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Have you ever been involved in the Leeds-Lille twinning?

This year, Leeds is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its twinning with the city of Lille in France. The partnership is not just council to council, but there have been dozens of school, sport and youth exchanges, best practice projects between council services, university connections and links between businesses and cultural organisations. Our partners in Lille have been searching their archives and have found a newspaper cutting showing the original signing of the Leeds-Lille twinning agreement in October 1968 by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor John Rafferty, and the Mayor of Lille, Augustin Laurent.

Over the years, thousands of people have been involved in the Leeds-Lille partnership – maybe as penpals or as part of a school exchange, through a university link or through visits between Leeds organisations and their partners across the channel. If you are one of these people, then we want to hear from you!

We are planning to hold an event at Leeds Town Hall as part of Light Night Leeds in October whereby we will be displaying photos, letters and stories which tell the history of the 50-year partnership. We will also be collating and sharing stories on this blog, so watch this space.

If you have a memory to share with us, please get in touch using the contact form below or email

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