15 excited young rugby players and 3 equally excited coaches flew out of Chek Lap Kok airport today heading to the rolling moors of the Yorkshire Dales for this year’s Tony Ho Summer Rugby Camp.
Ahead of them lies the adventure of a life time, as over the next 10 days they will have their time filled with rock climbing, go karting, cable water skiing, a trip to Alton Towers theme park, as well as 20 hours of rugby coaching delivered by staff from the Natal Sharks Academy. They’ll also have a chance to meet former South African and French internationals Thinus Delport and Brian Leibenberg, who will be passing on their knowledge on and off the pitch.
Over 100 youngsters from around the world will participate in this year’s Camp, hosted by Mount St Mary’s College, which is the school attended by former Hong Kong Under 20 international and Kowloon player Tony Ho, who was tragically killed while studying at university. On the back of that devastating incident, the school and Kowloon have developed a close relationship forged on the determination to honour Tony’s memory and create a lasting legacy in his name. Funds raised over the past few years from the Kowloon RugbyFest tournament go to support youngsters from Kowloon Lions, Sai Kung Stingrays and Operation Breakthrough attending the summer camp, and there are ongoing discussions to look at ways to fund a full scholarship place at the school for a local Hong Kong student who would never normally have an opportunity to study overseas.
“We are very proud of what we have managed to achieve so far,” explained Kowloon Director of Rugby Mark McMillan, “and I’m sure this group of lads are going to return from the Tony Ho Camp not only better rugby players but having made new friends and experienced different cultures – not least the unique Yorkshire culture of course! Raising the funds each year to support a trip like this is a challenge, but having seen the impact it had on our youngsters last year I am convinced it’s money well spent. We are very grateful to all the corporates and individuals who generously support our fund raising efforts at RugbyFest, and of course we are always keen to talk to anyone else who’d like to get involved with this project.”