A farmer auctioned off one of his rare breed herd to raise money for the hospice which cared for his wife as she was dying from cancer.

Chris Jeffery, known as Farmer Chris, who stars in The Yorkshire Vet and Celebs On The Farm, wanted to give something back to St Leonard's Hospice in York for its kindness and support during his wife Kate's illness.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer last June, aged 65, and was cared for by her family and the St Leonard's Hospice@Home team at her beloved farm near Easingwold before moving into the hospice for her final few days.

Following collections for the hospice at Kate's funeral and wake, Chris decided to auction off Primrose, one of his special rare breed Whitebred Shorthorn cattle, at Thirsk Mart.

The heifer, which was Kate's favourite, went for £1,500 at the sale on Tuesday.

Kate and Chris Jeffery

Kate and Chris Jeffery

He said: "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."

During the auction, he also fundraised for the hospice with collection buckets and online donations, and hopes to have raised more than £3,000 in total.

"Everyone who I dealt with at St Leonards was so caring, compassionate and kind," said Chris. "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."

He said Kate was rushed into hospital for investigations in June 2022 after she noticed her left arm was extremely swollen.

Primrose the cow, which is to be auctioned off for St Leonards Hospice

Primrose the cow, which is to be auctioned off for St Leonard's Hospice

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 per cent 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," he said.

"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.

"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."

Hospice chief executive Emma Johnson said the sale of the heifer was a "wonderful thing" to do for the hospice, which relied on the public's generosity to carry out its much-needed work.

"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."

Donations in Kate's memory can be made at https://stleonardshospice.org.uk/donate/