PREPARATIONS for Yarm's twining event with towns from France and Germany are well under way.

This year is the 20th anniversary of twinning with Vernouillet, near Paris, and the tenth with Schwalbach, in Germany.

Dignitaries from both towns will visit Yarm on the weekend of July 2 and 3, with various events planned to welcome the guests.

Yarm Parish Church, in West Street, will hold an open day and fete on the Saturday, from noon-5.30.

Inside the church there will be floral displays; free musical entertainment, including a variety of items played on the pipe organ; exhibitions of vestments and children's work; competitions, stalls and refreshments.

More stalls and sideshows will be outside.

Members of the town council will greet their counterparts in the town hall at 2.30, and a ceilidh has been organised at the Fellowship Hall from 7.30.

Musical entertainment will be provided by a folk group and a band of Northumberland pipers

At a meeting of the town council on Tuesday, members agreed to increase the budget for the evening's entertainment from £600 to £670, to include costs for outside catering

On the Sunday, the churches of St Mary Magdalene and Yarm Methodist, together with St John's and Orchard Church, in Egglescliffe, will hold a joint service entitled Joined in Song, Joined in Worship at St Mary Magdalene, West Street, Yarm, from 6pm.

The event is the third in a series of annual united services of congregational hymns, prayers and readings, with musical items from the church choirs and the Eaglescliffe Locality Choral Group.

The speaker will be the Rev Clay Roundtree, curate at the host church.

At Tuesday's meeting, the town council expressed disappointment that two new trees, promised by Stockton Borough Council, had still not been planted in Yarm High Street. The town council and Yarm Twinning Association had planned to hold a dedication ceremony for the trees and install a plaque to commemorate the two twinning anniversaries.

The chairman, Coun Peter Monck, said he had attended a meeting of the twinning association on Monday, at which members raised concerns about the non-appearance of the trees and suggested a "pretend" ceremony at one of the old trees.

However, the town council felt this would not be appropriate, and it was agreed to ask Stockton Council again why the new trees had still not been planted.