Rresidents and visitors may have wondered if Ilkley was seeing a second Norman conquest at the weekend.

The French tricolor floating above the Town Hall and other landmarks was there, however, to welcome a friendly delegation of 20 from Ilkley’s twin town of Coutances in Normandy.

Led by Yves Lamy, recently re-elected for a third six-year term as Mayor of Coutances, the group enjoyed a three-day stay.

They were met on arrival at Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club and were hosted by members of the Ilkley-Coutances Twinning Committee and Club Francophone, as well as by hospitable residents of Ilkley, Addingham and Burley-in-Wharfedale.

There was a fish-and-chip supper at Maypole Fisheries in Otley and a folk concert by the Duncan McFarlane acoustic trio at Otley RUFC.

Friday saw a civic reception at Ilkley Town Hall and a guided walk by Alex Cockshott, of Ilkley Civic Society, on the theme of “Taking the waters in Ilkley”.

This included White Wells and its spring – and benefited from beautiful spring weather.

Saturday was a day at leisure for exploring Ilkley and its surroundings before a spectacular evening at the Lord Mayor’s Charity Ball in Bradford.

This was at the suggestion of Councillor Mike Gibbons and proved to be a stroke of genius, ending the visit on a high note.