THOUSANDS of people may have missed out on tickets to London 2012, but thanks to a local farm they can still play their part in the forthcoming Olympics.
Over the coming weeks, staff at the Seven Sisters Sheep Centre are donating all the wool they shear from the livestock to 2012 organisers, who will use it to stuff cushions due to be presented to every athlete taking part.
And they are hoping as many people from the Sunshine Coast as possible help them on the way.
Joint owner Pam Wigmore told the Herald, “Visitors can come and see us shear the sheep and a spinning demonstration.
“We transfer it to the drop spindle and that is where people can help by keeping the spindle turning so we can spin the wool.
“Everyone who helps is then asked to sign a book, which will go with the cushions to the athletes so they can see where and who helped make it.”
And, fitting with the international feel of the Games, the Seven Sisters cushions are not just being prepared by locals.
“We have had people from all over the world helping so far,” Mrs Wigmore told the Herald. “The centre has seen visitors from as far afield as Brazil, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Canada taking a turn on the spindle.
“There have been about 800 people sign the book after helping out so far and we expect a lot more before we stop later this year (in October).”
As well as tourists, local Brownie groups and school children on their holidays have flocked to the sheep centre – although, despite all the help, such is the painstaking process, only one cushion has been filled so far.
A second is near completion and staff expect to send off more than a dozen cushions worth of wool, which will then be packed into the pillow cases under the watchful eye of Olympic security staff.
With more than 13,000 athletes set to compete in London next year, the offering from East Sussex will not make too much of a dent in the demand for wool but, unlike other sheep shearers, the fluffy stuff is being donated free of charge.
And, according to Mrs Wigmore, it is just about being part of the build-up to the Games.
“It is nice to be able to tap into the Olympic spirit,” she said.