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Sir Edmund Hillary Stamps Celebrate A Life Lived To The Full

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

30 OCTOBER 2008 - He was the quintessential Kiwi whose daring and can-do attitude took him to the top of the world, the ends of the earth and the highest of honours. Highlights of his extraordinary life are captured in a commemorative five-stamp series to be issued by New Zealand Post on 5 November. The series includes a first day cover with a limited legal tender brilliant uncirculated coin - the first philatelic numismatic (combined stamp and coin) cover released by New Zealand Post in six years. The coin features a similar design to the hugely popular gold proof coin released with a silver proof coin in May this year. New Zealand Post General Manager Stamps and Coins, Ivor Masters, said the combined stamp and coin release reflected Sir Edmund's status and achievements as a New Zealand hero. "In a long and fulfilling life, Sir Edmund became more than a famed man of the mountains. He achieved at many other levels - as an intrepid explorer, Antarctic adventurer, diplomat and the first foreigner to become an honorary citizen of Nepal, recognising nearly half a century of dedication to the Nepalese people. "Despite his daring and sometimes dangerous exploits, he remained humble and unassuming until his death in January this year," said Mr Masters. "He epitomised the Kiwi can-do attitude, tackling every challenge with tenacity, grit and a belief that nothing was impossible. In this special commemorative stamp series we pay tribute to a great man and his extraordinary achievements." New Zealand Post consulted with Lady Hillary in the development of the issue. Each stamp bears an image of major moments throughout Sir Edmund's life, accompanied by a fluttering New Zealand flag. The 50 cent stamp is a portrait of a determined, chisel-faced Sir Edmund in his prime, kitted out in a high-collared mountain jacket. His historic world-first climb to the top of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on 29 May 1953 features on the $1.00 stamp. The $1.50 stamp shows Sir Edmund on the tractor used when he led a New Zealand group taking part in the British Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1958. Sir Edmund's group was the first to reach the South Pole overland since Amundsen in 1911 and Scott in 1912, and the first to use motor vehicles. Sir Edmund is pictured with Nepalese children on the $2.00 stamp. In 1960, Sir Edmund established the Himalayan Trust, a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the conditions and lives of a people in desperate need of schools and medical services. In four decades, Sir Edmund helped to establish more than 30 schools, two hospitals, 12 medical clinics and two airstrips to make it easer to bring in supplies. The $2.50 stamp captures Sir Edmund in the regalia of a Knight of the Garter, the highest possible achievement in the UK honours system. He also received a number of other honours, including the Padma Vibhushan, the Indian Government's second highest civilian honour, the Polar Medal and the Order of New Zealand.

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