Mourning for Cyril Lawrence
A long standing Skålleague Cyril Lawrence passed away in late January.
Fondly known in the Sri Lankan Travel Industry as the ‘Father of Skål International Colombo’ he joined Skål International on 1st January 1961 and had a continuous membership for 61 years.
Cyril Lawrence held the posts of Public Relations Office, Secretary and President (1969-1970, 1983-1984, 1985-1986, 1989-1990) of Skål International Colombo. In 1985 he was appointed as the International Councilor for the Asian Area. In 1988 he attended the Skål International World Congress held in Vienna and won the bid for Skål International Colombo to host the 1990 AISC World Congress of which he was the Chairman of the Organizing Committee. This congress attracted 800 delegates from 45 countries.
In 1990 he was elected as a Vice President for the Asian Area and in 1991 became a Life Member of Skål International Colombo. In 1995 he was awarded the ‘Membre D’ Honneur Asian Area’ at the 24th Asian Area Congress held in Cebu. In 1996 at the AISC World Congress held in Bangkok, he was awarded ‘Order of Skål Merit’ becoming only the 1st Asian at that time, to receive this honour. In 1997 he was elected to the post of President Asian Area and served his term until 1999.
In his professional life, Sk. Cyril joined Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co (Agents for P & O Lines) in 1955 and retired in 1985 after serving the company as its Managing Director for the last ten years. During this tenure he founded Mackinnons Travels (An IATA Travel Agency and Agents for American Express Travel), Mack Transport (Agents for Avis) and Mack Air (General Sales Agents for Gulf Air). He chaired the Organizing Committees for the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Conference in 1973, the Universal Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA) Conference in 1976 and the International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA) Congress in 1983 which were all held in Sri Lanka.
He was also a Trustee of the 'Joseph T Neary Memorial Foundation', a charity that was set up by the Skål International Delegates from the United States who attended the 1990 World Congress to support a Creche and Educational Centre for Disadvantaged Children in Sri Lanka. This Foundation is in existence even today, thanks to the voluntary donations of many Skål International clubs and individual Skålleagues from around the world and has grown 33 year later, helping many more creches and orphanages on the Country.
After his retirement and in recognition of his services to the Tourism Industry of Sri Lanka, in 1991, he was appointed by the Sri Lankan Government as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.
He was predeceased by his wife and has two children and four grandchildren.