In a moving and stirring moment, the hallowed grounds of Campbell Park bore witness to a ground-breaking restoration ceremony, ushering in the dawn of a new era for the cherished Wesley College Pavilion on November 1.
The Wesley College Old Boys Union (OBU), led by its effervescent President Captain Navin de Silva, along with President of the Methodist Church Reverend Ebenezer Joseph, its officials and Principal of Wesley College Avanka Fernando officially commenced the Restoration Project, at Campbell Park. This ambitious initiative is part of the school’s sesquicentennial celebration which falls on March 2, 2024. This is another milestone in the progressive journey of the Old Boys Union which has undertaken this project of restoring its 120 year old Pavilion, probably one the oldest pavilion amongst schools in Sri Lanka.
Heading this Project as Project Chairman Ivor Maharoof along with able team comprising Treasurer S Renganathan, Project Secretary Shehan Sheriff and Restoration Building Team lead by K Dayaparan, Senior Old Boys Lucky Goonathilake, Lalith Wijesinghe, Gerard Fernando, Air Vice Marshal Sampath Wickermeratne, Maj Gen Indu Samarakoon, Maithri Vithanage, Shiraz Jaldin- Wesley Sports Administrator, Architect Murad Ismail, Structural Engineer Ajith Vandebona and Quantity Surveyor Ravi Wijesekera, they will coordinate closely with the Methodist Church Architect and Structural Engineers during the restoration .
Since its inception in 1900, the Pavilion has cradled the cherished memories of countless Wesley College scholars. Now, it stands on the precipice of decay, a dire situation necessitating immediate intervention. The Pavilion’s significance as an heritage building, beloved by every Wesleyite to have passed through the school’s gates, underscores the urgency to preserve it.
In the spirit of Wesley College’s rich architectural heritage, the committee has enlisted the talents of the renowned architect, Murad Ismail. With his unparalleled skills, he has willingly accepted the arduous task of designing the restoration.
The Pavilion’s history dates back to its acquisition by Wesley College from the Tamil Union Cricket & Athletic Club at Campbell Park in 1940. Believed to have been constructed in 1900, the Pavilion is poised to celebrate its 124th anniversary in 2024. The Pavilion was inaugurated on the 19th of January 1940 by the esteemed old boy, G.C.S. Corea, Minister of Labour, Industries, and Commerce at the time.
Throughout the years, Wesley’s Pavilion has been graced by some of Sri Lanka’s cricketing legends, including the iconic Mahadevan Sathasivam and a plethora of Wesley College’s own cricketing greats. Furthermore, legendary cricketers from rival schools, such as the Gunasekera brothers, Clive Inman, and Michael Tissera, have left their mark on this historic Pavilion.
Beyond cricket, generations of Wesley sportsmen in rugby, athletics, soccer, and hockey have found solace and inspiration within these hallowed walls.
As a testament to their shared history, every Wesleyite has, at some point, walked through the sacred Pavilion, which stands as a timeless symbol of Wesley’s distinguished heritage.