A DEVON farming family, who sadly lost a child to cancer, have been praised for their astounding charity fundraising efforts, just as they embark on another event.

Dairy farmers Kathryn and James Voysey, of Colyton, set up Biff’s Battle, a named fund of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust (GKCCT) charity, after their daughter, Elizabeth, passed away at just 15 months in 2018 of an aggressive rhabdoid tumour.

Since then, Kathryn has thrown herself into fundraising to help other Devon families going through similar crises and has been praised by GKCCT for raising an amazing £48,000 to date as they prepare for the next fundraising project.

CEO of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust Dr Jen Kelly said: “It is so inspiring to see how Kathryn and James have channelled their loss of Elizabeth into an incredible legacy that is now supporting families across Devon. 

"To date, they have raised over £48,000 in beautiful Elizabeth’s memory and it is wonderful to see the hard work that has been put into this great event. Thank you so much to them both.”

Kathryn and James, along with their other children — Ella, Lucy, Johnny, Harry and Clemmie — are hoping to add to that running total this month with a Biff’s Battle Farm Fun Day, held at their home, Colcombe Abbey Farm, on Sunday, July 9th.

Raising money to support Devon families with a child diagnosed with cancer, the fun day will be packed with family entertainment, including a barbecue, tractor and trailer rides, bouncy castle, tombola, raffle, books and toys sale as well as cakes and cream teas.

Kathryn said: “We are excited about the prospect of raising lots of money and awareness at our fun day to mark five years since Elizabeth’s passing. 

“It is so important to us to keep her memory alive while also helping local families when they have a child diagnosed. We know how much support the charities helped us, not just financially but emotionally too.”

Elizabeth’s fund name was born because her brother, Johnny, couldn’t say her name, only ‘Biff’, a nickname which stuck.

The incredible amount has been raised by the Voysey family, with support from their friends and the local community, by holding regular fundraising events such as raffles and bake sales and by encouraging others to do personal challenges. 

Elizabeth’s family has asked for funds raised to be used to help families in Devon financially. To date, over 60 grants have been awarded to families as a direct result of their fundraising efforts.

Elizabeth is continuing to make a difference to so many children. 

To read Elizabeth’s story and to read more about the GKCCT, go to www.gkcct.org and to support the named fund and for details on the upcoming fun day, search Biff’s Battle on Facebook.

What is a rhabdoid tumour?

Kathryn believes things may have been different for Elizabeth had her illness been recognised earlier and campaigns tirelessly to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease.

Malignant rhabdoid tumours are one of the most aggressive and lethal childhood tumours known. Typically, they are found in very young children — two-thirds of cases occur under 12 months of age.

Symptoms and signs

• Abdominal swelling

• A palpable lump

• Haematuria (old or frank blood)

• Pallor

• Tiredness

• Unexplained, recurrent pyrexia

• Back to back viral illnesses

• Constipation

• Cough or shortness of breath 


The main stay of treatment is intensive chemotherapy, surgery and in some children radiotherapy.


• Survival of children with rhabdoid tumours is poor.

• 80 per cent of rhabdoid tumours have metastasised at diagnosis - of these, just eight per cent of children will survive 18 months

Almost all survivors are from the 20 per cent that have no evidence of spread at diagnosis