We are celebrating after two of our leaders attended a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace! Emily Wragg, our Chief Executive Officer, and Keith Hardcastle, our Chair of Trustees, were invited in recognition of our work, and they were amongst specially selected guests from across the UK.  

Emily Wragg explains: “We were thrilled to have been nominated as guests at Buckingham Palace. This Garden Party was one of just two held each year. Members of the Royal Family and King Charles were in attendance.  

“Our invitation recognised the work done at Candlelighters, by a wide range of people working hard to support children and their families through a childhood cancer diagnosis. We’re very lucky to have a large number of committed volunteers and fundraisers as well as members of staff, and each of them has an important role to play.” 

Keith Hardcastle adds:  

“We were at Buckingham Palace to represent the support we offer to hundreds of children and their families across Yorkshire who are impacted by childhood cancer. It also reflected our wider work, including our investment into research which supports children with cancer across the UK and internationally.” 

Emily says:  

“Keith and I feel incredibly humbled to represent such an important charity and to be a part of both what we have achieved, and what we will achieve in the future. Families are affected by childhood cancer, not only throughout treatment but beyond – whether their child has long-term side effects or the family is sadly bereaved.  

“Being able to provide vital support for these families during an extremely traumatic journey is at the core of everything we do.” 

Whilst Emily and Keith joined Members of the Royal Family and King Charles at Buckingham Palace, the rest of our team also celebrated the day, hosting parties for children, families and staff, at the Family Support Centre and at Leeds Children’s Hospital. Our families enjoyed food, games and lots of bunting to enjoy this special day for Candlelighters. 

Each year, specially invited guests are invited?to enjoy a relaxing summer afternoon in the prestigious gardens of Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The events are an opportunity for members of the Royal Family to meet and chat to people from many backgrounds who have all made a significant contribution to their community.  

Emily Wragg and Keith Hardcastle have played a crucial role in our expansion and success over the years, including the opening of The Square and The Candlelighters Cottage.  

Emily Wragg joined us in her new role as?Chief Executive Officer in June 2018 and was previously our Deputy Director. She was recently nominated for the award of Public and Third Sector Leader in the Yorkshire Leadership Awards. 

Keith Hardcastle joined the Board of Candlelighters in 2009 and became Chair in June 2020. Keith’s son, Harry, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of three in 2006. Keith leads our Board of Trustees who provide direction, oversight and governance of our charitable activities.  

Last year, Emily and Keith led the creation of a £1 million Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre, in collaboration with the University of York, which will focus on research tackling the potentially life-threatening side effects of cancer treatment for children. This will see internationally crucial research being led from Yorkshire to help save lives, reduce suffering, and bring hope for children diagnosed with cancer.  

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