Community to hold memorial service for Sir Ed
Press release from The Hermitage and Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, Aoraki Mount Cook
17 January 2008
Aoraki Mount Cook community to hold memorial service for Sir Ed
The Aoraki Mount Cook community is to hold its own memorial service to farewell Sir Edmund Hillary on Tuesday 22 January.
The service will begin with a wreath laying at the Alpine Memorial near the site of the original Hermitage at 9.15am. This will be followed by a 30 minute service on the Hillary Deck of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at 10.15am.
The service will be led by Philip Robinson the Anglican Archdeacon for South Canterbury, with non-denominational Christian and Buddhist elements reflecting the philosophies of the local Sherpa community.
Opera singer Becky Murray from Lake Tekapo will conclude the service in song.
Weather permitting, the final salute to Sir Edmund will be a fly past by Mount Cook Ski Planes pilots in a three aircraft formation of one Pilatus Porter and two Cessna 185s.
Sir Edmund was at Aoraki Mount Cook on 22 September 1955 when Sir Henry Wigley made aviation history by landing the world’s first ski plane with retractable skis (the Auster) on the Tasman Glacier. He was also one of the Auster’s first passengers, accompanying Sir Henry on a flight later the same day.
Coverage of Sir Edmund’s state funeral will be screened from 11am to 1pm (to be confirmed) in the Centre’s theatre and on two plasma screens in the café.
The Hermitage General Manager Denis Callesen says the local population, which includes much of New Zealand’s climbing fraternity is keenly feeling the loss of Sir Ed, a friend and mentor to many.
“There is a strong need for this tightly knit community to come together to pay their respects. Sir Ed has played a big part in our lives here and we want to say goodbye in our own way.”
Please note: Theatre seating is limited to 126 so those who wish to secure a place in the theatre should contact Hermitage staff.