Sri Lankan star, the London-based artiste Desmond De Silva
presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to showbiz personality Vijaya Corea at a
packed BMICH Conference Hall in Colombo on Saturday 6th August 2005. Desmond de
Silva is known as the ‘King of Baila’ and has performed all over the world.
The show ‘Grand Salute to Vijaya Corea’ celebrated his career of 40 years in
showbusiness. All the major Sri Lankan stars performed on this occasion. Alston
Koch flew from Australia so did Nimal Mendis from London who performed his
greatest hit, ‘Master Sir. ‘ The others included Sunil Perera and The Gypsies,
Mignonne Fernando of the Jetliners fame, Dalreene, Dharamaratne Brothers among a
roll call of top artistes.Desmond de Silva sang some of top hits at the show attended by the distinguished
European Union parliamentarian Nirj Deva who is visiting Sri Lanka. The Lifetime
Achievement Award was presented by Desmond de Silva to Vijaya Corea on behalf of
the Autism Awareness Campaign UK and Sri Lanka. Former Director-General of the
Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Vijaya Corea has been a staunch supporter of
the Autism Awareness Campaign.
Speaking to the hundreds who had attended the concert Desmond de Silva said: ‘
We are gathered here as entertainers for a very special moment in this
spectacular concert. We are here to pay tribute to Dr. Vijaya Corea who
celebrates 40 years in broadcasting and as a showbiz man. But there is a ‘little
known’ fact – Vijaya has a heart for people and children with disabilities.
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder affecting so many around the world.
Autism is not mental illness, these children and adults think differently.
Albert Einstein they say was autistic. How many in the audience know that there
are 38,000 autistic people in Sri Lanka? So we as entertainers, urge you all to
‘speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.’ Lets spread awareness
of autism, particularly when numbers of autistic children are rising and we urge
our government to also provide public services – who knows we may even produce
Albert Einsteins if we provide education, health, specialist speech therapy for
autistic children in our lovely island.
Vijaya has a heart for children with autism – wherever he has traveled, he has
raised awareness of autism. On behalf of the Autism Awareness Campaign I take
great pleasure in presenting him with this LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD,’ said
Desmond de Silva.