? Burghers In The UK








GERRY DANIELS ( 92 Years Young )

Gerry Daniels' easy going approach to life has ensured he has enjoyed himself no matter what life has thrown at him.  Listen to his authentic experiences as a medalled World War II Naval Signalman.  A word of warning - it might make you cringe!
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MICHAEL THOMASZ ( 89 Years Young )

Self taught, Super Salesman Michael Thomasz was always the top earner at his places of employment, once even earning three times more money than the Managing Director! Hardworking Michael finally retired aged 81. And he's still in the money having recently won £500 at bingo! Learn and be entertained as you listen to his life story and philosphies for success.
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NEIL DE LA HARPE ( 83 Years Young )

Marine Engineer Neil has travelled around the world a few times. His family classed him as a 'rascal'. Judge for yourself. He and his friends once sat their exams wearing Red Indian head dresses they'd made out of chicken feathers. Today, at 83, Neil plays tennis three times a week, goes out dancing regularly with his much younger girlfriend, acts as photographer for Sri Lankan and other events and helps his friends and neighbours out regularly.
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MAXIE BULNER ( 81 Years Young )

At the back of Maxie's home in Mankulam was a jungle. From his back window he could see cobras and pythons; cheetahs chasing wild boar and deer. Attending boarding school at just 5 years, he learned to be independent and down to earth. Hear about the day an angry father shot at Maxie when he tried to date his Sinhalese daughter - and how Maxie's love for adventure has had him working around the world.
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FELIX 'HAPPY' GOMEZ ( 82 Years Young )

Although Happy wanted to be an engine driver as a boy, he stacked up many achievements as an anaesthetist and doctor both in Ceylon and the UK. As a boy, when the monsoons transformed trenches at his father's estate into mini rivers, he'd make a raft, rowing to neighbouring areas to pick fruits that had fallen from the storm - encountering cobras and water snakes along the way.
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PETER BEEKMEYER ( 81 Years Young )

Peter Beekmeyer's memoirs presents us with a frank and pragmatic view of life in multi-cultural Ceylon and London. Peter claims the Burgher culture to be "a fantastic culture". Listen to his recollections and see if you agree. Watch him as a younger man singing Burgher flavoured songs in the video with Earle De Zylva on this website.
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TRUDY POULIER ( 81 Years Young )

Being the youngest of 11 children did not make Trudy Poulier a mollycoddled child. At her convent boarding school she learned a strong work ethic, arising at 5am every day. Truly a modern Ceylonese woman she worked in many places including typing and editing one of Arthur C. Clarke's books and his many radio interviews. Trudy recalls how she arrived in London one Friday in 1961 and started work at an office in Piccadilly the following Monday morning. Listen and discover how this happened.
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DUGALD GONSAL ( 79 Years Young )

Dugald (The Determined) Gonsal, OBE has enjoyed many successes in life due to his diligence and attention to detail. He has also had his share of challenges from discrimination in Ceylon to health issues in the UK. Don't get too scared as you listen to strategies he employed to bring into line large corporations and some of the more challenging of his 600 staff members in Camden.
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ANNA FELICE ( 78 Years Young )

Listen to Anna's many adventures on the farm where she lived. She loved the huge firework parties her father held every Christmas, attended by her friends as well as all the children from the local village. Learn about the Bumbala-Watte yanks, the term given to young men who lived in Bambalapitiya and Wellawatte (Colombo) who copied American fashion.

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PATRICIA MOHAMED ( 76 Years Young )

Patricia Mohamed was born in Ceylon in 1938 and moved to London when she was 22 years old. Enjoy Pat's nostalgic recollections about the house she grew up in and how, from sewing for pocket money, her attention to detail had her sewing clothes for members of the British Monarchy.
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SPENCER HOFMAN ( 76 Years Young )

Spencer Hoffman came to London as a Chartered Banker and quickly moved into Civil Engineering, looking after St Paul's Cathedral and the Victoria Tunnel. Apart from being one of the original members of the Playboy Club, Spencer has umpired the world tennis championships both at Wimbledon and in the USA; was involved in the production of a Hollywood movie, starring Ali MacGraw; has been a fully-fledged member of the Marylebone Cricket Club since 1978, and has been involved in overseeing events attended by HRH Prince Philip and Mick Jagger to name but a few.
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ILLONA STOCKWELL ( 74 Years Young )

Illona Stockwell is a very proud Batticaloa Burgher. Her father was a forester, educated at Oxford University, so she travelled around Sri Lanka as a child. Trincomalee, Galle, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Bentota, Ratnapura were just some of the places she lived in. As a child she loved watching the Perahera, processions with 200 elephants and Kandyan dancers. A self-confessed, mischievous school girl, listen to some of the naughty pranks she played on her unsuspecting teachers.
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BARBARA ADOLPHUS ( 74 Years Young )

Barbara Adolphus was born in Ceylon in 1940 and moved to London when she was 20 years old. Listen to Barbara's heart-warming stories about times gone by and the funny culture shocks she had when she first came to London.. Barbara tells us how, according to Burgher culture, It was considered rude to send out wedding invitations for fear of offending anyone. Instead her family put an advertisement in the newspaper and anyone who knew them was welcome to attend her wedding.
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ANTON MANICKAM ( 71 Years Young )

Anton Manickam was born in Ceylon on 19th November 1943. He travelled to England on his own in 1962 aged just 15. After various jobs he became an auditor uncovering frauds and saving money for different companies. Try not to laugh too much as you listen to some of Anton's hilarious practical jokes which he says makes him still chuckle to this day.
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TINA HANKS ( 70 Years Young )

Tina Hanks works hard to get what she wants. She decided to come to the UK by herself when she was just 14. Aged 17 she set off on her adventures, with older sister in tow. She saw a man she thought was good looking - and married him. Her sense of daring enabled her to pick up and drop different careers achieving some impressive successes along the way. You may feel a bit sorry for the people who tried to discriminate against her though.
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LEN LUDWICK ( 69 Years Young )

Len Ludwick and his friends enjoyed every fruit tree in every garden for miles around. When playing cowboys and crooks they'd run in and out of neighbours' houses, once hiding under a neighbours' bed and giving him a scare when he was mistaken for a ghost. Len once forged his father's signature on his school yearly report because he'd only come 7th in class and feared his father's wrath. Laugh at his father's clever reprimand which increased Len's academic abilities considerably.
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RALPH RULACH ( 68 Years Young )

Living on a beach in Nugegoda Ralph had no need for TV. A young explorer of the great outdoors he developed a 6th sense for avoiding crocodiles and snakes. Sit back and enjoy Ralph's lilting voice as he talks about the hard working, hard partying Railway Burghers and his adventures in London Town.
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TREVOR P NEYDORFF ( 65 Years Young )

Tenacious Trevor and his family could not leave Sri Lanka with the other Burghers as his mother was terminally ill and no country would take them in. Listen to his sadness as he watched his family and friends leaving their homeland. Hear how, when his father lost his job, The Sri Lankan Observer Newspaper reported that his was the first Burgher family to become street hawkers in order to survive. Discover how he nearly died the day he was shot in cross fire and how he triumphed and turned things around with the help of his wife Susi.
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CHARLES ATKINSON ( 62 Years Young )

Charles' Burgher mother was held captive whilst five months pregnant in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Singapore. Listen to his revelations about her culinary and entertainment skills and her open door policy for Burghers at their home in London, Kensington.
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Gayle was just 7 years and 2 months when she came to London with her family. She enjoyed an idyllic life in Ceylon but quickly adapted to London life Listen to why she believed it was important to do this project.
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