Profoundly sorrowful news: Mr. Neil Fernando (25thMay 1937 – 9th January 2021) – by Felix Stephen
It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart that I share with you the extremely sad news that my dear friend Mr. Neil Fernando (25thMay 1937 – 9th January 2021) passed away while on a visit to the United Kingdom.
Neil was a close friend of my younger brother, the late Tony Stephen (former General Manager – Fihalohi Holiday Resort, Maldives). It was Tony who introduced Neil to me when I made a stopover in Colombo during an official global tour in the late 90’s. Neil’s fledgling company Neil Marine (Pvt) Ltd. (http://neilmarine.com/) was seeking support to expand their fiberglass boat building venture. I introduced Neil to the team at AusAID at the Australian High Commission in Colombo.
From humble beginnings around the Negombo Lagoon where Neil began his boat building enterprise over 50 years ago, Neil Fernando and Co (Pvt.) Ltd., which is part of the Penthouse Group of Companies, is today the leading fiberglass boat builder in South Asia building Fishing boats, Commercial and Cargo Boats, Passenger Ferries, Patrol & Surveillance Craft, Luxury Motor Yachts & Cruises and Luxury Motor Sailors based on techniques of past and modern-day boat manufacturing.
Neil was a loving, soft spoken, caring, gentle and humble person who never forgot his past, and never let success cloud his vision and desire to serve the less fortunate. Neil and his wife Manel have been supporters of our mission for children with congenital impairments. Yasmin my wife and I used to pay Neil a courtesy call whenever we visited Sri Lanka to work with our local colleagues and remained in close touch with him over the past years. We miss him terribly, pray that his soul may rest in peace and extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his wife Manel, daughter Kumarie, son-in-law Shan, rest of the family and his loved ones.
(Photo taken during our last meeting at his office)