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 at 45 – Research
23-09-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Did you know over our 45-year history, we’ve been involved in many childhood cancer research programmes and projects? In the last 20 years alone, we’ve invested over £9m into research to improve the lives and outcomes of children with cancer. In 1992, Professor Sue Burchill became the first scientist to be fully funded by Candlelighters …
Company of the Month… Slumberdown!
23-09-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re pleased to announce that our August Company of the Month is Slumberdown! Slumberdown have supported Candlelighters since early 2021 when they initially joined our Team 500 – helping to bring in vital funds needed to continue our services through the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Slumberdown have been keen supporters, using and sharing their resources …
Candlelighters GO GOLD for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Press Release
16-09-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
Candlelighters aims to raise funds and awareness this September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM). #ChildhoodCancerAwarenessMonth takes place in September each year. At Candlelighters, along with many other children’s cancer charities across the globe, the charity marks CCAM each year to help increase the awareness of childhood cancers, as well as the work they do …
Happy International Paediatric Oncology Nurses Day!
08-09-21Our stories • Posted by Sean Donnelly
Today we recognise International Paediatric Oncology Nurses Day and celebrate all of the Nurses working in the Paediatric Haematology & Oncology service at Leeds Children’s Hospital & Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. There are numerous Nurses working in the department in many locations and in different roles. Here at #Candlelighters, we work very closely with …
Well done Amy and Chris!
25-08-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
At Candlelighters we’re so lucky to have an amazing team across all areas of our charity, from family support, to fundraising, to HR, to finance and corporate services, to name a few! These brilliant people try their hardest every day, live the Candlelighters values and each and every role makes a difference to families affected …
Company of the Month… Skipton Building Society!
20-08-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re delighted to announce our company of the month for July is Skipton Building Society! The Business Partnering – Finance & Strategy team at Skipton Building Society recently completed their fantastic ‘Tokyo or Bust!’ challenge; walking the distance of Skipton to Tokyo, finishing before the start of the Olympics on 23rd July. For the group …
Candlelighters’ Annual General Meeting
18-08-21Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
You’re invited to our Annual General Meeting Taking place on: Wednesday 29th September 2021. Time: 6.00pm – 6.30pm Option to attend in person or via Zoom (a link to the Zoom meeting will be sent out on 27th September 2021). Strictly RSVP to Lucy at [email protected] by 15th September 2021 or call 0113 887 8333. …

Your stories

Supporter Spotlight: Kingswood Dearne Valley
13-09-21Your stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We were thrilled to announce the return of our annual Sibling Residential trip this year, to Kingswood Dearne Valley. This trip is for all of our siblings to have a fun time, enjoy being children and make special friendships with other siblings who have been affected by childhood cancer. They had lots and lots of …
Supporter Spotlight: Lyke Wake Walk
13-09-21Your stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We’d like to say an enormous thank you to a brilliant group of people who recently completed the Lyke Wake Walk across the North Yorkshire Moors, in support of Tom who was diagnosed with glioblastoma over Christmas last year. Tom’s cousin, Harriet, who organised the walk said, ‘When Tom was diagnosed it was the middle …
Supporter Spotlight: Heart & Sole
13-09-21Your stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
A wonderful group of 26 inspirational ladies dubbed ‘Heart & Sole’ from Harrogate, recently walked the distance of a marathon in and around the Harrogate area to raise funds for Candlelighters. Charlotte Broadwith, who organised the event, was inspired after hearing how the pandemic had negatively impacted community fundraising for many charities. She said, ‘Candlelighters is …