He is up there with the great's,from the first men to reach both the poles, first to sail single handed round the world, and possibly the first that stepped on the moon. (If the mericans actually went of course?)
I once heard a woman on Radio 4 speaking about a visit she made to her sister who lived in Auckland NZ. Her young daughter went with her but, as the trip was in term time, the girl had some school assignments to complete. The little girl was having trouble with one assignment and asked her mum for help. She had to imagine that she had done something that no one else had ever done and then write about it. This stumped her mum too. Then mums sister had an idea - she looked in the phone book, phoned someone up and after a minute or so called the young girl over. Girlie spent about 10 minutes on the phone speaking to Ed Hillary and then started her assignment. Mum asked her sister how she knew Ed Hillary. She said she didnt and just phoned him up out of the blue, explained the problem and asked him to speak to the girl. A man of the old school. A man and a half. Just like that other typical kiwi Barry Crump.
Sir Ed described himself as a bee-keeper but they must have been giant bees as he was a giant of a man - even for a kiwi.
RIP to someone who became well known for a real achievement, just made sure my kids watched the report before they go to school, so they know that it used to take something more than just appearing on a reality TV show to become famous.
When I was small, alright I still am, but when I was young I used to read avidly about men like this, Captain Scott etc as well as tales of daring from the wars. All were truely inspirational, Sir Edmund H was a living link to those times, sad to see that he is gone.
Yet his style remained downbeat. He drew satisfaction from his work in Nepal - "not, I hope, of the do-gooder sort, which I rather deplore, but the satisfaction of working with people I like and admire, and being able to give them a bit of a hand, and also getting quite a lot back from them".
The quintessential Kiwi ! He had a good innings to 88. Never forgot what he perceived to be his 'debt' to Nepal, right up to what was to be his final days. He certainly made this world a better place by his efforts
Can't see the current crop of ego / sponsorship driven 'adventurers' fitting into to his boots.