WITH the official celebration of fifty years of the Ilkley-Coutances twinning over, the committee is looking forward to consolidating new links.

Guests at the civic reception at Ilkley Town Hall last week admired – and enjoyed – the splendid celebration cake given by Bettys.

What they didn’t see was the other one: a beautiful golden wedding cake which is even now on display in Coutances’ top pâtisserie.

Twinning Committee Secretary Jenny Howarth contacted Valérie Lemonnier during the Ilkley delegation’s visit in 2018 and created this very promising link.

Jenny told the Gazette: “We are very grateful to Bettys for this impressive gesture and look forward to their representative joining our visit in 2020, to meet the Lemonniers in person.”

Another useful encounter was between Estelle Leduc, an English teacher at the Coutances Agricultural College, and Keith Pitcher of Ilkley Climate Change.

They are already exploring contacts with regard to linking action in the two towns.

Estelle is a long-standing member of twinning in Coutances and this year asked the Ilkley committee to help a horticulture student find a work placement.

As a result, 16-year-old Mathéo Dormer has been working on a gardening project at a private house, prior to a stint with Georges Lepelley, of Ilkley in Bloom on Sunday.

On Tuesday he was busy at Ilkley Manor House, helping the team preparing the Heritage Sensory Garden for its opening by Alan Titchmarsh on Thursday, June 20.

Alan will be at the Manor House between 4.30pm and 5.30pm. Visitors can also view a display in the house which celebrates twinning.

Visit www.ilkleymanorhouse.org for more information.