The Himalayan Trust is a direct legacy of the British 1953 Everest expedition that put Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Everest.
Without the support of the Sherpas, Everest wouldn’t have been climbed, and Sir Ed wouldn’t have had half as much fun climbing in the Himalayas following Everest as well. It was Sir Edmund Hillary and his NZ companion George Lowe who first felt compelled to give something back to the Sherpas who had so enriched their lives. Sir Ed’s vision led to the first support for the Everest region.
The Himalayan Trust UK was set up to support Sir Edmund Hillary’s work for the Sherpas in Nepal, in 1989. Lord Hunt, leader of the 1953 expedition, was patron of the Himalayan Trust UK until his death in 1998, and the Trust is proud to have maintained its Everest 1953 connection to this day. The two Georges – Lowe and Band – both Everest 1953 climbers, were actively involved from the start, with George Lowe, who sadly passed away on 20 March 2013, as inaugural chairman until September 2003, and George Band taking the helm as chairman until his death in the summer of 2011.
The Trust was delighted that Michael Westmacott, who played a key role pioneering and maintaining a route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall in 1953, accepted an invitation to be a trustee, until he sadly passed away in 2012.
The Trust carried on with continuing involvement from the 1953 Everest family. George Lowe’s widow Mary has continued her stoic work as secretary till 2018 and is now a very active Honory 1953 Patron. George Band’s widow Susan was a dedicated Trustee being a strong advocate to support the more remote villages around Kanchenjunga. She led a group of Trustees, members of her family and friends on a trek to visit some of the villages, schools and clinics in the Taplejung district after her husband’s death. Their son Rupert joined the ranks of Trustees ensuring that the Everest family continues to be represented, particularly since his mother sadly passed away in April 2018. To this date, John Hunt’s daughter Sue Leyden continues to be a dedicated Trustee, putting her background as educational psychologist and School Inspector to work in both our Health and Education programmes.