First met Dilip Tisseverasinghe in a summer cricket festival way back in 1997 though his surname was very familiar to me as my mother and aunts used to talk about the Tisseverasinghes’. In fact I very vividly remember Dilip’s father from my childhood in Jaffna, impeccably dressed in shirt sleeves and tie, riding his bicycle along Third Cross Street on his way to work in the Commercial Bank. Dilip’s mother was a contemporary of my late aunt. I was much junior to Dilip at St Patrick’s and did not know him at College. I was also somewhat sceptical about anything to do with my Alma Mater at that stage in my life! Against this background, Dilip introduced himself as the President of the SPC OBA UK and persuaded me to join not only the OBA but the ex-co as well within a few weeks of meeting him at the cricket festival.
As an ex-co member from 1998 to 2003, I was able to observe Dilip in close quarters and to this day his love and commitment to his Alma Mater has been a true inspiration to me. Remembering the times that he chaired the ex- co meetings as President, I can’t help but to marvel at Dilip’s diplomatic skills in dealing with the differences in opinion between exco members and finding common ground. The meetings always concluded on time and in good spirit. His marketing and people skills helped to drive the membership of the ex-co and also to raise the profile of the OBA UK. He encouraged the young members to bring fresh ideas to the table and personally I feel obtaining the charitable status and setting up the Trust fund are the enduring legacies to his time as the OBA President.
I remember Dilip mentioning once, that he is doing all what he can to his Alma Mater through the SPC OBA UK as that is what his father had commanded him to do before he passed away. Dilip was a tireless campaigner to his cause as demonstrated by him taking up the challenge of charity half marathon to raise funds. Many of us, his friends were concerned about him while he was training for his marathon and felt relieved and elated that he had successfully completed the challenge.
He extended that very same loyalty and commitment to his friends and OBA members as well. He brought many a young reluctant ex-patricians like me into the fold and made them feel like that they all belong to this great patrician family. I have made many friends in the patrician community both young and old because Dilip persevered with a ‘sceptic’. He tries to keep in touch with fellow patricians and will try to join the members on family events and occasions. On a personal note, during my mother’s funeral service, due to a mix up, the Church Choir did not turn up and Dilip quickly organised an impromptu choir with the help of Dr Joseph and Dr Rubakumar and Mr Deva Paul. Everyone in the congregation concurred that the ‘singing quartet of Patricians’ sang so well. That scene will be always etched in my memory.
While appreciating the services rendered by Dilip to the Patrician community in the UK, it is nothing but fair to say a few words about his lovely and able wife Suri. Dilip would not have been able to do all that he did for his Alma Mater if not for her love and support. I am sure all the Patrician community world over will join me in wishing them and family both well.