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Sunday, 14 December 2008

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Building bridges of friendship between France and Lanka

A writer, photographer and most of all a man with a large heart Philippe Fabry was honoured with the decoration of 'Chevalier (Knight) de l'Ordre National du Merite' by French Ambassador Jean Bernard de Vaivre recently at his residence in Colombo.


Philippe Fabry

Fabry was honoured with this decoration for the numerous activities accomplished during the past few years in Asia and particularly in Sri Lanka.

He is considered as one of the few people engaged in building bridges of friendship between France and Sri Lanka through his numerous talents and generosity.

Fabry has built two boat yards in Beliatta and Batticaloa to train people to build boats. The Batticaloa team comprises all females and "they are fantastic", he said.

Born in 1952, Fabry left France very early in life to travel around the world. On his first visit to Sri Lanka in 1980, he worked as a Mahout at the Elephant Village of S. R. A. Millangoda for a few months before he left for Singapore, Jakarta, Sydney and around the world.

Several years later, while again in Singapore, Fabry was offered the post of GM of Alison and Son, a company working for Levi's and other major brands. He came with his family and settled down in Negombo initially but shifted to Colombo due to his children's schooling after eight years. Initially the company placed orders in Seeduwa, Malabe and Horana.

The designing offices were in Italy and France while the head office was in Hong Kong.

There were equivalent production in China as well which made them to decide to close the operations in Sri Lanka.

"I was offered a posting in Hong Kong but I turned it down and stayed back and met Prof. Senake Bandaranayake at the Central Cultural Fund and set up the photo archives on a voluntary basis.

I was also working for the French Photo Agency SIPA as a photographer", said Fabry.

Due to an oversight our headline last week read as "Italian honoured for building boats and bridges of friendship."

The error is regretted.

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