Deepthi Wickremasinghe – 6s 73-80
Submitted by Ravi Wickremasinghe
Deepthi was a strong yet unassuming person, who led a full and varied life. She had many talents and qualities.
At school, she was particularly drawn to creative activities. She played the violin, sang in the choir, made beautiful printed textiles for a-level art, performed in house plays and, memorably, danced the role of the Raven in the school performance of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fluddel. She enjoyed sports – including illicit midnight swims in the school pool. In her final year Deepthi was head of house.
That creative impulse was present throughout her life, often applied in practical ways. She enjoyed making clothes, objects, cards, delicious meals. She studied textiles at Camberwell School of Art. She always baked her own bread. She enjoyed gardening, creating a wonderful urban space with her son Joe in the back garden of their flat in Camberwell, south London. Deepthi was drawn to the natural world. She loved walking and sea-swimming in all seasons, particularly in Cornwall and the Isle of Mull.
Deepthi was curious, intelligent and keen to learn. And she was determined to make the best of herself. In her 30s, while working as a financial journalist at Reuters and raising her family, she somehow managed to find time to do a degree in the evenings in History, Politics and Philosophy.
Deepthi was a voracious and wide-ranging reader throughout her life. And she enjoyed books as objects in themselves. After school, she trained in bookbinding and worked in the London Library, going back there for a second stint many years later. In her 40s, she did an MA in knowledge and information management and went on to work in the information and communications team at Guys’ and St Thomas’ hospitals.
In her last decade, Deepthi worked at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a researcher and an information and knowledge management specialist. Her research focused on maternal and newborn health in Nigeria, Ethiopia and India. She contributed to many papers and travelled overseas regularly, recently leading on a study in Gombe state in Nigeria,
Alongside her academic work, Deepthi felt called to study for ordination into the Church. In June last year she was ordained as a deacon in Southwark Cathedral. She took up a curacy at a parish in Walworth, south-east London. And in February 2020, she became the licensed chaplain for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, joining the University of London Chaplaincy team. Deepthi was excited about this new phase in her life.
Deepthi was a devoted mother to Joe and Naomi and grandmother to Elspeth. And her wider family was very important to her – she was took care to engage on an individual level with her many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles, and affectionately kept in touch with her large extended family in the UK, Sri Lanka, Australia and North America.
Deepthi died on 2 April after a short period of illness. Her ashes will be interred at Phillack Church in Hayle in Cornwall. She is greatly missed by her family, friends and colleagues all over the world.