Eden 2000 Olympic Torch Relay 20 year anniversary

Eden Magnet photo of Mike Sheppard before he began his leg of the 2000 Olympic Torch relay. Photo: Magnet Newspaper Collection, Eden Killer Whale Museum

Eden Magnet photo of Mike Sheppard before he began his leg of the 2000 Olympic Torch relay. Photo: Magnet Newspaper Collection, Eden Killer Whale Museum

The 16 local torch bearers on the Eden leg of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Photo: Magnet Newspaper Collection, Eden Killer Whale Museum

The 16 local torch bearers on the Eden leg of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Photo: Magnet Newspaper Collection, Eden Killer Whale Museum

Former Eden High School deputy principal Mike Sheppard remembers 20 years ago when he carried the Olympic Torch in the 2000 Sydney Olympics torch relay through Eden.

Mr Sheppard was one of six local people out of the 16 runners who took part in the local leg.

"I was nominated to carry the torch by my son Lyndon who was teaching at a school in Derby, Western Australia.

"I knew nothing about the nomination until one day I got a surprise in the mail - a letter saying I had been selected to run, it was so unexpected," he said.

Mr Sheppard ran from Eden High School along Barclay Street to the Princes Highway after he was passed the torch by local woman, Shirley McCamish.

"It was very special to run from the school and see so many of the students excited about the day," he said.

Mr Sheppard said he prepared for the relay by playing and extra round of golf every week, although he was in reasonable shape after working around the garden.

"I remember the excitement, it was a big day for Eden," he said.

Mr Sheppard said he still had the torch and the uniform was hanging in a wardrobe somewhere.

"My family and I were lucky enough to have tickets to some of the Olympic events and we were in the Olympic Stadium when Cathy Freeman ran, it was a great night.

"When Cathy won the whole stadium erupted," he said.

Story from the Eden Magnet on Thursday, September 14, 2000

Hundreds of Eden residents shared the Olympic Spirit on Friday as the torch relay made its long awaited appearance on the Far South Coast.

People young and old lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the torch as it made its way south down the Princes Highway, turned into Flora, Calle Calle, Aslings Beach Road and Barclay Streets, before leaving for Merimbula and Bega for separate lighting's of the cauldron.

Local residents Alison Bryant, Tim Shearer, Shirley McCamish and Mike Sheppard, plus former Eden ambulance officer Anthony Hardy and Towamba's David Wauchope were six of 16 runners that took part in the local leg.

Eden Marine Technology High School students Holley Jones and Kimberley McMahon were two of four support runners who kept the torch bearers company on the journey.

Shirley McCamish described her run along Barclay Street from Aslings Beach to Eden Marine Technology High School as "absolutely brilliant".

Shirley said it was just wonderful to see such a large crowd to cheer on the torch bearers.

"I thought here you go Eden - you've opened your hearts again," she said. Shirley also had a great cheer squad with five of grand children and one great grandson also in the crowd.

"I'm still on Cloud Nine," she said on Tuesday night. "It was just so fantastic."

Mike Sheppard said he was thrilled and honoured to be part of the torch relay and his only complaint was that it all went too quickly.

Mr Sheppard ran from the Eden Marine Technology High School, along Barclay Street to the Princes Highway.

Mike came to Eden as a teacher at Eden High in 1976 and was appointed Deputy Principal in 1986 - a position he held until his retirement in 1999.

He said it was 'very special' to run from the school and to see so many of the kids excited about the day.

Mike's two brothers and his sister travelled from Oberon for the occasion and the family topped off a great day by celebrating Mike's 60th birthday at Boydtown that evening.

Mike turned 60 on the Sunday prior - September 3.

Tim said he was carrying a head cold and initially found it difficult to get into the spirit of the run.

"On the bus they got us fired up and it was the sort of situation where it turned from something where you say 'yeah I'm going to run with the Olympic Torch' to something worth getting into - it was hard to describe," he said.

Tim said the warmth of the crowd swayed him and made it a moment to cherish.

"By the end of it the reaction of the crowd made me feel 10 feet tall and bullet-proof," he said.

"Afterwards people were coming up to me wanting to touch the torch, it was great."

David Wauchope, who carried the torch down the Princes Highway, said he was excited when the torch was in his hand.

"It was a wonderful moment. It was quite exciting to see people coming from everywhere to admire the flame and the whole event, it was fantastic," he said.

David watched the torch as it passed him on its return journey north and said he stood back to admire the flame and the support people were giving it.

Alison Bryant, the second torch bearer on the Eden leg, said she knew she was being supported although she was concentrating so hard on carrying the torch she couldn't see the people on the street.

"At the end of the run I just smiled at all the people and got on the support bus," she said.

"It was a lot better than I had expected, an experience I'll never forget."

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