A FUN-PACKED day of activities is planned to mark York's burgeoning links with the African city of Timbuktu.

The event is being organised by the York-Timbuktu Link to get groups in the city involved with the effort to twin with the far-flung settlement in Mali.

It is due to take place in March or April and is set to include exhibitions, games, fun activities and a Timbuktu trail.

The day will focus on all York's links with countries in the developing world.

John Bibby, 62, an educational consultant, of Heworth, who is involved with the group, said: "We want it to be a showcase of groups that have links with Africa or other places in the developing world.

"We would be very interested to hear from local groups that would like to have a partner in Africa or groups that already have links with Africa."

He said organisers also hoped to hear from schools, disabled groups, youth clubs and old people's groups that want to take part.

The York-Timbuktu Link was formed after the city was named as one of three finalists in the search to find a British twin for the legendary African city.

To make the finals, the city had to prove it had once been an important trade hub, as well as being a centre of learning and boasting a love of the written word, unique architecture and a cosmopolitan mindset.

Malian officials are understood to have been impressed by York's civic history and its traditions of trade and architecture.

Mr Bibby said the group has also invited the other towns - Hay-on-Wye and Glastonbury - hoping to be twinned with Timbuktu to take part in the day. He said: "I have been in touch with the other towns since the meeting. One of the things that concerned us a bit was that it has all been set up as a competition.

"We felt that was a bit negative because there would only be one winner. The other towns are interested in the idea and they will probably come."

The group's next meeting is on February 14. For more information or to take part in the Timbuktu Day, email John Bibby on qed@enterprise.net