Sir Edmund Hillary who, with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the first to climb Everest, is recovering in New Zealand after a fall.

The 87-year-old, who has continued to campaign for the Nepalese people, was admitted to an Auckland hospital on Sunday following his tumble after returning from the Himalayan state.

His wife, Lady June Hillary, said he is in a comfortable condition and improving. The New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark sent a message of goodwill to Sir Edmund, saying: “Hang in there, Sir Ed; we love you.”

In 1960, he set up the Himalayan Trust to aid the Sherpa community. He had been visiting projects run by the trust. Hillary and Tenzing conquered the world’s highest peak in 1953.