WHITTON and RITCH -Surname Studies and people from the Island of GRAEMSAY, Orkney

Joan Doris Keysor

Joan Doris Keysor

Female 1923 - 2008  (85 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    All

  • Name Joan Doris Keysor 
    Born 1923 
    Gender Female 
    Died 27 Dec 2008  Colombo, Sri Lanka Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I20099  My Relatives
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2018 

    Father Leonard Maurice Kyezor,   b. 3 Nov 1885, Maida Vale, London Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Oct 1951, London Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Gladys Louise Benjamin,   b. 1890 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 21 Jul 1921  Hill Street, Synagogue Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F7159  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Archibald J Hamilton 
    Married 1942  Marylebone, Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Living
     2. Nicholas Hamilton  [natural]
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2018 
    Family ID F8045  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Lakdasa de Mel,   b. 24 Mar 1902, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Oct 1976  (Age 74 years) 
    Married Abt 1971 
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2018 
    Family ID F8046  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Founder of Sumithrayo was a mother to hundreds
      John De Mel

      We at Sumithrayo fondly remember our mentor, mother and founder Joan de Mel, who passed away on December 27, 2008 in Colombo at the age of 87, leaving behind her daughter Penny and son Nick.

      The widow of a British Army officer, Joan came to Sri Lanka in 1971 to marry Bishop Lakdasa de Mel.
      Energetic and committed, Joan was persuaded into starting a local branch of Befrienders International by Chad Varah, founder of The Samaritans, a worldwide organisation dedicated to helping those who are lonely, depressed and desperate.

      Here is how it came about:

      One day, Dr. Hugh, physician to Joan’s husband, the Bishop, asked Joan whether she knew of any place in England that the suicidal could turn to for help and counsel (Dr. Hugh had had four cases of attempted suicide admitted to his hospital ward that day).

      Joan, who had worked as a Samaritan in London, launched her local counselling and help project. With her energetic steering committee, comprising Dr. Wijerama, Mansoor and Nalini, Joan found a suitable building and suitable volunteers.

      In 1974, with the encouragement and support of her husband, friends and well-wishers, Joan established Sri Lanka Sumithrayo as a branch of Befrienders International. “Sumithrayo” means “best friends”.

      With Sri Lanka Sumithrayo becoming a reality, Joan’s life was transformed. She maintained a busy and hectic schedule as a Sumithrayo volunteer to the very end.

      Joan’s husband Bishop Lakdasa de Mel passed away peacefully after a brief illness in 1976. Joan was a regular contributor to newspapers and church magazines, and her first book, published shortly after her husband’s death, was titled “Lakdasa de Mel: God’s Servant, World Citizen’s Son”.

      Joan was also the author of “Closer Than a Brother”. The title comes from the Book of Proverbs, in the Holy Bible, and emphasises the Sumithrayo philosophy of caring for those who are overwhelmed by their personal problems.

      Joan, widow of the late Lakdasa and of the late James Hamilton, mother of Penelope and Nicholas, died on 27th December 2008 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Funeral was carried out according to her wishes. Memorial Service to be announced. Donations in her memory to The Samaritans.