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Festive star unveiled at Rudding Park in support of people affected by cancer

A special star created in partnership with Lights4fun to show support for everyone affected by cancer in Yorkshire will be displayed at Rudding Park during the festive season.

The luxury hotel in Harrogate is hosting the star to help shine a light on the groundbreaking research being funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research to help save lives across the region.

Umpleby family in front of the star at Rudding Park

Yorkshire Cancer Research is inviting supporters to help Yorkshire shine during December. The star features 600 lights representing each of the 600 people who are told they have cancer every week in Yorkshire.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Christmas is a time when we can all come together to recognise the impact of cancer across the region. In Yorkshire, every 17 minutes someone is told they have cancer. We want to show our support for everyone affected by cancer this festive season, while raising awareness of the life-saving research taking place in Yorkshire to help pioneer early diagnosis and discover new and better treatments.”

As well as donating to help prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, people can dedicate a Yorkshire Star to celebrate someone who has recovered from cancer, thank those who have shown support, recognise someone going through treatment or remember a loved one.

Umbleby family standing in front of a Christmas tree with their Yorkshire Star dedications

The star at Rudding Park was unveiled with the help of Shiela Umpleby, who is currently having treatment for breast cancer, along with her husband Martin and sons Thomas and Isaac.

Shiela, 46, was diagnosed with cancer after noticing a change in the shape of her breast while breastfeeding her youngest son.

In March 2021, she was found to have ‘inflammatory breast cancer’, which is very rare and develops very rapidly. Sadly, Shiela’s cancer has spread to other parts of her body and is now incurable, although she is still receiving treatment to help prevent it from developing further.

To help manage her mental wellbeing during treatment, she volunteers at the Yorkshire Cancer Research shop in Harrogate town centre.

Shiela said: “I am supporting the ‘Help Yorkshire shine’ campaign this Christmas to help make people aware that they are not alone and there is a bit of hope. Even though my cancer is incurable, I feel alive knowing there are people and organisations who are supporting people like me and helping to diagnose cancer sooner and find better treatments."

“After my diagnosis, I didn’t feel myself anymore. But since becoming a part of the Yorkshire Cancer Research community, I’ve started to become myself again. Instead of a life filled with hospital appointments, me and my family are beginning to feel a bit more normal.”

Shiela added: “Since having cancer, Christmas has been a difficult time, especially for my boys. The first Christmas after my diagnosis, I was going through chemotherapy treatment, so I was very tired, and my physical appearance was very different. It was a struggle to make the boys feel it was still a time to celebrate and not feel sad because mummy was poorly.

“This year I’m looking forward to getting a bit of normality back. We’ll be having a quiet Christmas with our family, giving gifts to the little ones. I’m dedicating my ‘Yorkshire Star’ to my husband and my two boys for being so supportive and loving. The boys have been very resilient and give me all the love they can give.”

The festive star forms part of Rudding Park’s ‘Follow the Christmas Stars’ experience, which has been create in partnership with Harrogate lighting experts Lights4fun and is dedicated to Yorkshire Cancer Research.

The experience invites guests to explore the grounds outside and discover stars adorning the trees, glistening golden rings emulating the wonders of outer space and majestic deer drawn in by the enchantment of the night sky.

Representatives from Yorkshire Cancer Research, Rudding Park and Lights4Fun standing in front of the star

The Yorkshire Cancer Research star, created with support from Harrogate based Lights4fun and Sutton on the Forest agricultural engineering company Plowman Brothers, can be found next to the hotel reception. Guests exploring the experience will have the opportunity to make a donation to the cause.

Jessica Mackaness, who heads up the Giving Something Back initiative at Rudding Park, said: “As a business we have a responsibility to support and give back to our local community, so we are delighted to be supporting Yorkshire Cancer Research this Christmas. The research funded by the charity is invaluable, so we are dedicating our ‘Follow the Christmas Stars’ campaign to helping increase awareness of their amazing work.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research recently opened a new centre at Hornbeam Park, where Lights4fun is also based. The centre provides a fitness and wellbeing programme for people with cancer, as well as incorporating a cafe, shop and donation centre.

Becky Tasker, PR Manager at Lights4fun, added: “At Lights4fun, we’re delighted to welcome the Yorkshire Cancer Research team to our little part of Yorkshire and so it’s been very special to us, working closely with team to create the star and bring this wonderful campaign to life. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this project and are so touched to have 600 of our LED lights represent each of those who are told they have cancer every week in Yorkshire alone. As a Harrogate business, giving back to our local and wider community is of huge importance to us, and so we are extremely grateful to have been able to help shine a light on the vital work Yorkshire Cancer Research continues to do for our community.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre shop

Supporters are also invited to a free festive celebration at the new Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre at Hornbeam Park. Taking place at 4:30pm on Thursday, 14th December, the event will include the chance to enjoy live music from St Aidan's School Festive Band, browse the centre’s boutique-style shop and sample festive treats at Cafe Hornbeam.

Find out more


Nikki Brady, PR Manager

Yorkshire Cancer Research

Tel: 07814 255159