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Tribute Tour Visiting A Town Or City Near You

"SUMMITS FOR ED"
Tribute Tour Visiting A Town Or City Near You

Everyone Welcome to Join Our Final Farewell

14 March 2008

A forthcoming New Zealand-wide tribute tour for Sir Edmund Hillary is the chance for ordinary Kiwis to help create a memorial to our greatest hero and to inspire our young people.

The Summits for Ed tribute tour will start on Tuesday March 25 2008 in Bluff and visit more than 30 towns and cities around the country before finishing at Cape Reinga on Saturday April 19 2008, at an event being attended by Lady Hillary and her family.

The tribute tour is being organised by the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre (OPC Hillary Centres), which provides programmes for outdoor education. Sir Ed was the centre's founding patron from its inception 35 years ago. He remained very close to the organisation providing advice and guidance on the programmes over many years.

OPC Hillary Centres chairman Grant McKenzie said as a young teenager, Ed Hillary visited Mount Ruapehu on a school ski trip and this was the turning point that led to his extraordinary life of exploration and community service.

"It was then that Sir Ed really fell in love with mountains. And during his life he ensured that countless others have shared that love. Through his work at the centre, Sir Ed changed the lives of thousands of teenagers for the better and this has been his special gift to New Zealand."

Each Summits for Ed event will have two main parts:

1. Summit climbs

Local special peaks have been selected by the OPC Hillary Centre and everyone is invited to join a climb to their local summit or hill where there will be a brief ceremony to commemorate Sir Ed and his work.

Five students from each school taking part will head the climbing party of local sporting heroes, celebrities, fellow school pupils, Mayors, councillors, MPs, and members of the public. Sir Ed was a Lion for 10 years and members of the Lions Clubs of New Zealand will marshal each event.

2. Creating an everlasting memorial

The tribute tour is also a chance for ordinary Kiwis to contribute to a special memorial at the OPC Hillary Centre at Tongariro, which stands in the shadow of Mount Ruapehu.

People are being asked for a rock, stone or pebble from their special place: beach, stream, river, hill or even their own garden (no rocks larger than an A4 sheet of paper and engraving or naming them is welcome).

These little pieces of New Zealand will form the basis of a memorial cairn at Tongariro as a tangible tribute to all those who share Sir Ed's love of mountains.

Lions Club members will also accept donations to the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation, specifically set up to enable financially disadvantaged and at-risk teenagers to attend courses at the OPC Hillary Centre.

Mr McKenzie said the tribute tour was an easy way for New Zealanders to ensure that Sir Ed's work with young Kiwis continued.

"Sir Ed found out early in life how our environment can provide a motivating force for positive change. This tour is about recognising and raising the profile of the work he did in New Zealand, especially at our centre. All donations raised at the Summits for Ed event will go towards allowing greater numbers of youth in need to attend our courses. We are sure Sir Ed would approve."

Mr McKenzie also made special mention of the tribute tour sponsors: Toyota, Genesis. SPARC and the Lions Clubs of NZ, "without whom the event and memorial would not be taking place".

The media is welcome to any event/s. Please refer to the attached schedule for the list of events and the time and location of each climb.

If you would like more information on the Summits for Ed tribute tour visit www.summitsfored.org.nz (site will be live by end of play today) and for information on the OPC Hillary Centre visit www.opc.org.nz

ends


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