News Release - Issued by City of York Council and Yorkshire Air Museum
City of York Council and the Yorkshire Air Museum are proud to present La Grande Soirée des Officiers Français on Wednesday 2 July at the De Grey Rooms, as part of the celebrations for the Tour de France coming to York and to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Television presenter Jan Leeming (Vice President of the Yorkshire Air Museum) will greet guests at the exclusive Champagne reception held in the elegant, early Victorian ballroom on St Leonard’s Place. This will be followed by a superb four-course French dinner served with a selection of fine wines courtesyof the Jurade de St Emillion. Diners will be entertained by Jean-Jacques Delaunay and his Paris-based band in the chandeliered ballroom which was once the favourite haunt of the officers of the French Air Force.
Guests are invited to wear black tie or cocktail dress or, if they prefer, uniform with which medals may be worn.
Tickets for this glittering occasion are now on sale at £80 each and booking for tables of up to ten can be accommodated. All profits from the Grande Soirée will be donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Tour de France’s chosen charity partner.
Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “This very special event not only commemorates the contribution to the City by the French, but is a key component of York: Be part of it, a cultural festival that celebrates the Tour de France coming to York.”
Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum, Ian Reed FRAeS, D’Officier de L’Ordre National du Mérite, said: “In 1944 a French airmen at RAF Elvington wrote: ‘In 70 years time they will talk, perhaps with a tear in their eyes, about… these strange airmen who stole girls’ hearts’.
On 2 July, Le Grande Soirée des Officiers Français will bring back that magic, elegance and style: a fitting tribute and a unique and sparkling occasion for York.”
Tickets can be ordered from City of York Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01904 554100. ENDS.
During WWII, RAF Elvington, near York, upon which the Museum is now based, was the only RAF Bomber Command station to be operated by another nationality, with 2300 airmen of the only two French Heavy Bomber Squadrons: 346 ‘Guyenne’ and 347 ‘Tunisie’ Squadrons. They commenced operations in June 1944 flying Halifax bombers. Over 50% of their aircrew never returned to their homeland.
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