Last Thursday, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair unveiled a painting to commemorate the opening of the Helly Hansen National Mountaineering Exhibition in Cubria. Tony Blair then toured the exhibition with George Band, the youngest member of the 1953 expedition team. Above: The Prime Minister and George Band describing his pioneeringclimb to the summit of Kangchenjunga to the Prime Minister. The exhibition has actually been open for two weeks, but is reported to be generating considerable interest with tourists, school groups, and of course climbers. The exhibition is displaying artefacts from Mallory and Irvine´s mysterious 1924 attempt on Everest, never before seen by the public. In his speech, Tony Blair expressed his sympathies for those in the outdoor industry who have been affected by the foot and mouth restrictions. Visitor numbers to the exhibition are 35% lower than expectations based on similar attractions last year. A small protest by farmers, angry at not being mentioned by the prime minister, was made, but failed to detract from the occasion.The Helly Hansen NME is looked after by the Mountain Heritage Trust, a registered charity. The Trust, chaired by Chris Bonington, makes changes where necessary and keeps the Exhibition up to date. It also has a wider aim as it works to find, record and preserve all aspects of British mountaineering heritage for future generations to enjoy.
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