Margate Karate Academy event raises £3k for fund in memory of Aurora Pile-Gray from Garlinge

Aurora touched the hearts of the Thanet community

Students from the Margate Karate Academy, along with others from the karate community, have gathered together to take part in the ‘Aurora Open’ in memory of young student Aurora Pile-Gray.

Friends, family and fellow karate students helped to raise more than £3,000 for Young Lives vs Cancer, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, who supported Aurora’s family after she was she was diagnosed with cancer.

Aurora, who lived in Garlinge and attended school in Westgate-on-Sea, was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, in May 2020 at just eight-years-old. After months of treatment, Aurora sadly took her last breath at home, surrounded by her family on 29 June 2021, just a few days before her tenth birthday.

Gary Adams, Aurora’s Karate Sensei at The Margate Academy, wanted to do something in her memory so decided a tournament would be a fitting tribute to remember his former student and raise funds for the charity that supported the family throughout.

The ‘Aurora Open Championships’ took place on Saturday 9 July, just two days after what would have been Aurora’s 11th birthday.

Gary (pictured with one of the young winners) said: “From when Aurora first become unwell the whole Karate community near and far put their support behind her. Many had never met her but Aurora had this way of just making everyone feel like they knew her, she brought communities together and is still doing that now even after she is sadly no longer with us.

“This competition was Karate’s way of saying “We will never forget you” and also an opportunity to help other children and families. I would like to personally thank every single person who sponsored this competition, competed, help run or supported in any way, you have made a huge difference and you have my respect and friendship for life. Margate Karate Academy will never forget one of their own.”

Last year in Kent, Young Lives vs Cancer helped 134 families to find the strength to face cancer. They gave out 112 financial grants to the value of £23,820 helping families to cope with the costs of cancer. The Cancer Costs report from the charity found that families with a child on active treatment spend an extra £600 a month.

Alex Drury, Young Lives vs Cancer Senior Fundraising Engagement Manager for Kent, said “We’ve been completely overwhelmed by the support shown to the charity in Aurora’s memory.

“When cancer strikes young lives we step in to help families find the strength to face everything cancer throws at them. We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work and so we can’t thank Gary at The Margate Karate Academy enough for his fantastic efforts and to everyone who attended and donated, we will be able to help even more young people and their families, like Aurora’s.”

Aurora, with mum Keisha, when she was receiving treatment

A fund has been set up in Aurora’s name, to help support other young cancer patients and their families during the toughest of times.

To make a donation to The Aurora Fund, visit:

For more information about Young Lives vs Cancer’s work, go to