Hillary family mark Everest Day
04 Jun 2008
Members of Sir Edmund Hillary’s family have been carrying on the good work of the legendary Kiwi explorer since his death earlier this year.
Both Sir Ed’s wife and his granddaughter were involved in special events at opposite sides of the world on May 29 to mark 55 years to the day since Sir Edmund conquered Mt Everest with Tenzing Norgan Sherpa.
Eighteen year old Amelia Hillary who has been following in her grand father’s footsteps helping the Sherpa people living at the top of the world took part in Kathmandu celebrations as part of Nepal’s inaugural "Everest Day".
And Lady June Hillary, Q.S.M, officially opened the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at Aoraki Mount Cook in the South Island of New Zealand. Although the $7.5 million centre has been open and well patronised since last December, the official opening on May 29 was timed to commemorate the anniversary of Sir Ed’s first ascent of Mount Everest.
Many of those attending had personal ties with Sir Edmund including Graeme Ayres, son of his great friend Harry, who taught Sir Ed the finer details of climbing and climbed extensively with him at Aoraki Mount Cook.
Alpine centre experience
A grant of $50,000 by the Meridian Waitaki Community Fund towards fitting out the new Sir Edmund Hillary Museum at the Alpine Centre was also announced at the official opening.
The centre is designed to educate and entertain taking visitors on a journey through a 3D cinematic experience, New Zealand’s first full dome digital planetarium, stargazing, a museum and Hillary Gallery. It has already become a key attraction allowing people to soar over mountains, explore the galaxy, ski glaciers, and climb New Zealand’s highest peak all from the comfort of their seat. A café and bar offers views of Aoraki Mount Cook. Visitors gain a valuable insight into the life and achievements of Sir Edmund Hillary and his longstanding connection with the region.
Amelia Hillary and her father, Sir Edmund's son Peter Hillary have worked together several times, including leading a group to Everest base camp through the foothills of Tibet.
She has also been involved with Sir Edmund's Himalayan Trust work setting up schools and health centres for the Sherpa community in northern Solukhumbu district, lying in the foothills of the Himalayan ranges.
"To give continuity to Hillary's work, they have to be extended to other parts of Nepal as well," Miss Hillary told the Indo-Asian News Service. "This is the biggest challenge and responsibility for the Hillary family."
Amelia Hillary first travelled to Nepal during 2003, and reached Everest base camp with her father. The previous year, she had been to the base camp from Tibet.
She told Indian journalists that one day she hoped to match her father and grandfather's feats in climbing the 8848m mountain.
Sir Edmund died in hospital on January 11 this year at the age of 88.
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