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… Sentinel Squad!
17-02-23Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Sentinel Squad UK! Founded in 2013, Sentinel Squad UK is a Star Wars fandom group based in Yorkshire, which raises money for local children’s charities. Members of Sentinel Squad UK travel to different events and locations dressed as Star Wars characters, collecting …
Company of the Month… Absolute Warehouse Services!
06-01-23Our stories • Posted by Gill Davenport
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Absolute Warehouse Services! Absolute Warehouse have been supporting Candlelighters since 2018 and have donated an amazing £19,000 during that time. Most recently, they sponsored the Candlelighters Christmas Party for the second time by making a very generous donation of £5,500 and …
Company of the Month… Lovell Eastern!
15-12-22Our stories • Posted by Gill Davenport
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Lovell Eastern! Charity of the Year partners Lovell Eastern have so far raised a fantastic £8,590 for Candlelighters by undertaking all sorts of fabulous fundraising, including: Hosting a charity golf day in July Giving donations from the sale of show home …
Company of the Month… Intuitive Business Intelligence
08-11-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Intuitive Business Intelligence! During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Intuitive got stuck in raising funds and awareness for children with cancer. They got involved in our 150 Mile Challenge, even putting their own twist on it by splitting into teams …
Candlelighters is GOING GOLDEN for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
27-09-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM) takes place in September each year, with children’s cancer charities worldwide taking the opportunity to increase awareness of childhood cancer to raise vital funds to support their work. Around 1,800 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK with 150 children diagnosed in Yorkshire alone. Receiving a cancer …
Company of the Month … D&D London!!
16-09-22Our stories • Posted by Niamh Sedgwick
We are delighted to announce that our latest company of the month is D&D London! D&D London first began supporting Candlelighters in July by asking customers to add a £1 donation to their bill, across their four Leeds restaurants, Crafthouse, Angelica, Issho and East 59th. Across the four restaurants in July, they raised £1,185. As …
Candlelighters’ Annual General Meeting (AGM)
13-09-22Our stories • Posted by Niamh Sedgwick
Candlelighters’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) 28/09/22 – 28/09/22 About this Event You’re invited to our Annual General Meeting When: Wednesday 28th September 2022. Where: We are hoping that this will be held in person at The Square. This will be confirmed around a week before the event. Time: 6:00-6:30 (Can meet from 5:30 for refreshments) …
Harrogate Candlelighters announce their annual main event!
19-08-22Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
The wait is now over….on behalf of Harrogate Candlelighters we would like to invite you to our annual main event, the first in 4 years! Saturday 26th November 2022 ‘NARNIA’ at the Pavilions of Harrogate The Pavilions of Harrogate are being transformed into a fabulously magical winter Narnia scene. There’s an exquisite menu of contemporary cuisine, together …
Company of the Month… Optm!
29-07-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are delighted to announce that our latest Company of the Month is the fantastic Optm! They have recently hit the incredible milestone of £150,000 raised since they became part of the Candlelighters family eight years ago. The amazing people at Optm have taken on some fabulous challenges and events to raise funds, from walking …

Your stories

Supporter Spotlight: Leeds Paediatric Dentistry Team
27-10-22Your stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Today we’d like to say a huge thank you to the Leeds Paediatric Dentistry Team who took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise funds for Candlelighters! Claudia Heggie from the team said, ‘As a children’s dentistry team, we work with oncology teams to make sure that children have healthy mouths ahead of their cancer …