Christmas elves, the Minions, the Flintstones and a host of other wacky characters recently descended on a Hong Kong sporting club to battle it out for a good cause. The familiar characters were in fact eccentrically dressed participants in the 2022 Wing Ding Squash Charity Tournament, held at the Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) in Happy Valley on November 19. The event raised about HK$410,000 (US$52,632) for Operation Santa Claus (OSC), an annual fundraising campaign organised by the South China Morning Post and public broadcaster RTHK. Marking its 35th anniversary this year, OSC has raised HK$353 million to support the Hong Kong community through 323 charitable projects since its launch in 1988. A total of 15 projects are being funded this year. “Every penny that we raise goes to OSC,” said Steve Gollop, chairman of HKFC’s Squash Section Charity Sub-committee, organiser of the annual tournament. Dressed as the devil for the cause, Gollop said OSC helped the club “in a very big way” in giving back to the Hong Kong community. “OSC enables us to simply raise money without having to worry about anything else. We can concentrate on raising money, having a good day, getting as many people involved as possible, and we just know that everything we raise goes to very good causes,” he said. A total of 13 teams, comprising 169 costumed players aged 11 to 80, competed in the tournament. They came from sports clubs, past and present, from around the city. “It’s very much a Hong Kong community event,” Gollop said. Hong Kong Golf Club comes out swinging as charity game raises HK$5 million The funds were raised from participation fees, a silent auction, donations, and corporate sponsors including St James’s Place Foundation, Squash-ME.io, Hill Dickinson and Burke & Company Solicitors. The top fundraising team was sponsored by Squash-ME.io, a platform at the intersection of gaming and finance (GameFi). “I sent out 20 to 30 WhatsApp messages every day for the last two to three weeks, asking for donations to Wing Ding,” said Charles Li Tak-kwong, CEO of Pelican Financial Investment, the lead venture capitalist behind the platform. “I feel good because we set an example that if you want to do something with a good cause and intention, there are always many ways to achieve that,” said Li who, together with his wife Karen Scheinecker, were kitted out as the Minions. Scheinecker, an Australian who has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years, supported Li’s team by raising money, bringing supplies and cheering them on. The couple’s 16-year-old son also played in the tournament. “It’s a family event. It’s really important that squash goes to raising money for Operation Santa Claus and that the whole family helps in that. It’s meaningful. And it’s fun,” she said. “It’s also important for our son to understand that you have to give back to the community.” Damien Laracy, managing partner at law firm Hill Dickinson, was taking part in the tournament for the 10th year. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to give something back to Hong Kong,” said the New Zealander, who has lived in the city for 28 years. “It’s a great opportunity to contribute to a very good cause, to people who are less fortunate than us. It’s wonderful to be able to exercise in a group setting again after the Covid restrictions” Hong Kong charity’s STEM programme enriches lives of disadvantaged students Dressed as one of the Flintstones, Laracy explained his team’s costume choice. “We were given the colour orange and asked to find some costumes. We all decided that we had very fond memories as children of watching the cartoon ‘The Flintstones’.” The Wing Ding Squash Charity Tournament was founded more than two decades ago in memory of the late Yuen Kam-wing, a physically impaired staff member at the Hong Kong Squash Centre who died in 1998. The event is open to all, and even welcomed local squash star Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin in 2013. In its first few years, the tournament was played without any charity partnership, until OSC came on board in 2004. “We have very big plans for next year, our 25th anniversary,” said Gollop from the organising committee. “We will be pushing hard to get 14 corporate sponsors next year in an effort to break all records for the amount raised.” For more information on this year’s beneficiaries, please click here .