IT was earlier in the year, while giving a lecture at Birkenhead School, that I learned about the fate of Sandy Irivine's family home.

For such an impressive house to be damaged by fire is bad enough, but it is made worse by the significance of Sandy’s home.

Irvine and Mallory were amongst the most well-known people in the world after their 1924 expedition.

They are heroes of British history and both lived in Birkenhead.

Mallory, in Slatey Road, and Irvine at what later became the ESWA club, which now lies empty since damage by fire last August.

At Sandy Irvine’s home in Park Road South, his parents kept a light in the porch, in hopes of his return from his heroic, possibly successful, attempt decades before anybody else, on the summit of Everest.

I very much hope Irvine’s home can be restored to its former glory, and another lamp lit, symbolic of the efforts of Irvine and Mallory, so that the people of Birkenhead can cherish the memory of such great people and say to children 'look who has risen out of this place, you too can reach the highest of heights.' 

Let a rebuilding of Irvine's home be the indication of rekindling a civic pride, the signal to throw off any malaise and strive to bring Birkenhead back to its greatness.

Colonel John Blashford-Snell, Scientific Exploration Society, Dorset.