THE HAYMAN FOUNDATION FOR STC GURUTALAWA

‘To spend and be spent in their work

was their greatest and best privilege.’

Although S. Thomas’ College at Gurutalawa began as an integral part of the School founded by Bishop James Chapman at Mutwal in 1851, those associated with the School have always considered Dr R. L. Hayman as the ‘Founder’ of STC at Gurutalawa. In one sense, he was, for although he would perhaps  have preferred to have stayed at Mount Lavinia, it was he that  practically built the School that continued at Gurutalawa when the war ended in 1945 and the majority of exiled Thomians returned to Mount Lavinia. He was for STC at  Gurutalawa what Warden Stone was for Mount Lavinia – a transplanter & builder. Dr Hayman’s legacy has been well documented but one of the finest tributes to Dr Hayman has come from Prof C. C. de Silva: ‘No single man has done so much or given so generously, both materially and intellectually to S. Thomas’ College, or to any other school for that matter in Ceylon at any time in her long history. I think I can pronounce that as an indisputable, incontrovertible statement of fact.’ 

With Canon R. S. de Saram and Canon A. J. Foster he formed a triumvirate that guided the early destinies of the School, but it was Dr Hayman who laid a solid foundation for the School at Gurutalawa combining the ethos of the parent School at Mount Lavinia with its Etonian roots and the spartan ethos of Kurt Hahn’s Gordonstoun School. His tenure of office has been the longest of any Headmaster and he bestrode the destinies of Guru like a colossus between 1944and 1964 when he retired to England. He epitomised R. W. Emerson’s words that ‘An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.’ From 1945 he was more than ably supported by a loyal and able staff, and by his petite wife Mary who took on the task of surrogate mother with great ease. Their partnership has been vividly described by the then Bishop A. R. Graham Campbell of Colombo thus: ‘For him (Dr Hayman) the School has been first and foremost a family – a family in which every member mattered – mattered equally and was cared for in equal measure and for each of whom he sought to find the appropriate outlet for his energies and interests. And in building up and caring for the life of the Thomian family here in Gurutalawa he has been wonderfully helped, as you all know, by Mrs Hayman, not least in her devoted care for the sick…’ 

Although the Haymans retired to England in 1964, they never ceased to have links with S. Thomas’ College. Dr Hayman passed away in 1983 soon after his last visit to Sri Lanka. Mrs Hayman last visited the School in 1992 when she attended the 50th Anniversary celebrations. She died in November 2007. Soon afterwards the Executors of her Last Will informed the School that she had left a bequest of 2000 Pounds to the School. We felt it would be most appropriate to invest the sum in a special Trust Fund that would be part of a new society called ‘The Hayman Foundation’. It was decided to name this society thus not just to remember two of our greatest benefactors but also to pay tribute to two people whose devotion to the service of children touched so many others during their time at Guru. They both embodied Bishop James Chapman’s ideal ‘To spend and be spent in our work is our greatest and best privilege’ – that must be a challenge to us who continue what they started. It must be noted that the idea for an Endowment Fund was first mooted in 2007 by Mr Jacques Huyghebaert who played a very significant role in saving the School from closure in that year and whose contribution can never be forgotten by all those connected to the School.

The objectives of the Foundation will be to raise funds on a long term basis for the benefit of the College. Any old Thomian who would like to be part of this venture may become members of the Hayman Foundation by depositing a sum of no less than 1/3rd of the approximately Rs.300,000/- bequeathed by Mrs Mary Hayman. The Board of Trustees initially comprised the Headmaster (Ex Officio), three nominated members of the College Board of Governors [one of whom shall be the Manager] and two nominated members of the STCG Old Boys’ Association. Subsequently a very loyal and generous old boy of the School from the USA has added substantially to the fund and was invited to be a Trustee. Part of the funds are invested with the Incorporated Trustees of the Church of Ceylon at the request of some donors and the bulk is in a Commercial Bank Fixed Deposit and will be disbursed by the Trustees as per the Rules of the Trust on the request of the Headmaster as and when the Endowment Fund is adequately built up. In 2013 the STCG OBA deposited four of its special Prize Funds with the Hayman Foundation.

The School is progressing well under the able guidance of the present Headmaster and is now firmly on the right track. There have been many improvements effected thanks to the support and solidarity of old boys, parents and friends of the School. The Hayman Foundation is one way that old boys and others can make a difference and help the present management. For further details please about how to join the Foundation or contribute towards the Trust Fund contact the Headmaster, S. Thomas’ College, Gurutalawa by mail to the School address; telephone or fax on 057 2280000; or by email to hmstcguru@gmail.com Your participation, collaboration and solidarity in this venture will be one way for you to repay the nurture fee you owe your alma mater.

‘The greatest Memorial to Dr Hayman will be to follow the way of life he led; to seek integrity, to follow uprightness, to care for others in their affliction, and to love and labour for their deliverance.’

Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe, 1983

Rev. Marc Billimoria