The Sri Lanka High Commission commemorated the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Australia by organising a blood donation on Saturday 29th April, in collaboration with the Red Cross Blood Service and the Sri Lankan community in Canberra. 29th April holds special significance as the date on which the first Commissioner of Australia to then Ceylon, Charles Frost, set up office in Colombo in 1947.

Over 80 blood and plasma donations were made at the Red Cross House in Canberra which will help save approximately 270 Australian lives. The donors included staff of the High Commission, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Sri Lankan community in Canberra.

High Commissioner Skandakumar was joined by Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly Suzanne Orr and Assistant Secretary/ South Asia Branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Andrew Collins to cut a specially designed cake prepared by Savitri Lecamwasam for the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Orr said “I congratulate the Sri Lanka High Commission for this unique way of celebrating the 70th Anniversary of our diplomatic relations, by donating blood as a gesture to symbolise the strong bonds of friendship and goodwill”.

High Commissioner Skandakumar recalled the anniversary celebration at Parliament House on Valentine’s Day, when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hosted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, and paid tribute in particular to the strong people to people ties.

The High Commissioner said that “the blood donation programme was a goodwill gesture towards the wellbeing of the Australian people and acknowledged the near 150,00 Sri Lankans who have made Australia their home and contributed meaningfully to the economy.”

The High Commissioner thanked Janaka Welikala from the Sri Lankan community in Canberra who helped the High Commission in organising the programme, and all community members who participated by donating blood or plasma, and to those who contributed by providing refreshments to the donors.

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