Skip to main content

Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu Club

2262. Stephen Ornellas

Stephen Ornellas, from Liverpool, has taught martial arts and the traditional lion dance as part of Liverpool’s Chinese New Year Celebrations for over 40 years.

Introduced to Kung Fu at the age of 16, Stephen was asked by the Chinese community to lead the ‘Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu School’ after their Master died in 1989. Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinatown in Europe and through the club Stephen teaches both children and adults martial arts every weekday.

The club works closely with local Chinese community groups and has grown since forming in 1975, with a membership of over 100 students. The Chinese Lion Dance is a large part of the club’s activities, and they welcome anyone who would like to volunteer as part of the dance. In addition to the annual Chinese New Year Performance, associated ceremonies and martial arts displays, the self-funded club has also performed at many charity shows at local schools and venues throughout Europe.

The award for Stephen comes ahead of the Lunar New Year.

In a personal letter to Stephen, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“You have taught hundreds of students over the years and led them to perform across the UK and beyond — including the Lion Dance at the heart of Liverpool’s Chinese New Year celebrations. As well as teaching them a love of this ancient martial art, you are fostering vital life skills like discipline, dedication, pride, and confidence — creating a lasting legacy across the city and beyond.

“I was inspired to hear how this journey started, when you were introduced to Kung Fu at the age of 16 at a club which grew out of a small Chinese restaurant. It must have been a great honour to have been asked by the community to carry on the work of your teacher, Master Jimmy Chan. I have no doubt that he would be hugely proud of everything you have achieved.”

Stephen said:

“I am very honoured and surprised to receive this award in recognition of  dedicating 45 years to the ‘Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu School’. It has been important to me after the passing of my Sifu in 1989 to continue to develop close ties with the Chinese Community and keep their traditions alive, whilst at the same time, promoting health and well being and encouraging young people to stay off the streets and pursue something worthwhile. ‘Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu School’ is one big family. We all work together as a team and I am proud to have kept the school running for so long. So, thank you so much for this recognition award, on behalf of myself, but also the whole school.”

Find out more about ‘Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

Volunteer now

Search winners