Author(s): Michael Gill
Sir Edmund Hillary became famous by being the first, with Tenzing Norgay, to climb Mt Everest in 1953. Though this was clearly a remarkable feat, Sir Edmund came to be regarded by many as a great man for the way he chose to use his fame, which was to dedicate much of the rest of his life to building schools and hospitals for the Sherpa people of Nepal. The Legacy of Everest tells the remarkable story of the two hospitals he built; Khunde Hospital in 1966 in the Khumbu region at the foot of Mt Everest, and Phaplu Hospital in 1975 in the Solu Valley. These hospitals were staffed by volunteer Doctors and their partners from New Zealand and Canada until they were eventually handed over to Sherpa Doctors. Using letters written by these volunteers, and many subsequent interviews Michael Gill, a Doctor himself who worked with Sir Edmund from the beginning on these projects, has pieced together this fascinating history of a unique aid project. It has many threads: an honest and fresh insight into the life of Sir Edmund Hillary, a rich and real picture of Sherpa culture, and the transformative experiences of the volunteers, whose lives where often completely changed by their time working in the Sherpa communities. Moving, insightful and ultimately inspirational, The Legacy of Everest is a wonderful book, that has at its heart the integrity and humility of Sir Edmund Hillary, one of New Zealand's true heroes.
Mike Gill trained as a Doctor and spent his working life as a pathologist, a speciality he initially chose as it allowed him the flexibility to pursue his love
of mountaineering. He was a member of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Silver Hut Expedition in 1960, and through this connection became a founding member of the Himalayan Trust, Sir Edmund’s aid organisation which built schools and hospitals in Nepal. Mike Gill remained on the Medical Committee of the Trust until 2001. He lives in Auckland.