Operation Santa Claus receives HK$1m from 5-a-side footballers
Annual tournament expects donations to keep rolling in after Manulife beat newcomers Freshfields to take home cup for third consecutive year
Sweaty senior executives and trainees teamed up to battle it out with their rival firms on the football pitch last weekend - and all for a good cause.
The 18th annual Five-a-Side Football Tournament, which took place at the Stanley Ho Playing Fields in Pok Fu Lam on Sunday, saw more than 350 participants from 16 of Hong Kong's top corporations raise nearly HK$1 million for the Operation Santa Claus charity appeal.
"It's our first year in the tournament," said Freshfields' team captain Bob Hu.
"It got a little heated with the other law firms, but we joined just to help raise money for charity," the skipper added.
"We never thought we'd make it to the finals."
Manulife and Freshfields played a hard-fought final, but the Manulife side's tight teamwork and quick feet helped them take home the cup for the third year in a row.
"We had the support of many of our clients, who donated generously and made us want to put in our best effort," said Manulife's team captain Arthur Liu Chi-hung.
Also at the event, 34 junior league teams played in their largest tournament of the year.
Santa visited the children at lunchtime, as caterers sold hot dogs and chips to raise money for the Christmas appeal.
"It was a lot of fun because we got to play in games, even though we didn't win," said eight-year-old Jesse Clement from Beacon Hill primary school.
Operation Santa Claus set a record last year, raising HK$17.5 million, which was distributed to 150 local charities.
The Five-A-Side Football Tournament has been a major fund-raising event for the past 15 years. "Corporate teams will continue to raise funds in the coming weeks," said Antony Phillips, co-ordinator of this year's event.
"We hope to help break another record this year," he added.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE
- Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
- Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account no: 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus)
- You can donate with a cheque payable to "SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus" and mail it to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories,
- Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and phone number, to the above address. Please call 2680 8159 or e-mail email@example.com with any inquiries, or visit us online at osc.scmp.com