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Sir Ed to start firefighters’ ‘Everest’ climb

Media Alert hillary – 1
February 14, 2005

Sir Ed to start firefighters’ ‘Everest’ climb

Sir Edmund Hillary is to officially start the New Zealand Firefighters’ 24 Hour Challenge in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour on February 18 and 19.

The challenge involves 10 of New Zealand’s top professional firefighters in a Guinness World Record attempt to climb the equivalent of 13 Mt Everests in aid of the National Burn Centre.

Sir Ed will start the challenge at 3pm on Friday February 18 in the Viaduct, near the Maritime Museum.

Sir Ed, who has been a long time supporter of Middlemore Hospital, the site for The National Burn Centre, says he’s delighted to have been invited to start the record attempt.

“This is an exciting and challenging charity event. Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day of their professional lives. I am delighted to be able to help them draw attention to the need for a National Burn Centre and raise funds for it,” Sir Ed says.

The firefighters – from the New Zealand Fire Service and Auckland Airport rescue team – are trying to break the record for the greatest vertical height climbed on a ladder in a 24-hour period.

The record was set at 105kms in the UK in 2000. The goal of the Kiwi firefighters is 110kms, with each of the firefighters having to scale the equivalent of more than one Everest in the 24 hours.

Team members will climb a 14m long fire service ladder pitched against a 10m tower and then descend down two poles. Each fire-fighter will need to ascend the ladder 1,100 times – the equivalent of 11,000m vertically.

For the record attempt, the team will be split in to five groups of two members with three pairs required to be climbing at all times.

The firefighters see the attempt as the perfect opportunity to raise funds for the National Burn Centre.

Middlemore Hospital is the site for the new centre, which will provide treatment and rehabilitation for the most severe burn patients from across the country, both adults and children.

It will be part of a larger burn care network with existing regional facilities in Christchurch, Hutt Valley and the Waikato.

“The South Auckland Health Foundation aims to raise $1.5 million for the centre,” says event organiser and team member Rob Holah. “Proceeds from the event will go towards that total. We’re hugely excited about supporting this worthy cause – it’s a great motivator for the team.”

Donations for the National Burn Centre can be made via text message or an 0900 number. Text BURN and send to 883 to donate $3, or phone 0900 4 BURN (0900 4 2876) to donate $20.

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