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Huge crowds gather at Canterbury Cathedral for funeral of Whitstable Medical practice GP Dr Lakshman 'David' Kanagasooriam, known as Dr Kana

By Anna MacSwan

Hundreds gathered at Canterbury Cathedral this morning for the funeral of a "kind" and "hard-working" Whitstable GP.

Fellow doctors, patients, family and friends packed out the Quire to pay their respects to father-of-three Dr Lakshman 'David' Kanagasooriam, who died suddenly on December 19 at the age of 61 following a collapse.

Colleagues paid tribute to the much-loved family doctor, who had worked at Whitstable Medical Practice since 1997 and was fondly known as Dr Kana and Dr David, for his dedication to patients from "all walks of life".

Dr Lakshman Kanasagooriam
Dr Lakshman Kanasagooriam

Speaking at the service, surgery partner Dr John Ribchester said: "He had a sense of vocation. He was never just doing his job, and he was a very thorough GP.

"He never lost his enthusiasm. And through his teaching I know that many GPs in training were motivated to adopt his conscientious and caring approach.

"He will not be forgotten."

Originally from Sri Lanka, Dr Kanagasooriam arrived in the UK at the age of 11 after his family were forced to flee their home country in the years before its long-running civil war.

His sons James, 30, and Jonathan, 32, made heartfelt tributes to their father, a devout Christian who had served with his wife and "soulmate" Angeline as a steward at the Cathedral every Sunday for almost 20 years.

James said Dr Kanagasooriam had chosen to raise his family in the city as "his own pilgrimage" after he sought refuge in England following his early years growing up in a small town in Sri Lanka surrounded by tea plantations and known as "Little England".

An old photograph of Lakshman with his sons Jonathan and James, now 32 and 30.
An old photograph of Lakshman with his sons Jonathan and James, now 32 and 30.

Jonathan, meanwhile, described him as a quiet but authoritative figure and dedicated public servant, saying: "Dad was a brilliant diplomat. He never used a sentence when a word would do, and never used a word when a wry smile would suffice.

"He would take calls [from patients] in the middle of the night, and drive for hours down Kent's back roads. It wore him out, but it also gave him purpose, and more importantly, was the right thing to do."

The service included hymns sung by the Cathedral Choir, who were joined by ex choral scholars from Eton and King's College, Cambridge, and an address by the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury.

Crowds gather at Canterbury Cathedral following Dr Kanagasooriam's funeral.
Crowds gather at Canterbury Cathedral following Dr Kanagasooriam's funeral.

Tributes left by patients in a book of condolences at Whitstable Medical Practice, which now holds more than 400 messages from families and individuals alike, were also read.

They included words from one patient who said: "Dr Kana not only saved my life, he gave me a reason to live".

Dr Kanagasooriam, who was born on December 30, 1956, leaves behind his wife of 34 years, Angeline, sons Jonathan and James and daughter Evangeline.

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