Suhendran Thalayasingam

-Former Chairman, Company Secretary and Founder member


In February 2020 Mithuruwela was left bereft when Chairman SuhendranThalayasingam passed away very suddenly. Thalay as he was popularly known was one of the founder members of Mithuruwela which was established by his wife Mala Thalayasingam and RyhanaRaheem. Since 2005, Thalay had been the Corporate Secretary to the organization and a member of the Management Committee. As a lawyer he was an invaluable member of the Management team. In addition, he and Mala hosted all Mithuruwela meetings and many of the AGMs at their home in Colombo. No 70/1 Peterson Lane,Colombo 6 was in fact the official address of the organization and Thalay and Mala generously shared their home with Mithuruwela members and permitted it to be the centre for all Mithuruwela activities. His warm genial presence will be sorely missed.  


Annexed is the Appreciation written by Co-Founder RyhanaRaheem on behalf of Mithuruwela which appeared in the 'Sunday Times' and the 'Sunday Island' in March 2020.


SuhendranThalayasingam- An Appreciation


On February 22nd, SuhendranThalayasingam, Chairman, Mithuruwela passed away, felled by a stroke. We at Mithuruwela are dismayed and stricken that someone so active, so full of life was taken away from us so unexpectedly.


SuhendranThalaysingam or Thalay as he was popularly known was a loyal Old Boy of Hartley College, Jaffna, an Attorney-at-law and a Justice of the Peace. He was a founder member of Mithuruwela the Cancer Support Network, the organization co-founded by his wife Mala to help support cancer patients, care-givers and all those affected by cancer. Thalay and Mala were two pillars that Mithuruwela depended on and their home at 70/1 Peterson Lane was the nerve centre for all Mithuruwela's meetings and other activities. Thalay's knowledge of and vast experience in legal matters were of immense help whenever Mithuruwela had to sort out issues.


Thalay drew inspiration and strength from his deep faith in his religion and was the Warden to the Vicar at St Paul's, Milagiriya. At his funeral the Vicar paid a moving tribute to Thalay saying that he was a human being with humane qualities- a rare commodity in today's world, and spoke of Thalay's even-handed methods of dealing with controversial issues. In his inimitable way, Thalay would lay out all the pros and cons of each aspect so that the best choice of response could be made. As a member of Mithuruwela's Management Committee, he displayed this capacity even at Mithuruwela meetings helping us to reach practical decisions that would serve the organization well. If the suggestions he made were rejected, Thalay who never bore malice or resentment would accept it with grace.


Thalay was above all someone who was at his happiest when dealing with people and dealing out hospitality to whoever came into his home. During Mithuruwela's outreach programmes, our Cancer Awareness Sessions, Thalay would make his speech as Chairman and then slip into the audience to talk to vulnerable members of the audience. He was particularly happy when Mithuruwela visited villages in the North and East where he could exercise his command of Tamil. People would cluster around him, sometimes listening somberly but more often convulsed with laughter as Thalay regaled them with his stories.


Thalay was generous, hospitable, kind. His world revolved around his family-Mala, Prashan and Anjali and he would beam with pride and happiness when talking about his grandchildren Nour and Gabriel. His was a larger than life personality- genial, warm-hearted, ever ready to support family and friends. And as Mithuruwela prepares to face a future without Thalay who had been with us from the very beginning, who led Mithuruwela  as an exuberant, ever-welcoming Chairman, we are grievously aware that we are left with a void that can never be filled. .




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