Veteran tea industry player who earned the respect of the British planters
I was woken up on April 21 by a call from a friend in Colombo to give me the sad news of the death of veteran tea factory officer Cyril Hettige. Cyril was a product of Uva College, Badulla. Though we studied in different schools, we were very good friends.
After leaving school, Cyril joined Aislaby Estate as a trainee under Mr. R.A. Lushington and Mr. Witham. He was capable enough to earn quick promotions, and rose rapidly. He was sent on a promotional transfer to Diyaraba Estate under Mr. John Barrows. It was not easy to handle the duty concern, especially under the British, but he put the knowledge he gained in the manufacture of tea to good use and got good prices at the tea auctions. Despite his relative youth, he won the confidence of the British planters.
He married Yvonne Ranjani Fonseka of Nugegoda in 1971 and they had a daughter. He was fortunate to see a grandchild too.
A devout Buddhist, he was involved in religious activities at Mirihawatta Sama Viharaya, Bandarawela. A Bo sapling was planted in the temple premises under his guidance. In 2011, he joined the family for the Katina pinkama.
My dear friend, you did not bow to injustice. We have lost a good and sincere friend. You were an example to others throughout your life. Your family and all of us will miss you.
May you attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.