Sir Edmund Hillarys first death anniversary to be private family affair

January 4th, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Wellington, Jan 4 (ANI): An ice axe that was used by Sir Edmund Hillary on his ascent of Mt Everest will go on display at Auckland Museum to mark his first death anniversary.

According to sources, no other formal ceremonies have been planned for Sir Edmund, who died on January 11 last year.

His son, Peter Hillary, said he and his family “are heading for the hills” for the anniversary, report the NZPA.

“It will be a nice private family time in an environment that he really loved,” Hillary told the Sunday Star-Times.

The ice axe will be on display for a month.

The exhibit shows still and moving images of the ascent of Everest by Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Hillary’’s widow, Lady June Hillary, donated the axe to the museum last year.

It is, says museum director Vanda Vitali, “the most enduring symbol of his triumph”.

On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, Sir Edmund and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.

Following his ascent of Everest he devoted much of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded. Through his efforts many schools and hospitals were built in this remote region of the Himalayas.

On 11 January 2008, Hillary died of heart failure at the Auckland City Hospital. (ANI)

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