Millions of words may have been written about this man – not for any of his batting or bowling prowess. He is the No.1 cheerleader in the game of cricket. His name is Walimuni Denham Percy Gimson Mendis Abeysekera better known as Percy Abeysekera.
He was born in Boossa, down south, on 30 July 1936 and will celebrate his 84th birthday on Thursday.
Percy saw Sir Don Bradman in action in Colombo when he was 11, he was about 30 when Sri Lanka became an Associate Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1965, he was 38 when Sri Lanka played in her first-ever World Cup in 1975, 45 when she gained Test status in 1981, 49 when they recoded their first Test win in 1985, 59 when Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup, and 78 when she won their first T20 World Cup.
Percy saw Sri Lanka skippers from Mahadevan Sathasivam to Dimuth Karunaratne.
“My wholehearted gratitude to my parents, family members, and my teachers. My first employer for 20 years, Sir Cyril de Zoysa of AMW, my present employer from 1980 up to now, Messrs Gotabaya Madanayake and Suren Madanayake of ACL and the entire cricket family of the world,” Percy told ‘Sunday Morning Sports’ on Wednesday.
Percy Abeysekera is not your average employee. In fact he is a living legend and Sri Lanka’s much-loved
veteran one man cheer leader. Percy is also one of the first employees of ACL Cables PLC joined back in
1962 has been working with the nation’s no. 1 Cable company in Sri Lanka
Recognizing his contribution to the sport and the organization, ACL Cables celebrated his 82 nd birthday at
the company’s head office recently.
During the gala occasion, Percy cut a special cake which preceded the main celebratory function amidst the presence of all ACL staff members. The happy occasion was graced by many past cricketing legends and the media. Upali Madanayake, Chairman ACL Cables PLC and Suren Madanayake, Managing Director ACL Cables PLC also graced the occasion.
The event was especially memorable as several cricketers including members from the victorious 1996 World Cup squad such as Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama, Hashan Tilakaratne accompanied by Sri Lanka’s long standing veteran cricketing duo Sidath Vettamuni and Brendon Kuruppu graced the function making way for Percy to share many sweet memories of the past with the crowd. Representing the current national team and recent past Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sachithra Senanayake and Nuwan Kulasekara were also present at the occasion. Commenting on this special occasion, Chairman, Upali Madanayake said, “I'm really privileged to have such an active and dedicated employee in our staff for 56 years. He has been a great source of strength and encouragement to me and the company. Since our inception in 1962 Percy has been with us during good times as well as not so great times. I wish him every success in life and long life ahead so that he may also be with us for more years.”
Adding to these sentiments, Suren Madanayake, Managing Director noted, “At ACL Cables we are really proud of Percy who has been with us for over five decades and we are honoured to organise a function to celebrate his 82nd birthday. We truly appreciate his steadfast commitment towards the company and the whole of Sri Lanka throughout and believe he deserves much more. All of us at ACL Cables wish Percy good health, happiness and long life. For Percy who cheered many of our cricketers on the field whilst going on to achieve centuries in their cricketing career, we now pray that he continues onward and achieves a century in his own life too.”
Percy joined ACL Cables in 1962 as a factory foreman and escalated to the post of factory manager in his professional career. Later on Percy moved to ACL head office taking over the role of Public Relations consultant and serve as the brand ambassador for ACL Cable corporate affairs.
Percy starting his one-man cheering squad in 1948 when he was 12 years old, witnessing his first match at the P. Sara stadium between Australia and Ceylon. He's one of the very few alive today to have witnessed the likes of Sir Donald Bradman and Mahadevan Sathasivam during the same match. An extremely pleased Percy said, “I'm happy and thankful to the Chairman, MD and the staff of ACL Cables for organizing such a memorable surprise birthday for me. While I feel so honored cheering our mother land for 70 years, 30 years without the flag and 40 years with the flag, at the same time I feel so privileged working for ACL under this great management. I thank everyone who attended the ceremony specially our 1996 World Champs with whom I treasure many special memories.