ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 38

She shared her love for life with those less fortunate

Manel Senadhira

Lion Lady Manel Senadhira met with an untimely death on January 4 this year following a serious motor accident. She would never have dreamt of dying in this manner, because she was an active, outgoing and vivacious person pulsing with the joy of life. The magic of her personality beamed from her beauty, charm, poise and grace and especially from her friendliness, companionship, culture and intelligence.

Manel was happily married to Ainsley, an engineer and was the mother of an only daughter Nadeesha and the mother-in-law of Surintha. She was also the adored grandmother of two grandsons, Yohan and Stefan and grand-daughter Rochelle.

Manel was a Miss Karunaratne before marriage and was sister to four brothers and four sisters. In her young days at school at Anula Vidyalaya, Nugegoda and elsewhere, Manel was keen on taking part in drama, dance and singing and her talents were displayed when she acted in stage plays such as Vessantara, Ramayana, Siri Sangabo etc. In singing and dancing too Manel gained recognition, being trained by maestros like Sarangupta Amarasinghe and Prem Kumar.

Beginning at Radio Ceylon in Lamapitiya, Manel was graded an “A” artiste at the age of eighteen she worked for a while as the Librarian at Anula Vidyalaya.

My association and that of my wife Therese with Manel dates back over 20 years, as members of the Lions Club of Kandana/JaEla. She was a dedicated and committed Lion-Lady extending her talents and time to serve the less fortunate. She was in the forefront heading projects for the care of the needy, the handicapped, the blind and especially orphaned children.

At club level, she was a popular figure endearing herself with her bonhomie, cheer and fellowship.

Manel along with my late cousin Shirani were the nightingales of the Lions Club of Kandana/Jaela. No get-together was complete without their leading participation in song and music. I recall with pleasure Manel rendering melodiously with her rich voice hits of yester-year such as “Suwanda Rosa Mal Nela” "Punsandhinahenne” and “Pinsiduwanne” to the delight of many an admirer. As a Lion Lady who pioneered and promoted community singing at Lions Club meetings and functions both at club and district levels, Manel was a source of strength to me in my endeavours. I remember how Manel trained the club choir at her residence in preparation for a zonal competition, which the club eventually won at the Gampaha Botanical Gardens singing the number ”One day at a time”. Manel also distinguished herself at District Level especially when she accompanied her husband Ainsley who was a Deputy District Governor at club visitations. At Convention times and at Lion Ladies' fund raisers she played a prominent role efficiently carrying out the responsibilities allotted to her.

This appreciation will be bereft of its value if no mention is made of Manel as a caring hostess. The functions at her elegant home were meticulously planned to entertain her friends and relatives. Her well-laid out tables afforded sumptuous dinners and lunches with a variety of food and drinks to suit the palates of her guests, with a word that such a dish was available to her or to him.

A meal to satisfy everyone was her forte. Manel also maintained a beautiful mansion with tasteful décor and furniture. The beauty and serenity of her immediate surroundings were the handiwork of her supervision and interest.

Manel died a devout Buddhist faithfully practising the tenets of her religion. Although her husband Ainsley was a Catholic, there was perfect harmony and understanding between them, the difference in religion being no impediment to their relationship.

In fact her respect towards another faith was reflected when she volunteered many times to decorate the altar at St. Anne’s Church, Weligampitiya for important events at the church.

She supported and assisted parish activities especially with regard to children and youth. She conducted a montessori, a milk feeding centre, flower making classes and cookery demonstrations.

May the Gods now keep Manel in their care and may she attain Nibbana.

By Lion Ronnie Perera.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.