PORTRAIT OF A MEMBER Lal Kannangara Retired Staff Nurse
Lal was born up country in Ceylon (as it was called then) in 1953. He attended a boarding school
and obtained 9 GCE’s. Always a shrewd observer he had noticed that car owners seemed to make
a good living taking tourists around. So as soon as he left
school he bought a rather old Vauxhall car on hire
purchase, and joined the tourist driver guides, taking
mainly German tourists wherever they wanted to go.
Round the island in three days taking in the many unusual
and historic sites was a popular choice. The other side of
the coin was that he had the only car in the village, and his
neighbours expected him to provide a free taxi service for
their emergencies. Then came the Tamil uprising, the
tourist trade crashed and he was obliged to sell the car.
With nothing to do he accepted the invitation of ex clients
to visit UK. While here he enrolled for a course at the
School of English to improve his fluency of the language.
At the school he made friends with an Italian, which
resulted in him visiting Italy, (the German speaking border
area). His friend helped him to get a job in a local hotel
and he stayed for 2 years. And so he learned to speak
German. Coming from tea producing Sri Lanka, he was put in charge of the hotel tea bar, and was
very popular there.
On return to UK, some Sri Lankan friends suggested that he should consider nursing, since there
was a shortage of nurses here. And so he joined the Colchester School of Nursing. As well as
qualifying as a Staff Nurse, he met his future wife there, who comes from Hong Kong. He worked
in the Operating Theatre at Colchester General Hospital for 10 years. He bought a car and a house
in Fronks Road and commuted to Colchester daily.
But after a decade of daily driving, in which he noted a steady deterioration in traffic safety, he
decided to transfer to Harwich. He became a well known figure, first in Whitaker Ward and then in
Trinity Ward. He retired at 60 having worked in the local hospital for 14 years.
Lal is a keen traveller and in addition to family visits to Sri Lanka, and to see friends in Italy and
Germany, he has also visited Canada in the west and China in the east, and many countries in
between. In the UK he has visited all points from Cornwall to Inverness.
A member of the Harwich Society for many years, he has helped at many of the Redoubt fetes. He
is also a member of the Electric Palace and the Fellowship for the Sick.
FOOTPATH GROUP WORK PARTY
The footpath work party recently cleared the top end of Mill Lane as part of the locally organised
clear up campaign and opened up the new path to the radar tower ready for the summer
season. New signs should follow shortly. New members are welcomed for this activity group
which meets on an ad hoc basis. Please contact Jo Harrison on 01255 502523 or via email