A nice surprise. Serendipity, cash, and Sir Edmund Hillary

April 4th, 2018 § 2

Was sorting through some of my late father’s (David Suisted) belongings and came across a school project he did on Edmund Hillary, a kid’s school note book full of newspaper clippings, as he followed the climb of Mt Everest in 1953.  I found a hand written note, inside that old school project, to my father from Sir Edmund Hillary – written 29 years later on 29th July 1982, saying: “To David, Aim High! There is little virtue in easy victory. Ed Hillary“.

My dad's school project from 1953, signed 29 years later by Sir Ed Hilliary

My dad’s school project from 1953, signed 29 years later by Sir Ed Hilliary

Then I found another gem – a crisp new $5 note with the image of Sir Ed.  It was signed for me ‘To Robert, Ed Hillary’. Wow, Dad had asked Ed to do this in 1994.  Pretty neat to have this memento from such a figure in history, and someone who has been an influence and hero in my life.  It took a few moments for this to sink in. Then it dawned on me – the Reserve Bank approached me for about 20 photos to be used on the new bank notes back in 2016, and they used one of these (of Aoraki Mt Cook) to face up beside Sir Edmund Hillary.  That mountain, with my name written over the top, has now been replaced by a photo taken by my own hand and eye.  That seems pretty neat.

Clearly Dad had a huge man love for Sir Ed.  He crossed paths with him a few times, especially while Sir Ed was the NZ high commissioner to India, as Dad was involved with foreign aid development work throughout Asia and India.

Looking back now it seems my father really took Sir Ed’s words, written in his childhood project book, to heart as he went on to be a well known and much loved champion of the arts (especially acting) in NZ, where he helped many others aim high and conquer their own ‘Everests’, including some of our best known and loved actors and directors.

I suspect Dad is also pretty chuffed that Sir Ed now looks at my version of our highest peak Aoraki Mt Cook every day in my wallet.

 

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