Reminiscing the PeMSAA-UK Inaugural Ball 2017
I am delighted to report on our Inaugural Ball. Being in the first batch, we had held a Ball in the UK in 1987, 25 years after passing out. But as no one else took up the baton nothing happened till….
A group of younger Peradeniya medics, enthused after attending the 13th PeMSAA Congress in Peradeniya in January 2017, decided it was time to reinvigorate the Alumni residents in the U.K. What better way to start than organise a Ball!!
The same juniors headed by Dr Krish Radhakrishnan (1976 batch) now elected President of PEMSSA UK started the ball rolling. Members were contacted by email with a date for a Ball on 17th June 2017 and invited to attend the committee meeting. Just three committee meetings were held in member’s homes.
The first on 25th March 2017, elected an Interim Committee, already a date had been agreed and a provisional venue ‘Hilton Watford’ was reserved. As time was short the caterers and also a popular band, were agreed at the meeting.
By the 2nd meeting Tickets were printed and the committee members entrusted with the task of selling. The members volunteered for the various jobs to make sure the event is delivered at the highest standard.
Though initially there was concern the 270 tickets would be sold, but wonder of wonders, at the end we had to turn away members, as the function was sold out.
The day of the Ball was bright, dry and warm, a good omen!
Alumni and guests rolled in with spouses in tow for the Canapés and Champaign welcome reception.
Dr Krish Radhakrishnan the PeMSAA-UK President escorted the chief guests Prof & Mrs Varagunam.
The band started with fairly quiet music whilst the members tucked into the starters. The master of ceremonies Dr W.T. Maheswaran (1968 batch) the Social Secretary welcomed the guests and introduced the speakers.
The newly elected president Dr Radhakrishnan outlined the purpose of the PeMSAA-UK and the hopes for the future of an International Scientific Conference in 2018. He also highlighted the expectation of setting up an educational charitable arm to PeMSAA-U.K.
Prof Varagunam though frailer than he was previously, was warmly received as he took to the floor. He gave an enthusiastic greeting to his former students and recalled some anecdotes from the early years.
A “To Sir With Love” framed photograph of Westminster Palace was presented to Prof Varagunam by Dr Edmund Ranasinghe (1962 batch) the photographer of the Palace and a bouquet of flowers to Mrs Varagunam by Dr Thiru Jesudason (1962 batch). The Secretary Mr. Abey Abeyasekara delivered a hearty vote of thanks.
The dancing started in earnest after the main course, interrupted by the raffle. Mrs Varagunam presented the prizes to the winners; appropriately a medic from the first batch won the 1st prize.
The music by "Breeze" with their lead singer Suresh was much appreciated. Everyone joined in the dancing and finally as we closed at midnight, the opinion was "A most enjoyable time had been had by all"
So well done the Executive Committee. Keep up the enthusiasm for the future of the organisation!
Dr Thiru Jesudason (1962 batch)
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Professor T Varagunam Memorial Lecture, 9th June 2018
Healthcare 2025 and Beyond
Delivered by Prof Nadarajah Sreeharan
Formerly Foundation Professor & Currently Visiting Professor, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka & Kings College, London, Formerly Senior Vice President & European Medical Director, GlaxoSmithKline Global R&D
The International Academic Conference and Annual Ball 2018
It is my honor and pleasure to reflect on the weekend of catching up with friends and alumni, learning, laughing, and having the most enjoyable time.
The event had been planned with meticulous care by the organizing committee under the leadership of Dr. Krish Radhakrishnan, to give the alumni, their families and friends an unforgettable weekend and to be proud to call themselves ‘Graduates of Peradeniya Medical School, Sri Lanka’.
The choice of venue was most fitting, for a group of medics who enjoyed their heady undergraduate days in the most salubrious campus in Asia, the Peradeniya Campus. As we drove into the calm, leafy roads of Center Parcs, we could not help feel nostalgic about the days we spent walking through the most beautiful roads and alleyways of the Peradeniya Campus.
The well-designed and well-presented brochure was informative, historical and served a loving souvenir to take home and cherish this special weekend.
The Friday evening of ‘warming up’ session did exactly that with wine and the Bowling Alley.
The International Academic Conference the next morning was of the highest academic level, reflecting the high academic standing of the Academic Secretary Prof. Swaminathan. It raised the bar for all such events for the future. The speakers, both alumni, current academic staff of Peradeniya Medical School and guest speakers were at the ‘top of their game’. The topics chosen were most appropriate. We were privileged to have Professor Vajira Weerasinghe, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who gave us some insight into the current medical curriculum and the progress made by our Alma Mater. The programme also informed us on the medical advances of present day practice taking place globally.
Professor Varagunam Memorial Lecture delivered by Professor Sreeharan was poignant and truly acknowledged the forward thinking man’s legacy. The audience was mesmerized by the predictions for the healthcare environment for 2025 and beyond.
It was also inspiring to see the daughters and sons of our peers confidently communicating their specialty knowledge and experience. This made us feel that the ‘Peradeniya Brand’ is alive and well and in good hands for the future.
The evening reception and the Annual Ball was elegant, graced by the colourful sarees, delicious menu and the delightful music by Suresh and the ‘The Breeze’.
The guests were able to work away the effects of the ‘good times’ of the Saturday night with the Sunday morning water sports in the amazing sub-tropical water complex or walking and cycling the picturesque landscapes of the Center Parcs or indulge in their combative sprits with a badminton game. The Sunday afternoon fun took us back to our childhood reciting nursery rhymes. The dramatic entertainment had us all in stitches thanks to Dr Uditha Jayatunga and Dr Lal Jayasekara. It made us realise that the ‘Peradeniya Brand’ excels not only in high medical standards but also in the performing arts!
Congratulations to the organising committee and thank you for all who made the PeMSAA – UK 2018 event a great success.
Dr Shanthi Thomas MD MSc MBA FRCPath
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