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

NHS Charities Together Grant
30-12-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We are pleased to announce that Candlelighters were recently given the opportunity to apply for, and were successful in receiving a grant from NHS Charities Together to help fund our Community Support Team. As a charity we rely on donations from supporters and grants from trusts, foundations and institutes such as NHS Charities Together. NHS …
Company of the Month… My Energy Grants!
21-12-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re pleased to announce our Company of the Month for November 2021 is My Energy Grants! The Barnsley based company first began supporting Candlelighters earlier this year, deciding to become a member of Club Candlelighters. My Energy Grants joined Club Candlelighters as Transformers – pledging to donate £25,000 every year for three years, helping to …
The PantherCub Study
10-12-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
At Candlelighters, we’ve been funding childhood cancer research for over three decades, investing over £9 million in the last 20 years alone to help improve treatments and find cures. Dr Bob Phillips is an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology at Leeds Children’s Hospital and Senior Clinical Academic at the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University …
Eckersley House Cheque Presentation
23-11-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We are delighted to announce that Candlelighters has granted £15,000 to The Sick Children’s Trust for essential running costs of Eckersley House, a home from home accommodation opposite the Clarendon Wing. As one of only 21 Principal Treatment Centres for children’s cancer in the UK and only two in Yorkshire, we know that many children …
Company of the Month… Maths Made Easy!
23-11-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We’re so excited to announce our October Company of the Month as the amazing Maths Made Easy! Earlier in 2021, Maths Made Easy chose Candlelighters as their Charity of the Year, and in July, an army of fundraisers from Maths Made Easy also took part in Total Warrior for us! Raising a fantastic amount of …
Young Dreamers Dream Big for Candlelighters
22-11-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
Over 45 years Candlelighters have continually evolved to provide superb support for children and their families, spanning emotional, practical and financial support, and investment in vital childhood cancer research. Candlelighters strive to embed the needs and wants of children at a strategic level, ensuring our support is the best it possibly can be and that …
Company of the Month… Thai Leisure Group!
25-10-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re overjoyed to announce our September Company of the Month as the fabulous Thai Leisure Group! With Thai Leisure Group, who own Chaophraya, Thaikhun, Yee Rah and ChaoBaby restaurants across the country, launching a ‘Charity of the Quarter’ initiative, we were incredibly grateful to be chosen as the first charity to be supported earlier this …
Memories of Candlelighters: Amy
07-10-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
As we celebrate our 45th birthday this year, we’ve been talking to people with memories of Candlelighters through the years. Amy, now 38, from Wakefield, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 1995, aged 12. Amy particularly remembers some of the events and holidays provided by Candlelighters when she was on treatment, as well as …
Candlelighters at UoL Fertility Research
27-09-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We are excited to share the results of a new piece of research by Candlelighters undertaken at the University of Leeds. As well as supporting families daily through childhood cancer, we bring hope by investing in vital research to improve the outcomes and lives of children with cancer. For nearly 40 years we have invested …

Your stories

#TeamElliot raise over £6000 for Candlelighters!
30-12-21Your stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
If you’ve been following us for a while, you might be familiar with Elliot Gunn, founder of the #TeamElliot fundraising group. This year, Elliot became one of the youngest in the country to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks, aged eight, in aid of Candlelighters. Throughout last year, Elliot and the rest of the team of …