Vernon Corea’s last public engagement was the in the summer of 2002. He was invited by Asitha Jayaweera to meet the former Prime Minister of Great Britain at a reception on the Garden Terrace of the House of Commons in the Palace of Westminster in honour of the Sri Lankan Cricket Team who had arrived to play a test series against England.
Vernon met former Prime Minister John Major and Sri Lankan test stars Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayewardene were very kind to him. He was frail and old but there were those who respected him and recalled his days in broadcasting at Radio Ceylon.
He remembered the kindness of Asitha Jayaweera, who like him was an Old Royalist and in fact captained the Royal College team in the Royal-Thomian encounter in the 1960s. It was Asitha Jayaweera who had invited Vernon to this event in the Palace of Westminster. Vernon thoroughly enjoyed the reception. He enjoyed talking to Dav Whatmore, telling him, ‘I knew your family.’
Sadly he passed away in New Malden on the 23rd of September 2002.
Read the Daily News Sri Lanka article on the reception hosted by Lord Naseby in the House of Commons in 2002:
Sri Lankan cricketers are always exciting says former British PM
By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
Former British Prime Minister John Major recalled the exciting brand of cricket that is familiar with Sri Lanka and said they always played entertaining cricket.
Major, a keen cricket follower wished the Sri Lankan team led by Sanath Jayasuriya all success on their tour of England when he spoke at a tea reception hosted by Lord Naseby at the House of Commons on Monday.
Major was one of the speakers who toasted the team.
Lord Naseby was formerly known as Michael Morris when he was deputy speaker in the House of Commons before he was elevated to the House of Lords. He is at present the Chairman of the British-Sri Lankan group in Parliament and a good and true friend of Sri Lanka. He also worked in Sri Lanka some years ago. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tim Lamb who was also present on the occasion, said that he was pleased that Sri Lanka were finally playing a series of three Tests and also wished the team all success on the tour.
Sri Lanka’s previous four tours to England comprised only of one-off Tests and Lord Naseby has been one of the active campaigners for a three-Test series in England. Among the 175 guests who attended the function were Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Faisz Mustapha and his wife, Land Minister Rajitha Senaratne, and MPs from the House of Commons. According to BCCSL UK representative committee chairman Dr. Daya Panditha-gunawardena there was a large media present at the occasion which included the two main British TV channels, Sky TV and Channel 4. BBC Radio and representatives from all the major British newspapers were also present. Film crews from Sri Lankan TV stations Rupavahini and Sirasa were also present. Dr Panditha-Gunawardena both welcomed and thanked everyone present as well as all those who helped to make the event a success, especially Lord Naseby. He specially welcomed His Excellency Faisz Mustapha, who was attending his first official function as High Commissioner and wished him a successful term of office in the UK. Dr. Panditha-gunawardena also thanked Dilmah tea company for their help and for the financial sponsorship.Dilmah tea was served at the reception and there was an advertising area for their product. Every guest received a gift of Dilmah tea. Dilmah are the official sponsors of the Sri Lanka cricket team. Captain Jayasuriya and Sri Lanka team manager Chandra Schaffter also spoke.
“The tea reception at the House of Commons was very successful and I have had a number of congratulatory messages for a highly successful afternoon,” said Dr. Panditha-gunawardena.
He said this was the first time that a Sri Lanka cricket team had been hosted to tea in the House of Parliament. The cricket team and officials were shown around the House of Parliament by Lord Naseby himself, who acted as guide.
RAINED OFF Sri Lanka’s one-day friendly fixture against Sir Paul Getty’s XI at Wormsley (Sir Paul Getty’s ground, about 30 miles north-west of London) on Tuesday was unfortunately rained off.
Their next fixture is a 3-day game against British Universities which commenced at Northampton yesterday.