Brian Ratnayake - Living Life to the Fullest
PERSONALITIES: Amidst all the excitement of the “World Cup Rugby
2007” (in France), the “Singer Asian Sevens” Rugby (in Kandy) and the
hosting of a fantastic ‘Rugby Banquet’ (in Colombo) for the victorious,
unbeaten ‘School Champions’ St. Peter’s College - came the decorous
delight, of an exciting encounter with a ‘Shipping Magnate’! As a former
sportsman and sports loving personality, who ‘sailed away’ from the
shores of Sri Lanka over 30 years ago...
Brian Ratnayake ‘steered’ his own course and set his sails right with
a solid sense of direction (as a ship would do), to face the passage of
time, anticipate the ‘storms’ and ‘survive’ the unpredictable, perilous
seas of the vast open oceans.
Brian’s excellent foundation of Shipping knowledge and his basic
involvement in sports, gave him the required confidence to embark on an
illustrious career in worldwide Shipping and Trading, making it a
splendid ‘success story’! To say it in shipping terms - ‘he is firmly
anchored in a safe port!.’
All the way from England, Brian was here on one of his brief visits,
to participate in the ‘Rugby Celebrations’-and to assist in certain
sports activities in the country, as well as to sponsor some of the
important needs of his ‘Alma Mater’ - St. Peter’s College, with better
facilities and finances.
Brian was a Founder Member of the Sri Lanka Cricket Association,
set-up in London in 1984 (with former High Commissioner in UK, Chandra
Monerawela as its Chairman), raising funds for providing Cricket Coaches
for the village schools at the ‘Under 15’ level.
This has been entrusted to certain ‘appointed’ Cricket officials, to
‘spot talent’ and to have young talented Cricketers on offer, to bigger
schools with better facilities and opportunities to develop their
talents. Brian is presently the President of the St. Peter’s Old Boys’
Union in London (as he schooled at St. Peter’s Colombo from 1941 to
‘52)- and takes a keen interest in helping those who qualify in either
sports or academics, by finding ways and means to assist them in
reaching their goals in sports, as well as in life.
For instance, apart from raising funds for sporting events he also
has awarded ‘long-term’ Scholarships for orphans and children of Armed
Force personnel who have been killed in action.
He is also the UK Coordinator for the Sri Lanka Air Force ‘Seva
Vanitha’ Unit and renders invaluable service to them, according to their
specific requirements. As Secretary of the ‘Festival of Cricket 2007’-
which has become a popular event for the Sri Lankans in UK, Brian has
largely been instrumental in raising funds and bringing together, over
22 Sri Lankan School’s Cricket teams, made up from the Old Boys’
Associations in England.
Jayantha Edirappuli (an Old Anandian) is the energetic President of
the “F.O.C.” which is in its 19th year and has raised funds for
distribution amongst the active ‘OBAs’ of the respective schools back in
Sri Lanka, such as Ananda, Nalanda, Royal, St. Peter’s, Isipatana,
Thurstan, Trinity, Zahira, Wesley, St. Benedicts, St. Josephs (Colombo),
Dharmarajah, Richmond, Mahinda, St. Aloysius, De Mazenod, D.S.
Senanayake, Holy Cross, St. Sebastian, S. Thomas, Hindu College and St.
On this occasion, held at the Winchmore Hill Cricket Club, London on
15th July 2007 the main sponsor was the Bank of Ceylon, whose Chairman,
Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe was present.
He used this ideal opportunity to offer “Offshore Deposit Accounts”
which would give the highest possible interest and many other benefits,
to the Sri Lankan Business Community. There were also a couple of
thousands of keen fans who turned up in ‘good spirits to cheer’ their
OBA teams, along with other well-wishers.
As the Chief Guest, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the UK,
Her Excellency Kshenuka Seneviratne delivered the keynote address. She
expressed her delight and fullest support to this much looked forward to
event, which significantly helps to bring the Sri Lankan community in
the UK together.
A message of Felicitation was also received from the President of Sri
Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, who stated that “events such as
this, play a pivotal role in promoting brotherhood, camaraderie and
goodwill amongst all those who participate and also create a great
opportunity for all Sri Lankans domiciled in the UK, to have a great day
Among the other high dignitaries who sent in messages of good wishes
were Tony Blair (the then Prime Minister of UK) and Douglas
Insole-President of the MCC. There was also a special write-up from the
Chairman of the Charity Project, Methsiri Wijeratne. Brian Ratnayake was
elected a Member of the Baltic Exchange in 1974, which he says, “I
consider joining the Baltic to be the highest point in one’s education
in shipping... and I believe that this is true in this day and age!”
In January 1979, be launched his own Company - “Lanka Shipping’ and
linked with the Ceylon Shipping Corporation to do Chartering of Ships,
for the National Line of Sri Lanka. From the inception of his company,
he has been closely associated with East-West Enterprises, Captain
Lester Weiman who was the Joint Managing Director and is now the
Managing Director of Sri Lanka Shipping Company.
Brian declares forthrightly that he has no regrets, that he changed
his ‘teenage dream’ of being an Air Force officer, to take a different
path and become a proficient and profitable Shipping Agency Operator,
Ship Broker and Charterer... and then a Ship Owner!
“I would say that I never look back and feel that I could have been
given anything better than the opportunities I have had,” said Brian, as
he travels around the world - “Everyday brings a new challenge and that
keeps my brain active.
I hope my body will keep pace and give me more years to enjoy more of
my new life!.
” This is more or less his main ingredient for a rewarding life, ‘to
take up the challenge’- where he can live life to the fullest, with no
barriers of age or ‘weighty’ - hindrances but to look for ‘new openings’
which would be productive and fruitful in every way, be it on the sports
field or in real life!