Tributes to kind and caring Thanet health professional Metha

Tributes have been paid to Metha

By Pete Barnett

Upali Meththananda – known to the community simply as Metha – helped generations of people at his sports injuries, physiotherapy and traditional acupuncture clinics in Thanet.

Following his death last month, heartfelt tributes flowed in to his family, highlighting the caring and kindness of a dedicated professional whose personal approach endeared him to thousands of patients, many of whom became friends.

Renowned for his generosity of spirit, it was highlighted in his response to the massive tsunami that devastated parts of his homeland Sri Lanka and other countries in south east Asia on Boxing Day 2004.

Within days Metha and his family were instrumental in a local aid effort that saw 20 tonnes of clothing, essential food items, tents and medical aid plus financial donations being collected and sent to stricken survivors, in particular children.

This led to the formation of KASTDA, (Kent Association for Tsunami Daruwo), a registed charity with Metha as a founder, that fund-raised through social and sporting events with the simple aim to support the educational welfare of the orphans.

It has enabled around 200 young people a safe and successful future, including those who went to become doctors, engineers, teachers, civil servants, agricultural graduates, and a member of the Sri Lankan cricket squad.

Every Boxing Day the dedicated local KASTDA group, accompanied by its patron Sir Roger Gale MP, would lay a commemorative wreath on the sea at Margate in memory of those who perished in the tsunami.

Born on April 30, 1947, in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Metha was one of eight children. He graduated from Columbo Physiotherapy School in 1972. He met Karuna at Columbo Hospital in 1978 and the couple married and had their first child Iranthi in 1979.

Metha immigrated alone to Oldham in the UK in 1981, settled and re-united his family in Thanet in 1983. He worked as a physiotherapist at Margate Hospital, complementing his training as an acupuncturist, and gradually setting up private practices.

Many thousands of patients knew Metha through his successful Medical Health Clinic in Canterbury Road, Westbrook, which he opened in October 1994.

Respected by fellow professionals and his patients, his kind and caring approach where he was concerned for the whole person as well as their specific conditions won him many plaudits and countless thanks over the decades.

A keen cricket fan and a determined badminton player, he was also a long-serving Thanet Rotarian and a supporter of local businesses and economic development for the area.

His faith and philosophy were vital to him. Together with Karuna he regularly visited regional Bhuddist temples for moments of reflection and took supportive offerings for the monks. The couple were also well-respected in the wider community for their quiet kindness of those who needed support whatever the circumstance.

He leaves his wife Karuna, children Iranthi and Dan, and three grandchildren, Oscar, Jude and Margot.

The family said: “We have been overwhelmed with the messages of sympathy and support we have received from so many people who knew Metha through the years including friends, colleagues and former patients. He enjoyed a quiet and simple life and well as bringing people together at his home Birchington.

“He followed his beliefs, adored his family, loved his friends and above all was a humble, caring and kind person.”

The family welcomes any well-wishers to join them at midday on Sunday, November 12, at Thanet Crematorium for the service.

1 Comment

  1. I am so sorry to read this sad news. Mehta was a lovely man and a brilliant physio. Deepest sympathy to his beautiful wife and family. Mehta was a hugely respected member of our community and this is reflected in Pete’s tribute. A great loss.

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