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Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society hits the right note for Carnival funds

Carnival chair Andrew Stacey joins Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society young performers L-R Jacob Troake, Matthew Disney, Lottie Tunstall and Lily Troake to celebrate the group receiving primary beneficiary status

Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society has been awarded primary beneficiary status for this year’s Ilkley Carnival.

The theatre group, which for 100 years has nurtured and showcased the talents of generations of local children, teenagers and adults, is looking for funding to refurbish its rehearsal premises, “Operatic House”, based at All Saints Church Institute on Leeds Road.

Home to weekly rehearsals and utilised for wider group use including Outside The Box, Ilkley Pride and the Ilkley Climate Change Group, the Grade II listed property needs significant structural repairs to ensure its continued role as a hub for local community activities.

The volunteer-run Society presented its application to the Ilkley Carnival Committee this week and was unanimously awarded primary beneficiary status meaning it will receive the major share of profits raised at the event. The remaining funds will be divided between Ben Rhydding Scouts and Guides to support its 75th anniversary of links with The Hague and other local groups who actively support and help at the annual event.

Ted Killan of the Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society said: “Being the main beneficiary of Ilkley Carnival is a massive help to Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society and our commitment to maintaining Operatic House in our centenary year. As well as being a rehearsal space for IAOS, Operatic House is a much-used and much-loved community hub, providing space for local businesses and a diverse range of local organisations, with approximately 250 local people of all ages and backgrounds benefitting from activities here every week.

“Sadly, we have discovered significant dry rot within the fabric of the building that negatively impacts the use of the building. Funding from Ilkley Carnival will be a huge help in enabling us to treat and repair the affected parts of the building so it is fit to serve the community of Ilkley for another 100 years!”

Ilkley Carnival chair Andrew Stacey added: “Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society celebrates its centenary this year – that’s 100 years of supporting the local arts, developing young performers, providing local community space and firmly placing Ilkley on the regional arts map. Awarding the group primary beneficiary status also reflects the wider importance of the arts in Bradford district which has been awarded City of Culture status for 2025.

“The funds will help towards sustaining their rehearsal and community space which in turn is an investment in the continuation of an invaluable provision that supports physical and emotional wellbeing and which modestly serves the people of this town and beyond.”

Ilkley Carnival, sponsored by High Speed Training, will take place on 1st May, beginning with a 1,000 strong parade along The Grove which finishes at East Holmes Fields parade ground on Denton Road, where family entertainment will run throughout the day. Main events include the annual dog show, the free Bradford Grammar Junior School Craft Tent, Ilkley Rocks featuring live local bands and the Knights of Albion Steamhorse Stunt Team.

Advance priced tickets are now on sale from the Tesco store on Springs Lane in Ilkley and from the committee outside Bettys on The Grove on Saturday 29th April.

All profits raised from Ilkley Carnival go back into the community and the event is made possible with sponsorship and support from local organisations including High Speed Training, Ilkley BID, Bradford Grammar School, Aireborough Skip Hire and Mayfield View Ilkley.

For more information, visit the carnival’s website on and to keep updated with all the news follow @IlkleyCarnival on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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