A member of The Royal Family has returned to County Durham to see how work is progressing on the revitalisation of a historic market town.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO, spent this afternoon (17 September) exploring The Auckland Project, charity and visitor destination in Bishop Auckland, which is using art, faith and heritage to fuel long-term change and regeneration.
His Royal Highness toured the Mining Art Gallery, Bishop Trevor Gallery and Auckland Tower visitor centre, which were still under construction when The Duke first visited The Project in 2017 and have since attracted more than 35,000 visitors.
His Royal Highness, who trained as an architect, was also given a preview inside Auckland Castle, which is due to open to the public on 2 November following a three-year conservation programme supported in part thanks to National Lottery players via The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
To commemorate the visit His Royal Highness planted a tree in the Castle’s Walled Garden, which is currently under development, and was shown the sites of the forthcoming Spanish Gallery and Faith Museum, which will all open as part of The Auckland Project visitor destination in the coming years.
Accompanied by The Auckland Project’s CEO, David Maddan and Chair of The Leadership Team, Jane Ruffer, His Royal Highness was also able to find out more about how The Project is helping to create positive change for those living, working and visiting Bishop Auckland.
This includes working with a wide range of partners to encourage investment in Bishop Auckland and its infrastructure, including Durham County Council – represented at the event by Chief Executive Terry Collins – Helen Goodman MP and the Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Councillor Joy Allen, who were also in attendance.
David Maddan, CEO of The Auckland Project, said: “It has been two years since we last welcomed His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester to The Auckland Project and it is a pleasure to be able to show him how far we have come and the next phase of development.
“We hope that The Duke will continue to follow The Auckland Project as it progresses and hope to welcome him again in the not too distant future.”
For more information about The Auckland Project please visit www.aucklandporject.org or search on Facebook and Twitter.