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Primrose, the rare breed cow, is auctioned off in memory of Kate

Kate Jeffery was just 65 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last June. She was cared for by her family and the St Leonard’s Hospice@Home team at her beloved farm near Easingwold, only moving into the hospice for her final few days.

Her husband, Chris – known to many as Farmer Chris, or FC from TV – now wants to give something back to the hospice as a thanks for all their kindness and support during his wife’s illness. So he’s decided to auction off one of his special rare breed Whitebred Shorthorn cattle at Thirsk Cattle Market this Tuesday (31 January), just three weeks after Kate died in the York hospice.

He’s hoping the rare heifer, which is prime for breeding, will fetch hundreds of pounds for the hospice. The couple were passionate about their rare breeds and, with only around 200 left in the world, they wanted to make sure they did all they could do stop them dying out. Their farm near Easingwold is dedicated to rare breed cattle, pigs and sheep.

Chris said: “Everyone who I dealt with at St Leonards was so caring, compassionate and kind. It means a lot to me. I still can’t believe Kate has gone – we’ve been together for so long, working every day as not just husband and wife, but also business partners.”

Kate was rushed into hospital for investigations in June 2022 after she noticed her left arm was extremely swollen. The scans revealed a lump in her breast and, following further investigations, it revealed she had triple negative breast cancer, only seen in around 15% of cases.

“The final three weeks of her life were truly awful, but the carers from St Leonard’s were so kind, reliable, compassionate and lovely people. Kate then went into the hospice where everyone I met was so caring to me and my wife. I just don’t know what we would have done without that place. It needs to be available to more people as I just couldn’t have coped on my own,” said Chris.

“When they said there was a bed for her at the hospice, I was so grateful as I’d promised her I would keep her free of pain and I was struggling at home. Once she was in the hospice, I was able to step back and become her husband again,” he explained.

Chris knew he wanted to give something back for the care the hospice has shown to both him and his wife.

“It struck me that I was going to be selling some of my special breed cattle at the sale, so I thought I would choose one to auction off for the hospice,” he said.

The one he has chosen was his wife’s favourite and one she had named ‘Primrose’, so it has a special place in his heart. Chris is selling six one-year old heifers and five bulls, all for breeding. During the auction he will also be fundraising for the hospice with collection buckets and the chance to donate online.

Anyone who wants to donate in memory of Kate can do this online at Kate Jeffery – St Leonard’s Hospice (

Emma Johnson, Chief Executive at St Leonard’s Hospice, said: “This is a wonderful thing to do for our hospice which relies on the generosity of the public to carry out our much-needed work and we are really grateful to Chris. To my knowledge we’ve never had anyone auctioning off a cow for us before, so this is a first! We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to raise money and this certainly comes top of this list. Thanks so much to Chris for thinking of us and we wish him the best of luck for Tuesday.”