Fundraiser launches for ‘China’s gym’ after blaze burns down community boxing facility

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
Local trainer Lewis Que Ming, better known as China with boxers training from South and Port Hedland.
Camera IconLocal trainer Lewis Que Ming, better known as China with boxers training from South and Port Hedland. Credit: Robert Dougherty/North West Telegraph

The organiser of a fundraiser to rebuild a beloved Port Hedland boxing gym after it was gutted by what was believed to be a deliberately-lit fire has called on the Hedland community to “do something small for someone who has given so much to this town.”

Firefighters were called to China’s Boxing Gym on Sutherland Street at around midnight on Thursday night amid reports of an out-of-control blaze, with Pilbara District Police confirming on Friday they believe it may have been lit by an arsonist.

The gym, run by Hedland stalwart Lewis Kew Ming, affectionately known as China, has been a haven for kids to exert energy in the otherwise activity-deprived Pilbara town for over a decade.

Speaking to the North West Telegraph, Daniel Dunne — a close friend of China’s — said his wife organised a fundraiser as it was “the least we could do”.

Lewis Key Ming.
Camera IconLewis Key Ming. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr/North West Telegraph

“That gym is China’s life. He used all his own money to fit it out, and he does it out of the generosity of his heart to make sure kids around town have something to do, and someone to talk to,” he said.

“China works as an orderly at the hospital, then every day after work gets to the gym to open it for anyone to come down.

“He has been a mentor to so many young kids, including myself when I was a teenager, and to have this happen to someone who really is the lifeblood of this town is just devastating.”

Mr Dunne said when he received a midnight call from China, he could barely understand him.

“He was pretty torn up as you can imagine,” he said.

“China is very old school. He would never go and ask for anyone’s help, but I think in this case the whole community should get behind him.

“It’s the Hedland way, and people like him are the reason Hedland is so special. Even if you only have a dollar or two to spare, anything will help.”

While the structural damage is expected to be covered by insurance, much of the contents - including the boxing equipment — would not.

At time of print, the fundraiser had raised over $13,000.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fundraiser can do so here.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails