Squash tournament sure to be a big hit

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 November, 2011, 12:00am


Tim Everest is confident the annual Wing Ding squash tournament at the Hong Kong Football Club next Saturday will raise at least as much as it did last year despite the turmoil in the financial markets.

Everest is co-ordinator of the colourful fund-raiser for Operation Santa Claus and says he enjoys every aspect of the 'very meaningful and never-ending job'.

In fact he enjoys it so much that he's already started preparing for next year's tournament.

'It is not easy to double up each year without some new ideas. There are a lot of kind people out there but you have to spend time to find them. So when one [tournament] comes to an end, I am already starting the preparation on how to involve more people,' the businessman said.

'It is a never-ending project. Out of all these efforts, you can bring relief to a child or someone in need, seeing the smiles on those faces when they know that you have done something, out of the goodness of your heart, it's worth it.

'There are many kind-hearted and diligent people working to make the lives of those in need better. Their work is admirable. But without funding, they can't do their work. It is why the fund-raising appeal is so important,' Everest said, explaining why it takes more than a year to organise the event.

Operation Santa Claus is an annual fund-raising appeal jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. It has supported more than 100 charities since it was set up in 1988. This year it will support 16 beneficiaries to help the needy in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

Wing Ding has been a major donor to Operation Santa Claus for seven years. Last year, the squash tournament raised more than HK$1 million for the charity appeal.

'The stock market is going up and down. Raising money is quite a challenge. But I am confident it will be at least as good as last year's,' Everest said.

As for previous tournaments it will run non-stop from 11am next Saturday, with 14 teams playing 13 three- to four-minute games. The 140 participants will play within 10 skill levels, dashing to the next court at the end of each game.

Each player must wear a creative costume that shows off their team's designated colours.

The tournament and its related events will raise funds through entry fees, auctions, raffle sales and individual donations.

First prize in the raffle will be two return Cathay Pacific business-class tickets to Bali. There are more than 100 prizes including a Leica camera and Esprit vouchers.

Auction prizes - week-long stays in luxury resorts in Thailand, Indonesia and Japan - will be announced straight after the tournament.

The event will be broadcast live on Radio Three between 11am and 1pm.

The squash tournament is named after Yuen Kam-wing, a disabled man who worked at the Hong Kong squash centre in Admiralty during the 1980s and '90s. He died in 1998 aged 33 because of complications with his illness.

The tournament was founded in 1998 by two of Wing's friends, Phil Head and Nick Rickett. 'The whole idea is about remembering the spirit of Wing, a severely handicapped man who smiled every day,' Everest said.

'He was fiercely optimistic and he was such an example of hope. He always felt he was lucky to be alive. I'm sure he will be tremendously proud looking down from heaven and seeing what we are doing.'

Everest said he enjoys being involved in the annual charity event. 'OSC identifies a project and there is a ceiling fixed for it. After the money is delivered, there is an audit to find out whether it was spent on what it was delivered for,' he said. 'I know there are many beneficiaries that OSC is not reaching but, eventually, we will get there I am sure,' he said.

For more information, visit www.wingding.hk or call 9104 6383.