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

Company of the month…Yorkshire Spa Retreat!
21-12-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Yorkshire Spa Retreat! We are delighted to announce that the fabulous Yorkshire Spa Retreat are our Company of the Month! Having joined Club Candlelighters last year and pledging to donate at least £5,000 per year for the next three years, the …
Yorkshire family of Amelie, who was diagnosed with leukaemia at two: “We didn’t know where we would be on Christmas Day”
23-11-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Shortly before Christmas 2022, Jo and Tom Adams, from Baildon, West Yorkshire, were given the worst news for a parent: their daughter, Amelie, had been diagnosed with cancer.  After a couple of trips to the doctors, suspected tonsilitis, and a visit to the local hospital, a nurse arranged for Amelie to have some blood tests. …
Company of the month…Howard Civil Engineering!
21-11-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Howard Civil Engineering! This month we would like to celebrate Howard Civil Engineering as they have made some excellent fundraising efforts for Candlelighters and purchased new toys for the Play Room! In September, a courageous team from the company participated in …
Research centre launched to tackle life-threatening side-effects of childhood cancer treatments
09-11-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Across the UK, 2,418 children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer each year, and of all children who unfortunately pass away, one in three die not because of cancer but because of the side effects of treatment.  Although treatments are much more effective now, for children and young people, they are harsh and have terrible …
Company of the month…CHN Financial & Victoria Court Private Clients!
25-10-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is CHN Financial & Victoria Court Private Clients! CHN Financial & Victoria Court Private Clients chose Candlelighters as their Charity of the Year in November 2021 and started their fundraising early 2022. We are incredibly grateful that they chose to continue supporting …
Brandon’s Story
22-10-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Brandon from Cottingham had never needed to be in hospital, until early 2022. What was a suspected viral infection turned out to be acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Brandon’s mum Samantha tells us their story. Samantha – “We’re a family of five – myself, my husband Chris, Brandon, Elliot and our dog Ringo. We’ve all always …
Company of the month…FOD Mobility!
01-08-23Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is FOD Mobility! FOD Mobility Group voted for Candlelighters to be their Charity of the Year at the start of the year and since then, we have been so grateful for the excellent ways they’ve been involved in fundraising. Thanks to their …
Company of the month…Caddick Group!
27-07-23Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Caddick Group! Caddick have been supporting our families since 2018, and in that time have raised over £100,000! This phenomenal amount has been raised through a huge variety of events, including at their annual ‘Moment In Time’ ball, a legendary event …

Your stories

Local student raises over £2,500 in brave swimming challenge for Candlelighters!
30-10-23Your stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Rebecca Haestier, Ilkley Grammar student wanted to help raised funds for Candlelighters by swimming 20 lengths with two broken legs which are in cages.  Courageous student Rebecca Haestier who is 14 years old, decided she would like to raise money in an epic swimming challenge to give back to Candlelighters to help children and their …
Halifax Family and friends to take on Manchester Half Marathon for 2-year-old Gracie-Mae!
02-08-23Your stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
A 31-strong team of family and friends will complete the race in support of Gracie-Mae McHugh and Candlelighters.  The lives of Gracie-Mae and her family were turned upside down in February when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, aged just 2. Parents Helen and Danny, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, first took Gracie to hospital …