Ilkley-Coutances Twinning Committee
The Twinning Committee exists to foster links between organisations and people in the two towns of Ilkley and Coutances, with the ultimate aim of encouraging international understanding and co-operation.
Coutances is an attractive market town in Normandy, of a similar size to Ilkley. The original twinning began immediately after the second world war between the towns’ secondary schools. As a result of these exchanges the then Ilkley Urban District Council decided to twin with Coutances. Agreements were signed first in Ilkley and then in Coutances. Since then there has been a lively programme of visits between Coutances and Ilkley, with many of the two towns’ organisations taking part.
In addition, each year a Civic visit takes place, with each town taking turns at hosting the other. Most recently, Coutances visited Ilkley in June 2019, as part of the celebrations of the fiftieth year of Twinning. A return visit was to take place in May 2020, to coincide with the opening of the Coutances Festival Jazz sous les Pommiers. However, the Coronavirus Pandemic scuppered all plans, and the 2020 visit was abandoned by mutual agreement. The next Civic visit will be scheduled when the Pandemic is brought under control, and we can agree safe arrangements.
Fund raising is carried out during the year to help fund the hospitality for the visits. Events such as cheese and wine evenings, raffles and stalls at Ilkley events are held. Funding is also received from Ilkley Town Council through the Community Fund. Our most recent event just prior to the Coronavirus 'lockdown', was a meal with a French flavour at the Bistro des Amis, Skipton, on Monday 17 February 2020. We were joined by a number of guests from the various u3a French conversation groups for a fabulous evening of good food and entertainment. The event raised nearly £500 and was enjoyed by all. Our thanks are extended to the Bistro des Amis for their wonderful hospitality, and to Ilkley Community Transport...who took care of our travel arrangements, thereby giving us all the opportunity to test out the excellent Bistro wine selection.