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Kiwi mountaineers to send off Sir Ed in style

Media Release

Friday 18 January 2008, 7.00pm

Kiwi mountaineers to send off Sir Ed in style

The New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC) announced today further details of it’s involvement in Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral on Tuesday 22 January.

NZAC, on behalf of the Mountaineering and Antarctic communities, have been working with government officials over the last couple of days to organise a Guard of Honour at the official state funeral. “The forty people to form the Guard of Honour will represent the diversity of NZ mountaineering – a mixture of generations, genders and contributions” said NZAC President Phil Doole. All members of the Guard of Honour will carry with them a long handled wooden ice axe as symbolic salute to Sir Ed and the great mountaineering achievements of his generation.

Following the state funeral at 2.30pm, a gathering is being organised in Auckland Domain, immediately adjacent to the band rotunda. The gathering was announced earlier this week by NZAC President Phil Doole as an opportunity for some of Sir Ed’s friends from his work and expeditions to share their memories with the wider climbing and outdoors community, in a less formal outdoor setting.

“It is an opportunity for people to come to hear about Ed’s spirit of adventure and humanitarian work in a way he would have appreciated – with stories and humour,” said NZAC President Phil Doole.

As well as reflecting on Sir Ed’s exploits as a climber, explorer and humanitarian, a video display will also show how he has inspired many people to seek out their own personal Everests.

Amongst the speakers will be Norman Hardie, George Band, Graeme Dingle, Ang Rita, David Ellis, and Diane and John McKinnon. Further speakers have been approached but have yet to be confirmed.


Notes for Editors

The New Zealand Alpine Club is the country’s leading climbing organisation with over 3000 members. Sir Edmund Hillary was a club member from 1945, was president of the club for two years and was made a life member in 1953. He has actively supported many NZAC initiatives, the latest of which involved fund raising for the NZAC’s Home of Mountaineering building in Christchurch which he opened in August 2006.

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