Bankers hit the mini-fairway to score money for charity

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 December, 2010, 12:00am

Staff from Bank of America Merrill Lynch turned the corridors of their Central offices into a nine-hole mini-golf course and raised a six-figure sum for charity.

More than 30 staff volunteers designed the par-34 course with carpeted fairways and created ponds and sandbanks with old office supplies.

It was the seventh year that the bank had held an office mini-golf day to raise money for Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity appeal organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. Nineteen teams of three players each registered for the afternoon of mini-golf on Friday and HK$121,470 was raised through entry fees, sponsorships and pre-event fundraisers.

Each hole displayed the creativity of staff as players navigated their golf balls though reams of paper, boxes, plastic tubes, old Ovaltine jars, shelving and even a narrow path bordered by balloons. The course weaved its way through two levels of the high-rise building, passing the research department, communal kitchen areas and meeting rooms.

Players came from a variety of departments including investment bankers, traders, research analysts and information-technology staff.

Each team could buy penalty vouchers to reduce their score, with all the proceeds going to charity. Joining the players were RTHK's head of English programme services Bryan Curtis and senior executive Gabriel Butler, who heads the bank's global markets division.

'One of the nicest things from a corporate standpoint is that we spend so much of our time as bankers at the office with our colleagues, and having events like this allows us to see the human side, not just of each other, but of what we can all do to help people outside of our jobs,' Butler said.

'We get everybody in the company educated and interested in the kinds of charities that make a difference in areas such as education and children's health.'

Butler said the bank's 13-year partnership with Operation Santa Claus was part of the company's ethos.

'We're a big global bank and we've had a long-standing tradition of charity work, so this is a continuation of that process. We get so wrapped up in these things that we do every day. People work long hours, and it's easy to lose sight of the big picture and what's going on in the broader world.'

After two hours of fierce competition, Kevin So, Wilford Chiu and Lawrence Li won with the lowest score of 33 strokes. The team that raised the most comprised Eddie Jones, Jason Pliner and Edward Lee.

To make a donation to Operation Santa Claus, visit, to help needy people in Hong Kong and the mainland.

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Donations can be made by ATM or at any HSBC branches: a/c number 502-676299-001 for SCMP CHARITIES LTD - OPERATION SANTA CLAUS

You can donate by cheque, payable to 'SCMP CHARITIES LTD - OPERATION SANTA CLAUS' and mailed to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories, Hong Kong.

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