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Summits for Ed Tour Stopped in Respect

Summits for Ed Tour Stopped in Respect

Noon April 16 2008

The Summits for Ed tribute tour being run by the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre was stopped this morning at Warkworth.

This decision was made out of respect for the families, friends and fellow students of the Elim Christian College pupils and teacher who died in the tragedy at Tongariro yesterday.

Chairman of the OPC Hillary Centre Trust Mr Grant McKenzie said he had spoken to Lady Hillary overnight and it was agreed that just as Sir Ed would not have walked passed a fallen comrade on a mountain, it would be inappropriate to continue the summit climbs.

"Our first thoughts are with the grieving families and the school community and we are offering our support and sympathy," Mr McKenzie said.

The Summits for Ed climb team would still attend the meeting points for the remaining tribute ceremonies in Whangarei, Kaikohe, Russell, Kerikeri and Cape Reinga at the designated times, but no climb would take place.

Instead there would be a short ceremony at the assembly points and a minute's silence. Any rocks or stones brought along to form part of Sir Ed's cairn at Tongariro would be collected by the team.

About 100 members of the public turned up at Warkworth this morning and were understanding of the situation and the decision to stop the climb, Mr McKenzie said.

A decision would be made later whether the six remaining summits would be climbed at a future time, he said.

So far about 8000 people have participated in Sir Ed's tribute tour, climbing 33 of a scheduled 39 local summits from Bluff to North Auckland.

Lady Hillary and her grandson Sam Mulgrew were to have attended the Cape Reinga walk to the lighthouse at noon on Saturday.


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