Normally, when one is looking for sports memorabilia or merchandise, an official store like the AFL shop is the place to go, but Australia’s popular The Footy Show, had a special piece of merchandise up for grabs.

North Queensland Cowboys player, Johnathan Thurston, put up the boots he wore during his 300th game, a black pair of footy boots with yellow and red trim, with the number 300 on the sides. The Rugby community, in a heartwarming display of support for the community of Tathra, recently devastated by bushfires, bid up to $35,515 for the boots, all of which will go for the financial support of Tathra’s recovery efforts.

The Footy Show revealed the winner live, with Thurston himself making the announcement. The winning bid came from Cowboys fan Daniel Meneghello. Thurston has expressed appreciation for the many fans who bid on the boots to support Tathra, and to Nine for helping with the fundraising efforts.

He hopes that the money will, in some small way, be able to help the people of Tathra, and expresses admiration for the Rural Fire Service, for risking life and limb to protect people and their property during the bushfires that ravaged the area.

NSW Rural Fire’s Service Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, expressed his gratitude to both Thurston and the sports fans who bid up the boots to support the Tathra community.  He says he speaks on behalf of the brigade when he says that they appreciate the gesture and it is humbling to see such generosity from people.

Thurston’s charity was only one of many humanitarian efforts aimed at helping Tathra recover from the recent bushfires that ravaged it, with donations from the Tathra Sea Eagles, and Aussie author Jackie French, among others.

The footy club even helped with an auction with exclusive memorabilia not available to the standard sports or AFL shop up for grabs, which range from unique artworks, vouchers for accommodations and activities, to rarer items like signed jerseys from footy clubs like the GWS Giants and the Sydney Swans. The auction was held to help raise funds for Tathra’s Mayoral Appeal funds, which will be pumped into the city’s recovery efforts.

Numbers from the Insurance Council of Australia estimate that the Tathra bushfires, which also laid waste to parts of Victoria, managed to inflict at least $45 million in damages.