Saturday, January 12, 2008

A lovely bloke

Sir Edmund Hillary died yesterday.

I know he will be remembered as the man who 'conquered' Mt. Everest, but I think he should be remembered equally for what he gave back to the people and environment of the area.

He devoted all of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan trust, which he founded and to which he had given much of his time and energy. Through his efforts he had succeeded in building many schools and hospitals in this remote region of the Himalayas. He was the Honorary President of the American Himalayan Foundation, a United States non-profit body that helps improve the ecology and living conditions in the Himalayas.

There's an excellent interview with him here, from 1991.

I actually met him briefly, about twenty years ago, just long enough to shake hands and exchange a few words of greeting in passing. I didn't know who it was at first, and my first impression of him was that he was a good, kind person. What a lovely bloke, I thought. Then I realized who it was – NEW ZEALAND'S GREATEST HERO, AND I'D JUST SHAKEN HANDS WITH HIM – and amended my impression to a good, kind hero, and a lovely bloke.


Contamination said...

It's very sad indeed!