Events and News in 2018

Friday, January 23rd

We held a very successful Quiz Night at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, raising around £300 for our funds. Unfortunately, our usual Quiz Mistress, Barbara, was ill but our Treasurer, Neil, stood in for her. There were some very challenging questions, but the final results were very close. As always, the meat pies from Wilkinsons (Wetherby butchers) were excellent and accompanied by the usual hot mushy peas and mint sauce.

Monday, March 26th

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7.30 pm at St. James Church Centre on Church Street. Our Honorary President, Bernard Atha, was re-elected for a further year. Cindy Bentley was re-elected as Chair, Neil O’Byrne as Treasurer and Unice Brierley as Secretary. Lila Roots resigned from the committee which now comprises Kazia Knight, Mary-Jane Archer, Dawn Payne and Norma Harrington as Mayor. Norma will remain on the committee after May when the new Mayor takes over and is an ex-officio member of the committee. The Treasurer reported a good financial position for this point in our 4-year cycle and the Chair reported on events in the 2017/18 year.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, John Butterwick gave another of his fascinating wine talks, this time about pairing up cheeses with the appropriate wines. Members tasted 3 different wines with accompanying cheeses

Thursday, June 14th-Monday, June 18th

16 members set off for Privas on June 14th, most of them arriving at 9.00 pm, except for two who were caught up in a delayed train from Leeds and arrived around midnight. We were met at Valence TGV station by our French hosts and whisked off to Privas for a late supper and bed.

Friday morning was free and host families had organised a variety of activities followed by lunch. At 3.00 pm, we met at an artist’s studio in the most stunning location – Dalva Duarte is South American, but has lived in France for many years. She is an internationally renowned artist and, judging by the prices displayed on some of her paintings, is much sought after. It was a fascinating visit. At 5.00 pm, we had an official reception at the Town Hall with Monsieur Valla, the Mayor of Privas and many of the Privas councillors at the end of which the exchange of civic gifts took place.

Marie-Do Roche

Marie-Do Roche, the Privas councillor with responsibility for twinning is pictured with the framed photograph of Wetherby Town Hall, presented by Councillor Norma Harrington on behalf of Wetherby Town Council. She was presented with a beautiful book of the history of Privas by the Privas Mayor.

The reception was followed by a barbecue and darts match – which Wetherby lost for the first time since the McGill Challenge Trophy was presented to both Associations by the family of John McGill.

On Saturday, we were up early to catch a coach to the southern part of the Ardeche to visit the Caverne du Pont d’Arc. This is a cave complex containing the most stunning cave paintings. To ensure that the paintings are preserved, a complete replica has been painstakingly constructed nearby. We then visited the Domaine du Colombier for a wine-tasting and picnic. On the way back to Privas, we stopped off for a visit at the Chateau du Vogue – a mediaeval castle.

Sunday was a somewhat more relaxing day spent with host families. At 3.00 pm we had a boules tournament – which we narrowly lost. Our team, Neville Bentley, Mary-Jane Archer and Trevor Cole, put up a great fight, but the Privas team proved superior. A wonderful meal followed our exertions on the boules front with the presentation of the McGill Challenge Trophy to the winning boules team from Privas and thanks to our hosts for a wonderful visit.


Monday saw us back at Valence TGV station, saying goodbye to our hosts and setting off back to Wetherby. I think everyone agrees that it was one of the best visits we have had.

Friday, October 12thour annual Call My Wine Bluff was held at St. James’ Church Centre as part of the Wetherby Festival. Our ‘experts’ did their usual fantastic job telling lies, and occasionally the truth. For the first time, the event had a female MC, Barbara, who is usually our Quiz Mistress. The 6 wines tasted and described by the ‘experts’ went down well and around 60 participants had a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday, October 13th – as part of the Wetherby Festival weekend, the Welcome to Wetherby team organised a town Open Day with local groups and associations having the opportunity to have a stand in the Town Hall. Thanks to our members who manned the Twinning stand, we were able to spread the word about Wetherby’s links with Privas.

Sunday, November 11th Remembrance Day As we have done for many years now, we laid a wreath at the memorial on the bridge. This year, we laid two wreaths, one traditional poppy one on behalf of our Association and one with cornflowers which is the French tradition. This was provided by Jeremy Burton, the French consul for Leeds, and had the Privas coat of arms in the centre.

Remembrance Sunday 2018

Friday, December 7thour Christmas Social Evening at Wetherby Social Club (now The Wetherby) was as enjoyable as ever. 30 members enjoyed a delicious buffet provided by Dawn, had a Christmas-themed quiz, played games and sang a French carol, ably led by John and Dorothy who also wrote the words out phonetically for the non-French speakers. You can see the video on our Facebook page.



Our Secretary of many years, Unice Brierley, passed away on December 22nd last year at the age of 95. Only a few weeks before her death, she was asking if she should organise a committee meeting on Zoom! Both she and her late husband, Eric, were original members of the Association back in 1992 and remained enthusiastic supporters right to the end. They visited Privas several times and always accommodated French visitors to Wetherby. Unice was a conscientious secretary and was always the first to offer help at events. We shall miss her greatly.