Percy Abeysekera, fondly known as ‘Uncle Percy’ the iconic and longest-serving one-man cheerleader in Sri Lankan cricket, passed away on Monday at the age of 87.
Abeysekera was a familiar and heartening figure at cricket grounds for more than seven decades, starting his enthusiastic lion flag-waving support back in 1948 during the pre-Test era. His presence continued through the glorious times of Sri Lankan cricket.
Born on July 30, 1936, in Boossa, Southern Sri Lanka, Percy attended Richmond College and St Aloysius College Galle. He was renowned for his exceptional skill in spontaneously crafting quick, humorous rhymes in the English language, endearing himself to the global cricketing community.
Percy’s affection for the game extended to his family, naming his son Sampath Garfield in honor of the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers. Later, his grandchildren were named Avinka Garfield and Sachinka, paying tribute to the great Sachin Tendulkar. His journey as a cheerleader began during the Australia vs. All Ceylon match in 1948 at the Colombo Oval (Sara Stadium), coinciding with Sir Don Bradman’s visit with the Australian team.
Beyond his cheerleading persona, Abeysekera showcased his cricketing talents by playing for St Aloysius and Aquinas University College, where he participated in the prestigious Daily News Trophy. Notably, he captained the Associate Motorways (AMW) cricket team to victory over the LAKE HOUSE cricket team, securing the Mercantile ‘G’ Division title in 1968 at Rifle Green (Air Force Ground), Colombo. Percy’s funeral arrangements will be notified later.