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Royal stamp of approval

The Duke of Gloucester launched a state-of-the-art scanning suite at Furness General Hospital after calling at Coniston to recognise the area's tourism successes and taste a little country living.

This Is Lancashire: The Duke meets pupils from Coniston Primary School. (D5G034PB19) The Duke meets pupils from Coniston Primary School. (D5G034PB19)

His Royal Highness, who is an architect by training, opened the new MRI suite after an £800,000 refurbishment of the Barrow hospital's radiology department was completed in March.

While in the area, the Queen's cousin also visited Coniston to celebrate with the Tourism and Conservation Partnership which has raised a staggering £725,000 for Cumbrian conservation projects before meeting local schoolchildren and touring the Ruskin Museum.

Accompanied by Cumbria's Lord Lieutenant, James Cropper, the Duke enjoyed a cruise with local business people on Coniston Water aboard a steam yacht Gondola, as well as awarding certificates to some of the partnership's key fund-raisers Langdale Leisure, Heart of the Lakes and English Lakes Hotel - who have together raised more than £225,000.

As well as touring the Ruskin Museum, he also congratulated newly elected MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron, and gleaned some expert knowledge from Herdwick sheep farmer Johnny Birkett and slate-workers Donald Kelly and Cliff Barrow.

Curator of the Ruskin Museum Vicky Slowe said: "It was a considerable honour to have the chance to show the Duke around. He is obviously familiar with the work of Ruskin through his architecture."

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