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Harriers “ecstatic” as they take pole position as Carnival’s primary beneficiary

The Ilkley Carnival committee has announced the Junior Ilkley Harriers have raced ahead to be named primary beneficiaries of this year’s ‘At The Movies’ themed May Day event.


After an online application process and a shortlist of several presentations, the committee voted in favour of the Junior Ilkley Harriers receiving half of the 2017 profits raised on 1 May to go towards building a Compact Athletics Training Facility for aspiring, young LS29 athletes.


Committee chairman Andrew Stacey said: “Making the final decision is always a challenge with so many deserving local good causes but the Junior Ilkley Harriers’ application stood out because the travel required for coaching is deterring juniors from getting active and preventing some from reaching their full potential. We felt that the funds raised would make a tangible difference by improving facilities for this sporting organisation which has been a part of the community for more than 10 years.”


With demand for athletics growing in Ilkley and Ben Rhydding, the junior division of Ilkley Harriers was set up in 2003 by volunteers and parents. The Harriers have gone from strength to strength but are desperate for funding to meet the demand of their 340 junior members.


Alison Bennet of Junior Ilkley Harriers, said: “Ilkley Harriers has provided invaluable sporting development for young people for more than 10 years but this year, we are hoping to expand by building a Compact Athletics Training Facility. Interest in athletics has increased tenfold and we are hoping to match that with state of the art training facilities. With the support of Ilkley Carnival, we will install a shale landing area for shot put, a skill that can be taught to children as young as six as well as improving their technique, balance, coordination and agility.


“The waiting list for Junior Ilkley Harriers is always growing but we just don’t have the facilities to coach that many children. In the past a few Harriers have travelled to Halifax, Leeds and Gateshead to train specifically in throws but with the carnival funding they can train here in their hometown.”


Among Junior Ilkley Harriers’ volunteers, more than 70 have become qualified in leadership and First Aid to keep up with demand in the LS29 community.


Alison said: “We are ecstatic that Ilkley Carnival has chosen to support the children’s enthusiasm for athletics and and would urge everyone to come along this year and purchase a ticket to the carnival showground, safe in the  knowledge that the funds raised will make a huge difference to our community.”


Just over £10k profit was raised at the 2016 Ilkley Carnival and with main sponsor Tesco Ilkley backing the Carnival this year, expectations are high for another successful year.


Andrew added: “With the support of local people who we would urge to not just watch the parade but to buy tickets and come to the showground, this year’s carnival should be the biggest and best yet.” 


For details about becoming a sponsor and available advertising packages, contact carnival committee member Colin Watson on 07885 200640. To join the carnival’s team of volunteers, contact Andrew Stacey at

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