Saturday 21st October proved to be the birthday surprise of a lifetime for parishioner Sharmalene Fernando. Whilst she was expecting to have a quiet celebration with two of her three sons, the reality turned out to be quite different…
Sharmalene thought she was travelling into Guildford with her youngest son Matt to meet up with her middle son Mark, when he made an unexpected diversion to St. Pius X, on the pretext of having to collect some old sheet music that was being cleared out from the church. There, a visibly shocked Sharmalene emerged from the car, to be greeted by a large gathering of family, friends and parishioners. But Sharmalene’s biggest surprise came when she saw her eldest son, Michael, who as far as she was concerned was posted out in Somalia, standing there in front of her, having secretly returned to join in the celebrations.
It emerged that Michael had sown the seed of an idea for a “surprise party” before leaving the country in July. Mark had taken on the responsibility for organising invitations and the catering and Matthew had taken on the drinks, décor and music. Amazingly, that morning was the first time that the boys had seen each other since late June. A sumptuous spread of food, skilfully prepared by Mark, was greatly appreciated by the whole gathering.
After the surprise party, Sharmalene said that she wished to express “a big Thank You to our lovely community, which our little family joined over 32 years ago. Despite the initial shock, it was both heart-warming and joyous to celebrate the day amongst close family and friends. What a wonderful memory to hold onto for the years ahead. Thank you for being there and for the lovely, thoughtful gifts.
“I hope to thank friends individually, but three gifts, a beautiful bouquet of flowers from M&S, a lovely coral coloured Begonia plant, and a sweet smelling scented candle wrapped in a silver starry wrapping paper are without names. I’d love to know who gifted them so that I can thank you personally. Once again, a Big Thank You to everyone from both myself and the three boys.”
Thank you also to Sharmalene’s close friend Karunaseeli Somasiri for her excellent photographs, which have captured this special occasion perfectly, and can be seen below: