Farmer sells his late wife's favourite cow at Yorkshire auction to raise money for hospice that cared for her in her final days
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.
She died on January 5, the day after husband Chris’ 65th birthday.
Mr Jeffery, of Spring View Farm, Thornton on the Hill, says he couldn’t have managed to care for his wife and manage the farm as well as their farm supply shop business, Green’s at Thirsk livestock market, without the help of St Leonard’s, and wanted to do something to help the hospice which relies on donations and fundraising to operate.
The couple had the largest herd of high-health recorded Whitebred Shorthorns in England with 20 breeding cows with Whitebreds being one of the rarest breeds of cattle according to The Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
The origin of the Whitebred Shorthorn is not known but it first came to prominence more than 100 years ago when it was known as the Cumberland White. When the continental beef breeds were introduced Whitebred Shorthorn numbers declined dramatically.
So at last week’s auction at Thirsk, Mr Jeffery put Primrose, Kate’s favourite of the Whitebreds they have, up for auction.
He thought she might make a few hundred pounds but was probably worth around £800 to £900.
After a strong round of bidding, she was sold for £1500 to Mr Morley of Whitby who offered to pay £2000 for Primrose – if £500 could be donated to St Catherine’s Hospice which serves the Whitby and Scarborough area.
Collection buckets made more than £1000 on top of the auction result with money still being counted.
Mr Jeffery told Country Post: “It was very generous of him I thought and he rang me to ask have I got another one to sell. He has bought Primrose for breeding and they will go to Whitby.
"I was hoping to make something and because we put it up for the hospice a lot of farmers bid far higher to raise as much as they could for the hospice and it worked.
"Kate was so well known by the all the farmers at the mart through the shop and they wanted to give something back for her. Without that hospice I don’t know what I would have done really.”
More than 300 people attended Kate’s funeral and later that evening the churchwarden rang Mr Jeffery to say they had never had as much money given in a collection.
Once the final amount has been calculated and handed in, Mr Jeffery says he now needs to focus on the farm work and try and get back to some kind of ‘normality’.
He added: “Today we draw a line under it. I will always have a collection box but I am trying to get back to some kind of normality as best we can. She would have wanted that.”
Chris, a farmer’s son from Wigginton, had finally realised his ambition of having his own farm seven years ago when he and Kate purchased Spring View Farm as a result of their efforts with Green’s.