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

Boxing legend Amir Khan in Candlelighters’ corner
27-07-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
The team at Candlelighters were delighted to receive a video message from boxing legend Amir Khan this week!   Holding up a Candlelighters running vest, Amir encouraged more people to get involved with our ‘amazing’ charity. The two-time former world champion, who hails from Bolton, won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 …
Lady Ingilby visits Candlelighters
30-06-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
We were honoured this week to welcome our Patron, Lady Emma Ingilby, to Candlelighters. Lady Ingilby met patients, parents, play leaders, nursing staff and doctors on her tour of the hospital. She was able to talk to families about their experiences and the difference that Candlelighters makes for them. On arrival at the Children’s Oncology Clinic, …
Last chance to nominate your children’s cancer heroes
29-06-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
This September Candlelighters is holding its very first Awards ceremony recognising the people of Yorkshire in their support of Candlelighters. The Awards, in association with Vista, are in the last week of welcoming award nominations as the panel will begin deliberations from Monday 4th July. The event, taking place on September 9th is already well …
Tangle Teezer Supports Hair@TheSquare Project
24-06-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
This month saw the company Tangle Teezer make an incredible donation of 150 Tangle Teezers to Candlelighters, to help support childhood cancer patients in Yorkshire. Explaining how this donation will help patients moving forward, Candlelighters Project Support Worker Vicky says: “As part of our ongoing support we are always looking for new ways in which …
La Vie En Rose Ball a Huge Success
16-06-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
THe Ilkley Candlelighters’ May Ball was a tremendous success and raised over £36,000 to help children and teenagers and their families, throughout Yorkshire. Chairman of Ilkley Candlelighters, Alison Clay, said, “We would like to thank everyone most sincerely for your support and contribution. Without the generosity of our sponsors, advertisers, prize donors and those who …
Riproaring Ripley Record!
15-06-16Our stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
Harrogate Candlelighters stand at The Ripley Castle Summer Fair was a great success, raising a staggering £3,659 and smashing the previous record of £2,100. The sun shone and brought a great atmosphere to the bustling event, and everyone who visited the Candlelighters stand was extremely generous and supportive, and keen to help raise money for local …

Your stories

Half stormtrooper, half bride: Daniel puts a spin on race attire!
29-07-16Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
Half stormtrooper, half bride: Daniel White puts a spin on race attire!   For out-there fundraising ideas, Daniel White is the man to look to. The twenty-five year old, who hails from Wakefield, has spent the last year running various sponsored races… dressed as a Star Wars stormtrooper! So far this year, he has completed …
Viking Longship to ‘sail’ through York for Candlelighters!
28-07-16Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
On Sunday 28th August 2016 fifty teams from across the country will be racing their home-made soapbox carts down the steep cobbles street of Micklegate.  Sponsored by café Your Bike Shed, Friends of Scarcroft School have constructed their own unique cart, all in support of Candlelighters! Looking to the pupils of Scarcroft Primary School for inspiration, a …
Direct Workforce take their fundraising for Candlelighters to new levels
27-07-16Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
  Direct Workforce take their fundraising for Candlelighters to new levels with a September Skydive! Northern recruitment company, Direct Workforce, have signed up for challenge after challenge this year to raise money for Candlelighters, their Charity of the Year. We met up with the team at their office near Hunslet earlier this week to chat …
Fundraising with a difference: the story of Allen Hart and Tim Beard, as told by Sharon Morrison
20-07-16Your stories • Posted by Elli Pugh
Fundraising with a difference: the story of Allen Hart and Tim Beard, as written by Sharon Morrison. Evidence of tattoos were found on the mummified remains of Egyptian and Nubian women dating back as far as 2000 BC, but they really starting gaining popularity during the 17th and 18th centuries when sailors wore them as …