Hunt of Everest dies at 88

LORD HUNT, the man who led the first team to conquer Everest, has died aged 88. His daughter, Sally Nesbitt, announced yesterday that the peer, who had been ill for a short time, died peacefully at home in Henley, Oxfordshire, on Saturday night.

The "coronation" expedition to Everest, which reached the summit on 29 May 1953, was the ninth from Britain to either survey or attempt the mountain.

Edmund Hillary, of New Zealand, and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay planted the British and Nepalese flags on the summit, but the expedition was headed by John Hunt, the British brigadier, who became Baron Hunt in 1966.

Yesterday, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh spoke of their sadness at the news of his death. A statement from Buckingham Palace said: "The conquest of Everest was an early landmark of the Queen's reign and Lord Hunt brought the same spirit of adventure and leadership to many other areas of national life.

"As the first director of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, he particularly helped and encouraged young people in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth."

The son of an Army captain, Lord Hunt was educated at Marlborough College and at Sandhurst. In 1936, he married the tennis player Joy Mowbray-Green. The couple had four daughters.

Lord Hunt's meticulous planning is often cited as the reason for the success of the 1953 expedition to reach the 29,028ft summit.

Talking of the assault in recent years Lord Hunt said: "We were not ready for worldwide media exploitation. It only came to us as we made our way back to Kathmandu. The local reporters put poor Tenzing under huge pressure to say that he was first up."

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