Mr A.S Wirasinghe (1957-1961)

Mr. Arthur Shelton Wirasinhe succeeded Mr. E. R. de Silva as principal in 1957.

He was a student at Richmond from 1931 to 1941. He was in every respect one of the brightest products of Richmond . Apart from being an outstanding student, he was also talented in music, poetry, oratory and sports. He was head prefect of the College in 1940. In the same year, he won the Darrell Medal, the highest award at Richmond for academic achievement.

Entering the Ceylon University in 1941, he graduated offering English History and Latin for his Degree. Fresh from the University, he was handpicked by E. R. de Silva to be his Vice Principal. Wirasinhe was a brilliant and versatile teacher. His favourite subjects were History Mathematics, English and Christianity. In 1952, he won a scholarship and left for Birmingham University in England to do a post graduate diploma in Educational Administration.

Returning to the island in 1954, he once again functioned in his former post as vice principal until his elevation to the post of principal in 1957 on the retirement of Mr. E. R. de Silva. He remained as head of Richmond until the schools take over in 1961, when he left to assume duties as principal of Wesley College

E. R. de Silva was a strict disciplinarian who ruled Richmond with an iron fist. Shelton Wirasinhe’s style was totally different. Whenever he noticed symptoms of indiscipline, he tried to remedy them through psychological methods and quiet persuasion. He may have modelled himself on his former principal Rev. Sneath who had a similar approach.

Wirasinhe taught his pupils to appreciate and enjoy the more refined pleasures of life such as classical music, English literature, poetry and drama.

He was also very keen on sports. He believed that sports was an essential ingredient in the making of a complete man. Two new games, Badminton and Volleyball were added to the sports schedule of the College during his period. He was also a very fine cricket coach. At every important match, he used to visit the dressing room, giving the team advice and encouragement.

The formation of the Wednesday Evening Club was a novel idea of his. Its aim was to provide the boys with an opportunity of developing their natural creative talents in an atmosphere of informality.

It can be truly said of Wirasinhe that he brought zest and life to the school.

After leaving Richmond , Wirasinhe became renowned as one of the foremost English scholars in the country. He also became popular as the compiler and presenter of the TV programme “Dulux Do you know Contest”.

Richmond bestowed a rare honour on him by having him twice as the chief guest at the college prize giving. On the second occasion, his photograph was hung in the College hall.

Mr. Wirasinhe died a few years ago, after a brief illness. A large number of Richmondites gathered at his funeral to pay their last respects to this well loved principal.