Mary Yolande Priyani Fernando (born Andrady) passed away peacefully on October 26, 2019 in a general hospital near London from a cardiac arrest resulting from adverse medical conditions. She is survived by her husband (Tommy) and son (Trevin) of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, Britain and her brother (Lucky) in the United States.
‘Priyani,’ to close friends and relatives, and ‘Mary’ to others, was born in Kalutara and completed her schooling at Holy Family Convents in Kalutara and Bambalapitiya. After her higher studies, she was called to the bar as Attorney-at-Law and her first assignment was as assistant lawyer at the Hulftsdorp office of Attorney Derek J.P. Fernando. After partly completing Chartered Secretarial studies, she joined Associated Management Services in Colombo where she carried out company secretarial activities for large corporate institutions such as Commercial Bank. After marrying Britain-based Chartered Engineer Tommy Fernando in 1980, she moved to Britain where she worked in and around London for nearly 25 years as a solicitor. She worked for different law firms and finally established her own office in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, where she also resided for the final 32 years of her life. She was thus able to remain close to her adopted son, Trevin, during his formative years. She retired from working as a Solicitor in 2007.
She was known to be a warm person with a kind, loving and sympathetic heart. She appeared to be generous to the extreme with her time and energies for anyone and everyone. She always had a sunshine smile and a good sense of humour. She was a deeply committed Christian. After her retirement from being a British Solicitor, her interest in an intelligent Christianity meant her starting a graduate course in Christian theology. Soon came her first book, I saw Jesus, in which she used her academic knowledge of the Bible to imagine what people who met Jesus during his earthly life must have thought, and how they changed their lives as a result of such a meeting. The quality of her book is borne out by the fact that even an academic theologian and friend is known to have used this book to help spend time usefully in Christian prayer.
As monuments to Christian belief, there are many ‘Cathedral’ Christian churches all over the world. She had a more than a layperson’s interest in Cathedrals. Having visited intentionally almost all Cathedrals in England, she began compiling a book on English Cathedrals.
She also qualified as a Christian counsellor. She assisted Christian pastors at ‘Christian Resources Exhibitions’ by taking on the role of an ‘Exhibition Pastor’ who listened to visitors who sought counselling and prayed with them. For several years she also helped out at the Watford, Hertfordshire, Samaritan Centre as a Samaritan who was at the other end of a telephone line for anyone who needed someone to talk to immediately about a burning personal problem.
One of her overriding hobbies was cooking. She spent hours using books, journals, and TV programme, to research and gather written material on various types of international cooking. Those who have visited her at her residence and were entertained to a meal by her bear witness to her consummate excellence in cooking.
Allied with her gift for cooking was her interest and success in cake decorating. In addition to numerous birthday cakes, she also made a number of wedding cakes for close friends and relatives, even transporting whole wedding cakes, along with decorations and trimmings, internationally as hand luggage for weddings held in other countries such as the United States.
As if this was not enough for a full and busy life, she also had a budding interest in several other hobbies such as sewing, crochet, embroidery, and even piano playing. This was Priyani/Mary, multi-talented and gifted, but always humble, friendly, and at home with those she met. She helped many to grow in faith, in hope, and in the love of God and human beings. We thank God wholeheartedly for the peace and love she now enjoys eternally, being in and with her God and Father and with her Lord Jesus who always was clearly her way, her truth and her very life.
She leaves behind her beloved son Trevin on whom she showered her deep devotion as an extremely loving and caring mother for more than 30 years, her beloved husband to whom she was the deepest friend and companion and his devoted wife for almost 40 years, and her beloved brother whom she always held to be her life-long friend and trusted, admired, and ever-helpful elder brother.
- Her best friend