TAUNTON'S sporting heroes have really stepped up to the mark with their fundraising efforts for the NHS this week.

Taunton-born cricketer Jos Buttler has raised more than £65,000 for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals charity after auctioning off his World Cup final shirt.

Buttler, 29, who played for Somerset between 2009 and 2013 before moving to Lancashire, helped England claim the World Cup last summer, completing the run-out from the final ball of the Super Over against New Zealand.

He placed the shirt he wore in that final on eBay a week ago, to raise crucial funds for two specialist heart and lung centres combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Eighty-two bids came in before the 7.30pm deadline on Tuesday, with the winner paying £65,100 for the shirt, signed by the England team.

Still ongoing is Taunton Town's 'Shave or Grow for the NHS' fundraiser, which has seen the club's footballers and coaching staff raise more than £5,000 Musgrove Park Hospital.

After an initial target of £1,000 was set, today saw the total bumped up by £2,500 - the balance of player and staff fines from the 2019/20 season, which they had agreed to donate to the cause.

Taunton chairman Kevin Sturmey told the County Gazette: “Initially the idea came from [club captain] Matt Wright.

“He said he needed a bit of a haircut, so thought ‘let’s see what we can do’.

“They’re a brilliant group of lads, and this is their way of giving a little bit back.

“The response has been amazing.”

Sturmey added: “I hope that Covid-19 goes away as soon as possible, but what it has done is show what a fantastic job the NHS does, keeping the country running and saving lives.

“We need to remember those sacrifices being made, as it can be too easy to take things for granted.”

The total is up to £5,180, and donations can still be made through this page.