Obituary: Llasa Perera gave years of public service

Llasa Perera
Llasa Perera

A Linslade resident who gave many years of his life to public service as a magistrate and who trained many promising young sports players has died aged 70.

Llasa Perera, of Bideford Green, was best known locally as a badminton player since he founded the Cygnets club for youngsters and provided coaching sessions for more than 25 years producing several county players, however his first love was cricket.

As a boy in Sri Lanka he had a reputation of being impossible to get out and was also and off-spinner.

When he came to England in 1965 he was offered a place in the Middlesex County Cricket side but had to decline because in those days cricketers played five-day matches and were not paid and he had to earn a living.

Instead he became a chartered engineer training at Enfield College of Technology and worked for British Gas for his whole career.

He was a member of the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers.

He took up badminton when he realised he could not play cricket for Middlesex and became and excellent player and coach.

He also founded a club for seniors at Vandyke Upper School, which eventually merged with Leighton Buzzard Badminton Club where he remained a member until his death.

Many members of the club were coached by him and he was still giving tactical advice and joining in on club nights.

He served as a magistrate in Bedfordshire for more than 25 years and was chairman of the bench for a period, although lately serving in the family courts.

He confided that he never liked sending anyone to prison and particularly younger people because he always believed they had a better chance of reform in the community.

He also had a love of photography and before the age of the digital camera had his own darkroom at home.

He frequently travelled back to Sri Lanka to see members of his family and where possible combined these trips with wildlife photography and watching test cricket.

It was on one of these trips earlier this month with his wife, Varuna, that he died of heart failure. He also leaves two daughters, Anoushka and Ruth, and a son, Johann. Ruth plays in the first team for Leighton Buzzard Badminton Club.