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

Candlelighters’ support bus kicks off 2017 with weekly visits across Yorkshire
18-01-17Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
After a successful string of trial visits across Yorkshire in Autumn last year, the Candlelighters Bus will now regularly be visiting spots around the region- and we want to invite every family affected by childhood cancer (both currently, and in the past) to join us at our organised locations. Initially launched at the Candlelighters Awards …
Ilkley Candlelighters £38K total to go to research projects
21-12-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
The Candlelighters Award-winning fundraising group, Ilkley Candlelighters, have truly worked their socks off this year by raising an incredible £38,000. Candlelighters Charity Director, Jo Shepheard, met up with the committee last week to accept a cheque for the total amount. This funding will go towards ensuring the continuation and growth of key research projects into …
Who won the Candlelighters Christmas Raffle?
20-12-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
On Tuesday 20th December at midday, we were joined at The Square by ‘Captain America’ who valiantly drew the winning tickets, before kindly visiting children on the ward round the corner at Leeds General Infirmary. The winning tickets are as follows: 1.) £500 worth of Toyland Toyshop toys: TICKET NO. 101404 2.) A one-night stay …
Meet York Candlelighters!
09-12-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
We are delighted to say that the York Candlelighters fundraising group has now been officially established! At the Candlelighters Awards in September, several award winners and nominees from the York area had a conversation about getting together as a group. Within a month, York Candlelighters was formed! The group is a great mix of talented …
Harrogate Candlelighters break record with Casino Royale Ball
14-10-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
Congratulations to the incredible Harrogate Candlelighters committee for breaking their fundraising record through the organisation of their 2016 ball. The ball, which took place in The Crown Hotel in Harrogate, was Casino Royale themed and raised £42,375. The committee, who recently won a special recognition award at the Candlelighters Awards, would like to thank main …

Your stories

Leeds fans are Marching on Together for Candlelighters
07-02-17Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Sean Etherington, and the team at his regular, the Hope Inn Pub, who are helping run a charity event partially in aid of Candlelighters. All the proceeds will be split equally between Candlelighters and Sean’s friend Mark, to support him while he is unable to work due to …
Be inspired by 10 year old Ella’s Year of Challenges
27-01-17Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
What an amazing total from Ella’s Year of Challenges! Since finishing treatment, Ella has immersed herself in various challenges to raise money for Candlelighters, and has raised an astounding £3864.54. And she didn’t do it alone! She was supported by brother Edward, mum Jane and dad Chris, and between them, they have embarked on various …
South East Asia Cycle Success for Supporter Jo
27-01-17Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
Back in September, we told you all about the story of Jo Richardson and the preparations she was making for her cycling challenge in South East Asia in November. Jo set herself the target of cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia (in intense heat and humidity!) to raise money for Candlelighters, after we supported her friend Eve …
Walker Morris off to a flying start fundraising for Candlelighters
25-11-16Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
We were recently delighted to hear that Leeds-based commercial law firm, Walker Morris, had chosen to support us as their ‘Charity of the Year’. Only weeks in, the team have already participated in the Abbey Dash in Leeds, raised money through a Halloween-themed Day… and they’re about the launch their Christmas Raffle! And they haven’t stopped …
Leeds company raise £2,000 from sponsored 21-mile row for Candlelighters
21-10-16Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
Food Industry Associates were recently delighted to break the £2000 mark in their incredible rowing fundraiser for Candlelighters. In their words, hear about their achievement.   Leeds based company Food Industry Associates took on a demanding 21-mile row on Friday in aid of Yorkshire’s children’s cancer charity, Candlelighters.   Food Industry Associates, who recruit sales …