David Warby is putting the former tailfin of his world-record seeking jet-powered boat up for auction with the money raised going to Smart Animal Sanctuary and Rehoming Centre in Kunama.
The tailfin has been used on Spirit of Australia II since it began preparing for the world water speed record attempt three years ago, and after the boat’s last run at Blowering last year, it was replaced by a T-tail unit, which made its debut on the weekend.
The original tail, which along with the rest of the boat travelled at over 400km/h on Blowering last year, has historical significance, and Mr Warby saw it as an opportunity to help a good cause.
He had no hesitation picking Smart, having heard about them via Rotarian and former Tumut resident Rowan Bieske.
“When the bushfires hit here a lot of people were donating to WIRES and other large organisation, but smaller organisations like Smart were going underneath the radar,” he said.
“It’s not a huge gesture, but hopefully it will bring attention and funds to Smart.”
An organisation that rescues animals is close to his heart.
“I’ve always had rescue animals,” he said.
“It’s something I’m really passionate about.”
At the moment, he has Jessie, a staffy kelpie cross.
“She was dumped in a litter at Muswellbrook,” he said.
“I got her from a similar organisation to Smart. I haven’t got any kids so she’s my fur child.”
He also sees this as a way to give back to the Tumut-Batlow-Adelong community.
“They help us out a lot, so we want to help them out,” he said.
“We just have to figure out a way to auction the tailfin.”
It is likely to attract international bids.
Smart founder Lorene Cross said she was “over the moon” Smart had been chosen to be the auction recipient.
“It is absolutely amazing to be chosen; it has blown me away totally,” she said.
Smart volunteers evacuated all the animals they could when the January bushfire threatened.
“We evacuated all of them, except the camels,” she said.
“They sat down and decided they were staying.”
The Smart team also stayed and defended the shelter, which would certainly have been destroyed if they hadn’t.