Thursday, January 10, 2008

Goodbye Sir Ed

Today marks the passing of a iconic athlete and humanitarian, who will not only be mourned here in New Zealand, but all around the world.

Earlier today, Sir Edmund Hillary died at the age of 88. His list of acheivements is certainly impressive, but perhaps the most impressive thing of all was his humility and generosity of spirit.

In 1953, Hillary and his sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first people to successfully summit Mt. Everest. Hillary's humility would not allow him sole credit, and he has never admitted which of them was actually the first to reach the summit.

Since that achievement propelled him into the international spotlight, he has used his fame to assist the struggling people of Nepal. He set up a trust which has funded new schools, and built two airstrips high in the mountains to help supplies make their way to the people.

Hillary was also a key player in New Zealand's presence in Antarctica, as the first person after Amundsen and Scott to get to the South Pole. He was involved in setting up New Zealand's Scott Base, and returned just last year to mark the base's 50th anniversary. Today, the flag at the base is flying at half-mast in his honour.

Closer to home, Sir Ed was an activist for activity, always encouraging more Kiwis to be involved in sports and athletics.

Among his other honours, Hillary appears on the New Zealand $5 note.
Rest in peace Sir Ed - if there's a heaven, I'm sure it looks a lot like the Himalayas!


Graybay said...

A true kiwi hero and he will not be forgotten.


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