Former motor sports champ and veteran journalist Reggie Fernando dies at 90 | Daily News

Former motor sports champ and veteran journalist Reggie Fernando dies at 90

P ‘Reggie’ Fernando. Pic by Herbert Perera
P ‘Reggie’ Fernando. Pic by Herbert Perera

Former Sri Lanka motor cycling champion and veteran journalist P Reginald ‘Reggie’ Fernando passed away after a brief illness yesterday morning at Delmon Hospital, Wellawatte aged 90.

Reggie as he was popularly known in the motor sports world raced with the champions and won many laurels in the field of motor sports during the fifties and sixties.

One of his contemporary riders was the ever popular champion Rajah Sinnathuray who raced with him on many occasions.

“I knew Reggie as a fellow rider he used to ride a Tiger 100 motorbike at the races conducted by Ceylon Motor Cycle Club. He raced with the likes of the Deen brothers Rally and Zacky and was a member of the Ceylon Motor Cycle Club. He worked at Ceylon Insurance before migrating to the UK where he made a successful career,” said Sinnathuray.

While still racing Reggie commenced his career in journalism in 1953 writing for the Lake House publications Evening Observer and the Sunday Observer. In 1960 he was dispatched to the UK as the London Correspondent.

He was the first working journalist to be appointed to a diplomatic post when he took over the Press Attaché's seat at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Sweden (Stockholm) overlooking Denmark, Finland and Norway in the 1980s.

He was also the only journalist to represent Sri Lanka at the United Nations (UN) as a member of the Sri Lanka delegation (only six delegates) to the 37th Annual sessions.

Once settled in the UK Reggie continued in the field of journalism by commencing a daily paper of his own named “Newslanka” that brought to Lankan expatriates in the UK a daily update of all the news happening back at home. It became a very popular paper and was distributed free the profits being made through advertisers.

Reggie ran the newspapers for over fifty years before he finally retired and returned to Sri Lanka where he built a house in Nuwara Eliya and lived with his second wife Janet before moving to Colombo where he spent the rest of his life living in a luxury apartment in Wellawatte. His first wife a nurse Thilaka passed away a long time ago and they have a son Chin Fernando who is resident in the UK and has continued publishing the paper.

Reggie had panache for being smartly dressed and loved vintage cars he drove an old Mercedes Benz from Nuwara Eliya to Colombo and back and was proud to display it to his many friends.

Reggie was the president of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party UK and Europe branch during the time of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. He was also an All-Island Justice of the Peace.

His remains will lie at Mahinda Florists funeral parlour, Mt Lavinia from 10 am today. The funeral takes place on Wednesday at 1.30 pm for cremation at Mt Lavinia cemetery. - ST

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