The Sunday Island Newspaper in Colombo, Sri Lanka published a feature marking the 2013 birth and death anniversaries of Vernon Corea.
Vernon Corea’s Link with the Commonwealth
11th Death Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Legendary Broadcaster
The death anniversary of the legendary Radio Ceylon/SLBC broadcaster Vernon Corea falls on the 23rd of September 2013. Vernon Corea’s 86th birth anniversary falls on the 11th of September this year. He was born in 1927 and died in 2002. People still remember the lovable radio personality who was one of the most popular English announcers of the Commercial Service of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation from the 1950s to the 1970s. Vernon Corea joined Radio Ceylon in 1956 and left the radio station as Director News of the SLBC in 1975. He has made a huge impact in the field of broadcasting in Sri Lanka.
Vernon was also the first ever presenter on the historic television broadcast in Sri Lanka. He was invited to present the first ever experimental television broadcast on 15 June 1972 by the Radio Society of Sri Lanka. He appeared on television screens in Colombo, in black and white, on a short TV programme, this was history in the making. Seven years later the first regular television transmission was conducted in Sri Lanka and the first TV presenter on that regular transmission was Vernon Corea’s cousin, Vijaya Corea – he introduced his cousin to radio by asking him to present ‘Kiddies Corner’ a popular children’s programme on Radio Ceylon in the 1960s.
Vijaya Corea was one of many young broadcasters mentored by Vernon Corea – he went on to become the Director-General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Another protege was Nihal Bhareti who went on to greater heights in broadcasting and was the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation’s Director of English Services. Leon Belleth was another mentee, after a successful career with Radio Ceylon/SLBC he retired in Australia. His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales will fly to Sri Lanka in November 2013 to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo. This will be the second visit to Sri Lanka of the Prince of Wales. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron will join other Commonwealth Prime Ministers in Colombo from the 10th – 17th of November for CHOGM 2013. Vernon Corea met the Prince of Wales in the 1980s in London when he was the BBC’S Ethnic Minorities Adviser.
Vernon has also been involved in the sphere of broadcasting in the Commonwealth. In 1970 he represented Sri Lanka and the Director-General of the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation at a Commonwealth Broadcasting Conference in London. Vernon met with top broadcasters from around the Commonwealth of Nations. He was so involved with the Commonwealth –many Commonwealth broadcasters from Australia to the West Indies have visited Vernon when he lived at 5 Maha Nuge Gardens in Kollupitiya.