Tribute to Mrs. Mary Hayman
Mrs.Mary Hayman- Tribute at the Service of Remembrance and
Thanks Giving at the Chapel of the Transfiguration S.Thomas’
College Mount Lavinia 12th January 2008.
‘When I am dead my dearest
Sing no sad songs for me.
Plant thou no roses at my head
Nor shady Cypress tree.
Be the green grass above me
With flowers and dew drops wet.
And if Thou wilt remember,
And if thou wilt forget.’
These lines from Christiana Rosetti resonates the sentiments
of the late Mary Hayman when she wrote in her will, ‘I
want a simple funeral and no flowers Please. “ In life
she never imposed on any one and so too indeed on her death.
She was a person who disliked fuss, putting people out, and
shunned the limelight. But Today in this service it is Right
and we are privileged to Remember And give her Centre Stage.
Mrs.Mary Hayman was the last but not the least of that great
Triumvirate which Guided the destiny of S.Thomas’ College
at Gurutalawa in its formative years. Under the shadow of
the legendary Dr.Rollo Hayman, subwarden of S.Thomas’
Mount Lavinia and later the first Headmaster of S.Thomas’
College at Gurtalawa Mrs.Hayman emerged from it, albeit in
her characteristic subdued manner and established herself
as a person of great value in her own right.
She was born Mary Rudd in Sutton Surrey and her family settled
Down in Worcestershire. She was an ardent supporter of Worcestershire
in the County Cricket Championship and one immediately established
a strong rapport with her in her unsuspected interest both
in the county cricket Championship and the F.A.Cup. It was
a rapport which undergirded a lifelong friendship and evokes
nostalgic memories no less compelling than one has for Dr.Hayman
and Canon Foster.
Trained as a nurse Mary Rudd jointed the Army and in the
line of Service was sent to the military base Hospital in
Bombay. In fulfillment of the axiom that God works in a mysterious
way his wonders to perform the guiding hand in its benevolence
brought her to Ceylon, happily so called at the Time, where
she took up duties at S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia
which had been requisitioned for a military hospital.
Part of the College was relocated in a show piece Farm of
35 acres at Gurutalawa Where Dr..Hayman was in charge and
it was a matter of time before she met Dr.Hayman in an exchange
hiking visit from the Army camp at Diyatalawa accompanied
by a Major Kirk. It was a fortuitous meeting which had Dr.Hayman
Reversing roles and playing the nurse to remove some leaches
which had adhered to the future Mrs.Hayman’s Feet.
They married in 1945 when Dr.Hayman took his home leave in
England and returned as Dr and Mrs.Hayman initially to help
Warden De Saram rehabilitate the School at Mount together
with Fr.Foster as Chaplain, also returned from Home Leave.
Their Job Done they were released to go back to The College
at Gurutalawa, commencing from the first term in 1948.
As a nurse Mrs.Hayman epitomized the highest standards of
the profession and as sickroom matron she established her
own particular Regency over the Thomian community. If Gurutawala
was a showpiece farm with its Keatsian ambience Mrs.Hayman
made the sickroom a haven of care and love. She was particularly
concerned with the Junior boys that they were warm against
the cold and gave two of the attendants a rigorous training
such that they could cope in her absence. She had a bug bear
that the food served was hot and that the kitchens were kept
clean and airy.
Apart from ministering To the boys of the college she opened
its doors to the surrounding Villages and they came to her
from every dell. It was characteristic of her that those needing
Hospital attention were sent in the school vehicle to Badulla
25 miles away with firm instructions to the accompanying attendant
from the school to take good care of the patient which she
would follow up with a telephone call to the hospital, monitoring
progress. It was more than professional care. It was compassion!.
She was a committed environmentalist and her Regency included
the house keeping of the vast campus redolent with Gum and
Fir Trees, fruits of every Kind and flowers of every hue.
Under her unrelenting eye Grass was mowed, Hedges were trimmed,
flowerbeds bloomed, roofs and gutters were cleared of leaves
and twigs. Her Ubiquity kept everyone, Staff, boys, Domestics
and Farm Labourers on their toes. So too the cooks in the
kitchen and the house boys in the Dormitories and I suspect
even when the occasion demanded, Canon Foster and Dr.Hayman.
