Vale Nigel Kerner …..An Appreciation from Harry Solomons
Indeed, Today is a sad day for many of Nigel’s mates such as Mubarak Jawath, Niranjan Vithanage and myself and thousands of poor Sri Lankans who have benefited from his generosity. Nigel Kerner, St.Aloyssius College Old Boy, famous English Author, Singer, Actor, and Generous Philanthropist, sadly passed away in England. He visited and lived in Sri Lanka each year during the English winter and was famous for his creation of a “Free Hospital” in the Laxapana/Maskeliya region for treatment of the poorest of villagers and plantation workers in those areas. Generous to the core, he entertained and boarded hundreds of Sri Lankan visitors, cricket teams, entertainers, politicians visiting England. I don’t think l have met a more generous human being! Rest In Peace my good friend. My love and Condolences to your beautiful and equally generous wife Denise, Family and close group of friends, who I have had the good fortune to meet and socialise with.
NIGEL is possibly one of our greatest achieving Old Aloysians in history.Yet, he was such a PRIVATE PERSON and hated the publicity and accolades that many will not know what he achieved.
Just a quick glimpse of a few things he did in private; but I stand corrected if wrong.
* Donated a “blow up” temporary Imported Hospital in Galle when the tsunami destroyed Galle hospital.
* Donated a complete new Imported gym to the SL Cricket Board in the 90s when the Board was not wealthy and had no funds.
* His free HOSPITAL and totally free treatment provided by many overseas and Sri Lanka doctors.
* Hundreds upon hundreds of numerous other contributions to projects in SL to various schools, boards, the Arts, hospitals, and individuals.
In my opinion, NO Sri Lankan has done more for the Country than did Nigel Kerner. All this with none or little publicity, total silence and confidentiality.
Truly, one of the greatest Aloysians of our era or even at present.
Do we realise, he was the writer of great movies such as ‘The Terminator’, and ‘Back to the Future’? They were his stories, sold to the Yanks!!
………………………….. Harry Solomons
A SECOND TESTIMONIAL from ATHULA EDIRISINGHE
In 1995 during my Presidency when we celebrated the Centenary of the SAC, unlike today, we had only a few members and it was a difficult time to all of us. The Old Boys Association had to spend a lot of its reserves to print the Centenary Magazine of “The Aloysian” and the 75th Anniversary publication of the OBA Colombo Branch apart from offering many Scholarships to deserving students. We had several distinguished Aloysians such as the late Pat Williams and other friends arriving in Sri Lanka to take part in the celebrations. Several Jesuit fathers from all over Sri Lanka assembled in Colombo.
As the President of the OBA, I had to take the lead in hosting all these visitors and the Reverend Fathers for an Anniversary Dinner. But we were constrained by lack of funds and sponsorships as we had exhausted all the resources we had by that time.
That was the time we needed help and gathering much hope and courage our past Senior the late Sam de Silva and I drove to Nigel’s home in Pepiliyana. I only had to mention our need to Nigel just once and he spontaneously agreed to host whatever the number of guests I wanted at a special Banquet Dinner.
Thereafter he and his loving wife took the entire responsibility to themselves and hosted over 100 Guests to a “Par Excellence” Grand Banquet held at his residence. His entire garden was beautifully illuminated, decorated and was formed into a grand banquet area. A sumptuous dinner and exclusive beverages and cocktails were served at the event. Nigel and his wife did all that mattered at that dinner. We knew it was done with deep gratitude to the Jesuit Fathers and to our Alma Mater.
Today though Nigel is no more with us, his legacy of utmost generosity as mentioned by Harry will always remain in our hearts.
May his soul rest in peace…………… Athulla Edirisinghe