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Old 29-07-20, 11:45 AM
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4. Fr. A J FOSTER (1932-1964)
a. THANKSGIVING SERVICE FOR PAST HEADMASTERS AND FR. A.J. FOSTER.
Memorial Service for Fr Foster.
The above service was held in the Anglican Chapel at the General Cemetery Kanatte on
December 03, 2002. It was officiated by His Lordship the Bishop of Colombo Rev.
Duleep de Chickera, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of S. Thomas?
College. The Headmaster and the Chaplain of S. Thomas? College Gurutalawa Rev.
Nihal Fernando were present. Flyers had been sent by the OBA to the Membership.
There were about 40 Old Boys present on this occasion. Mr. N.D.U. Kurutumpala gave
the reading and Mr. P.S. Duleepkumar made a short address with regard to the
Headmasters who are no more and also of Fr. Foster. At the conclusion of the service the
congregation moved to the grave site of Fr. Foster where further prayers were offered. It
was considered appropriate that in this Diamond Jubilee Year a service of this nature
should be conducted.
Petals of Flowers brought down specially from Gurutalawa by the Headmaster and the
Chaplain, were strewn on the grave by some of the Old Boys present.
Though it was intended that this service be held on 9th December, the date of Canon
Foster?s death, it was brought forward to the 3rd to enable the Bishop to officiate at the
Service. It will be recalled that Canon Foster died in 1964

Newsletter No.4
January 01,2003

b. S.T.C. GURUTALAWA DIAMOND JUBILEE
My Lord Bishop, Chaplain of S. Thomas' College, Friends.
It is appropriate that in our celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of the College that we should set
a little time apart to focus our minds in remembrance and thanksgiving on the past Headmasters
of the College who governed its destiny and influenced our lives.
Inevitably our thoughts turn to Dr. R.L. Hayman and Rev. A.J. Foster who pioneered the school.



When Dr. Hayman left in 1963 Canon Foster took over from him. But before that there were two
Wardens who were Heads of the school. Firstly the great Canon De Saram, a benign autocrat
with a cherubic smile which emanated from time to time from the rich strands of humanism which
lay like some hidden treasure beneath his stern exterior. It was Warden De Saram at a critical
time of the College's history who ensured that it continued as a Private School and maintained its
identity within the structure of a national system of education.
There was also Warden Davidson a revered teacher at Mt. Lavinia and also a classics Scholar
who came as Headmaster to Gurutalawa to enable both Dr. Hayman and Canon Foster to go on
a much delayed furlough at the end of the War after the sea lanes had been cleared of mines.
They returned to Mt. Lavinia to assist Warden De Saram in re-establishing the school. A feature
of Warden Davidson's temperament was, being a Senior Cadet Master, he did not like to see
boys slouching along in a slip shod manner - " pull yourself together man" he would say " put your
shoulders back and keep your head high". As a Headmaster he ruled by a simple dictum
rendered in Latin - Habeo in loco parentis - I stand in place of your parents.
Rev. Bowyer Yin who came as Chaplain to Mt. Lavinia in 1947 has written of Rev. foster "that he
was and is a saint". One notes the present tense. Rev. Foster loves gardening and the garden
was his metaphor for life - we were the plants he nurtured clipping off the dead leaves of a
misdemeanor and uprooting the evil weeds that choked our moral and spiritual growth. One facet
of his saintliness was that he saw a redeeming feature in every boy however reprobate or
wayward he was and spoke up for him sometimes against heavy odds at staff meetings. But
Headmastering was not Rev. Foster's line of country. It subjected him to great stress and he
succumbed to a heart condition while yet in office.
Address delivered by Mr. P.S. Duleepkumar at the Service of Thanksgiving and
Commemoration held on Dec, 3rd 2002

c) Canon A. J. Foster (Father of S.T.C. Guru)
?Father? yes indeed a father in the Chapel and to all the students irrespective of Caste,
Creed or Community. He was nicknamed ?Amba Deviyo? by the students which he was
not aware of. As for me I would call him ?Amba Yahaluwa? as he was rarely seen in any
attire other than a clean white cassock. Active as ever, frequently he was seen mingling
with students witnessing and taking part in almost all sports during the evening hours.
The fatherly interaction with the students and the freedom to share jokes with him whilst
paying immense respect to his designation was a pleasing sight indeed. I am lost for
words to express my indebtedness to this unique person for the encouragement and the
facilities provided to me.

Mohamed Jabir Junaid 1958-1964
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