These occasions though rare arose from moments of indecision
and the predeliction to be soft, when firmness was the order
of the day. She was a Florence Nightingale no doubt but with
more than a touch of Margaret Thatcher.
Her outreach to the farm included in particular the guardianship
of the trees in the campus. It was not just that she saw in
their conservation the opportunity for bird watching which
was her pet hobby but she was sensitive to the amplitude of
its ecological implications and this, long before it became
a global concern as it has become now. Inevitably it brought
her in confrontation with the Welsh Farm manager of the time
who was pressing for a larger extent of pasture land for the
dairy. I believe the lease of the Nine acre block was Dr.Hayman’s
resolution of an embarrassing Empasse as Mrs.Hayman stood
She extended her vocational remit not just to the vegetation
around but to all forms of natural life. She once received
a Turkey for Christmas which lived to a ripe old age and died
a natural death. On another occasion some villagers brought
her a python which she duly released with Piyasena the driver’s
assistance by the very same sisal plant where it was captured.
She always had a Siamese cat as a pet to which she added a
deer and a peacock which actually followed her around She
empathized with them as S.Francis would have done presiding
as he was as the Patron saint of the College Chapel.
Mrs.Hayman was slightly built, always very simply dressed
and had the minimum make up, if at all. She was very much
the country lass unspoilt by her exalted position as the Head
masters wife and completely free of any desire to acquire
the sophistication that would entrap lesser beings to butress
shallow personalities. But Integrity was the shared value
of this famed Gurutalawa triumvirate-that rare and elusive
quality of being true to yourself. She was soft spoken as
one would expect and when she did speak it was in a whisper.
She had a great sense of fun and was equal to making humorous
asides, Deflating the pompous and exposing the spurious. Her
asides were made sotto voice’ with close and understanding
friends. There was no malice or littleness in her.
The ship that brought her to Colombo dropped anchor perforce
a safe distance away from the harbour which was under attack
by a Japanese air squadron, on Easter day April 2nd 1942.
She watched the ominous fireworks display with equanimity
from the deck of her ship and wondered if it was a foretaste
of things to come. One of the Japanese planes crashed in the
big club grounds. But the Dangerous moment Passed. She knew
no danger and had a particular fearless disposition.
One such was an expedition with some old boys on holiday
to explore a cave which tradition maintained reached all the
way by a tunnel to the banks of the Kelani in the Siyanne
Korale. She was gone missing for about One and a Half hours
and emerged from that to the eye was a black hole full of
bats and sundry rodents, to the Great relief of Canon Foster
and some old boys on holiday but one who had the guts to accompany
her. To Mrs.Hayman it was just another day at the office.
Mrs.Hayman retired in 1963 when Dr.Hayman himself decided
to leave. It was a wrench for the School. She returned again
and again 5 times in all 3 of them after Dr.Hayman’s
Death in 1983. On one such occasion she came as the most Logical
Chief Guest for the Schools Golden Jubilee Celebrations. Her
visits were at her own expense and was a great source of strength
to the Thomian Community. She gave generously from her limited
resources without Ostentation.
Having settled down in Bournemouth, Dr.Hayman’s home.
Mrs.Hayman spent Her retirement in ever the Ministering angel
looking after the Old, The infirm and the Bed ridden. These
included Miss.Mowena Hayman Dr.Hayman’s sister, Miss.Joan
Foster Canon Foster’s sister and Miss.Blanchard of prep.
school fame: 3 with Thomian connections of seventeen in all,
at the height of her self obligated Ministry. On Dr.Hayman’s
death she was justly made patron of The Old Thomian association
in the U.K.a position she held till about a few years Before
her death on November the 17th 2008 at the age of 94.
On her later visits she was progressively dismayed at the
State of affairs in the Country and its noxious effect on
the values system which spawned the Thomian Ethos.
Laid Back, softspoken and simple Mrs.Hayman had nerves of
steel and a heart of Gold. She will assuredly have a place
in her own right in the annals of the College. She lives on
according to her faith elevated by the quality of her life
In a dimension beyond the ken of human consciousness.
And we shall not forget. We shall Remember. Her memory remains
within our domain, Inspiring us by example to love not merely
the School but all Life; and indeed Life itself as a gift
to be shared and given in the service of others.