The Ilkley-Coutances Twinning Committee is busy preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the charter linking the two towns on May 18 1969.

On that day in 2019, a commemorative exhibition will open in the Manor House and run until late June. On Saturday, June 8, a Civic Delegation will arrive in Ilkley for an official visit. There will be a reception in the Town Hall, hosted by the Mayor of Ilkley, followed by dinner at Ilkley Rugby Club.

On June 9, the group will visit Salts Mill and then go on to Cliffe Castle to enjoy the summer garden party. In the evening, there will be a concert by Two Rivers Band at Ilkley Playhouse, followed by supper. On June 10 the group will visit the Manor House before departing. It will be a short visit, timed around a French public holiday to allow working people to participate, but there will also be other events throughout the year, notably a wine tasting at Majestic Wine, Ilkley, on February 27 February. Tickets at £15, available from Committee members. There are plans afoot as well for a visit from a choir from Coutances in April. The likely date for a concert is Friday 12 April.

Further information and wine-tasting tickets are available from Twinning Committee Chairman Judith Dunn at and Judith would love to hear from anyone with memories of visits to Coutances and/or photos and souvenirs which might feature in the exhibition. Any offers of hosting for the Civic Visit will also be very welcome – we are expecting a party of 20 or so.