About Ilkley Candlelighters

Ilkley Candlelighters was formed by Rosemarie and Liz in 1982. The two sisters sadly lost a brother when they were children and, later in life, Rosemarie’s two-year-old son John was diagnosed with leukaemia. Initially, John responded well to treatment and went into remission but sadly the disease returned after one year and he passed away six months later.  

A group of friends and the two sisters came together initially to organise fundraising activities in an act of gratitude towards the staff who cared for John during his time at the Unit. They raised funds for Candlelighters to purchase equipment for the Children’s Cancer Unit, then at St James’s Hospital in Leeds and now at Leeds General Infirmary. Thus, Ilkley Candlelighters was created.  

After John’s death, the group continued to raise funds in his memory, inspired by the courage he showed whilst enduring often gruelling and painful treatment. Solely run by volunteers, Ilkley Candlelighters continue to raise funds to research into childhood cancer to this day.

Fundraising Efforts and Key Achievements  

Over the last 40 years, Ilkley Candlelighters have raised over £1 million for Candlelighters. By being entirely run by volunteers, they ensure that every pound raised can be dedicated to funding cancer research.  

Ilkley Candlelighters have organised many balls, auctions, and events over the years and they continue to organise collections to this day. Rosemarie and Liz have given their own money and the volunteers at Ilkley Candlelighters have given their time to hold unforgettable events such as the ‘So2You’ Fashion Show, an ‘Enchanted Evening’ and a Masquerade Ball. 

Ilkley Candlelighters’ Chair, Alison Clay, and members of the committee hand over a cheque to Marie Peacock, Candlelighters’ Head of Income Development. 
Jo Shepheard, Charity Director of Candlelighters accepts the cheque from Ilkley Candlelighters Chair, Alison Clay, and Treasurer, Denise Smith.
Jo Shepheard accepts the cheque from Ilkley Candlelighters’ Chair, Alison Clay, with committee members Denise Smith, Claire Parr and Sally Roulston.

Fundraising Event Highlights:  

Street Collection - June 2023

The Ilkley Candlelighters volunteers took to the streets to raise all-important donations.  

Ladies Golf Day - September 2021

The group putt their skills to the test, organising a fantastic ladies golf day fundraiser! 

SO2You Fashion Show - September 2019

Seventy guests attended Ilkley Rugby Club on Friday 27th September to enjoy an entertaining evening and shopping that raised over £1,300.  

An Enchanted Evening - May 2019

On Saturday 11th May 2019 a wonderful ball was held in Rudding Park Harrogate raising an incredible total of nearly £30,000. 

Masquerade Ball - May 2018

Ilkley Candlelighters held a wonderful ball at Rudding House on Saturday 12th May raising an amazing total of nearly £40,000 towards childhood cancer research.  

Classico Latino Evening - May 2017

The award-winning Classico Latino group were joined at the Ilkley Winter Gardens by the Ilkley Operatic Society to offer a wonderful display of music and colour.  

To the Moon and Back Ball - May 2017

Another fabulous ball was held at Rudding Park on 6th May 2017 raising an unbelievable total of over £50,000!  

Join the group 

The Ilkley Candlelighters are a welcoming group and would love to have new members join in their efforts. If you’d like to be involved or would like to find out more, contact the Ilkley Candlelighters Chair Alison Clay, at [email protected] or Prize Co-ordinator Sally Roulston, at [email protected]

Our stories

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