Lunch raises $340k to help James Ackerman's family
SUPPORT for the family of former Sunshine Coast Falcons prop James Ackerman has swelled with a whopping $340,000 raised at a major charity lunch.
The event - put together by various sections of the rugby league and wider community - was a raging success at Norths Leagues Club, Kallangur, on Friday, with NRL stars, coaches and TV personality Karl Stefanovic all getting behind the cause.
FROM poker machines to pieces of memorabilia, the auction could not have gone better, with the final amount raised expected to top $400,000 with a monster online raffle still to be finalised.
The funds raised on Friday add to the $175,000 already raised by the community via the James Ackerman Family Trust Fund.
It's a staggering effort from those who dug deep from the beginning, after "Ackers" died as a result of injuries suffered in a tackle in a match against Norths on June 20.
Solicitor Peter Boyce, one of the organisers of the event, said he could not believe the amount of support and generosity from the rugby league community.
"There were so many people who were prepared to give up their time," Mr Boyce said.
"We had the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane players there, Dave Smith from the NRL ... they (Ackerman family) couldn't believe it."
Poet Rupert McCall penned a special tribute to James, which was framed and presented to the Ackerman family.
Five poker machines were also donated to the auction, with licensed venues bidding for the machines, which went for a staggering $116,000.
"John Ribot was exceptional," Mr Boyce said, praising the Former Origin Greats director and operator of a number of licensed clubs in Queensland, who assisted with providing the leagues club for Friday's event.
"I couldn't believe how good it was and it did demonstrate how important the rugby league community is for those in need."
Sunshine Coast Falcons chairman Ashley Robinson echoed the thoughts of Mr Boyce, thanking Ribot and Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy, as well as Mr Boyce himself.
Mr Boyce had made a generous contribution to the auction.
"I was just astounded by the work that John Ribot did and the generosity once again of Peter Boyce," Mr Robinson said.
"Dave Donaghy and John Ribot, they both deserve a massive pat on the back for the work they did."
Mr Robinson said a hand-made jersey for Ackers was purchased by the Falcons, to become the honour roll for the Falcons' future Ackerman Medal winners.
Big Screen Cinemas Caloundra owner Nick Struik was among the 400-odd who were at the fundraiser.
He bought a $2500 landscaping package before donating it back to James Ackerman's young family to transform their backyard.
"We just wanted to try and give a little bit back. That's what it's all about," Mr Struik said.