Ilkley is looking forward to welcoming a smaller group from across the Channel before the expected influx of visitors for the Tour de France this summer.

A delegation of 20 from Ilkley’s twin town of Coutances will be hosted by members of the Twinning Committee and Club Francophone between Friday and Monday, as well as by other hospitable residents in and around Ilkley.

The delegation will be led by Yves Lamy, recently re-elected as Mayor of Coutances for a further six-year term.

Like Monsieur Lamy, many of the delegation are no strangers to the Wharfe Valley, but there will be some newcomers and also some new hosts. Councillor Brian Mann, a Twinning Committee member and former Ilkley Parish Council chairman who will be hosting Mr and Mrs Lamy, said: “Sylvia and I are very much looking forward to this visit. It is most heartening to see new interest in twinning and to see more young people than ever involved.”

The committee has planned a programme of activities for the long weekend, including a civic reception on Friday and culminating in the Lord Mayor’s Ball in Bradford on Saturday.

Today, Thursday, there is an event at which the general public will be more than welcome.

An evening with the Duncan MacFarlane Acoustic Trio will take place at Otley Rugby Club, Pool Road, at 7.30pm.

Duncan MacFarlane is well-known on the folk scene, featuring regularly at Otley Folk Festival and at the Fleece in Addingham.

On this occasion he will be joined by fiddler Anne Brivonese and melodeon-player Steve Fairholme for what promises to be a great evening. Tickets, £5, are available on the door or in advance from Judith Dunn on (01943) 817588.