The Wesley College Old Boys Union, under the leadership of its President Capt. Navin de Silva, has embarked upon an ambitious project to restore the Wesley College Pavilion to its former glory. This initiative is part of the school’s sesquicentennial commemoration, scheduled for March 2nd, 2024. The restoration aims to transform the existing pavilion into a monumental sports facility while preserving its splendid architectural heritage at Campbell Park.
The Pavilion’s significance traces back to its acquisition by Wesley College from the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club at Campbell Park in 1940. Believed to have been built in 1900, one year after the club’s formation, Wesley’s pavilion will soon celebrate its 124th anniversary in 2024. With archeological value and a history resembling an English country clubhouse, the pavilion was inaugurated on the 19th of January 1940 by old boy G.C.S. Corea, Minister of Labor, Industries and Commerce at the time.
The current Pavilion holds nostalgic and personal memories for countless scholars of Wesley College. However, it now stands in an advanced state of decay, necessitating immediate restoration. All previous restoration attempts have proven either exorbitantly expensive or only temporary solutions.
Taking charge of this noble endeavor is the Vice Parton, Ivor Maharoof, along with a vetted “select committee” constituent of dedicated and distinguished Wesleyites that includes in their ranks an exemplary banker S. Renganathan as the project treasurer. The committee is dedicated to renovating the Pavilion, ensuring that it retains its classic colonial architecture on the same hallowed grounds. The comprehensive refurbishment will offer enhanced facilities to both players and visitors, enabling them to create lasting memories within the monumental building. The Pavilion is cherished by every Wesleyite who passed through the school’s gates, further emphasizes the urgency to preserve it.
Over the years, Wesley’s Pavilion has hosted some of Sri Lanka’s finest cricketers, including legendary Mahadevan Sathasivam, C.E. Perera, Abu Fuard, L.R. Goonetilleke, M.N.Samsudeen, Brian Classen, S.Jeganathan, Russell Hamer, in the recent years Farveez Maharoof and Jeffery Vandersay, and numerous Wesley cricketers. Additionally, iconic cricketers from other schools, some of whom went on to represent the country, have also graced this historic Pavilion.
Beyond cricket, generations of Wesley sportsmen in rugby, athletics, soccer, and hockey, including the legendary A. Mylvaganam, have embraced this significant site for their sporting endeavors.
The architect for this restoration is Murad Ismail, a highly respected architect and a disciple of world-famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. He is the son of old boy Dr. Ifthi Ismail and nephew of another distinguished old boy Prof. Mahroof Ismail. Murad Ismail has volunteered his expertise for this project without charge, a fine gesture admired by all. His commitment exemplifies the collective rallying call for the Wesley fraternity to restore the school’s sporting pride, transforming it into an iconic masterpiece treasured by Wesleyites for generations to come.
On July 29, at Campbell Park Wesley launched its Fund Raising Project reaching out to the Wesley fraternity and well-wishers. This event was graced by past cricket captains of the National team with Michael Tissera leading the pack as Guest of Honor.