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Mahela Jayawardena

Mahela Jayawardena

A Sri Lankan cricket coach and former cricketer

My early memories of meeting Mr. Merrill Fernando was after Dilmah came on board as the Team Sponsor of the Sri Lanka national cricket team in 2002. Our first visit was to the Dilmah factory and head office in Peliyagoda. I was still a youngster at the time, and I remember being struck by how proud a Sri Lankan he was and how proud he was about the Dilmah brand and its roots.

Touring the factory and operations for the first time, it was evident that Mr. Fernando had a complete grasp of every aspect of his business. He was clearly a person with a great passion and work ethic who thrived in that working environment. It was a fascinating and enjoyable experience as we got to see first hand the workings of a truly international Sri Lankan brand.

Over the next few years, I got to meet Mr. Fernando frequently at the numerous functions and felicitations that Dilmah hosted during their seven-year period of sponsorship. I remember going to his house for dinner and was captured by his simplicity and humble manner, which are traits that I have come to know him by over time.

As he celebrates a momentous milestone, I just wanted to wish him the very best on this special day and wish him many more years of good health and happiness. He has created something unique that every Sri Lankan can be extremely proud of. I am so happy and honoured to have been able to meet and talk to him, and to have been associated with him, for which I have been humbled by the experience. Happy birthday Mr. Fernando.