THE Duke of Gloucester was given a royal welcome as he visited Tenbury last week.

The Duke visited the town's high school and community hospital, on what is believed to be the first royal visit to Tenbury for at least 20 years.

Prue Winton, chair of the school's board of governors, took the Duke on a guided tour.

"It was just one of those special days," she said. "It's been a very long time since we've had a royal visitor and it went very smoothly.

"The Duke was very easy to talk to and took an interest in everything that was going on."

The school is a specialist science and mathematics college and the Duke, who has a keen interest in architecture, enjoyed a visit to the design and technology department.

Staying at the school for just under an hour, he officially opened the school's £1.76m sports centre before visiting the town's hospital.

The town's mayor, Coun Phil Grove, said he was privileged to be part of the visit as it helped to put Tenbury on the map.

"It was marvellous to have a royal visitor coming to Tenbury to open the wonderful sports complex and to visit our local hospital," he said. "It shows how much everybody's hard work is appreciated and underlines the positive developments going on in Tenbury."

Meanwhile, a carnival of colour marked the visit the Duke when he officially opened a new all-girls school. Gold and blue balloons were released by staff and students at the opening of Malvern St James school.

The Duke toured the school, which was formed in September, and spoke to teachers and students before unveiling a plaque.

"Today has been a very special day for staff and girls at Malvern St James and our thanks go to the Duke of Gloucester for visiting us today and opening our new school," said headteacher Rosalind Haye.

The school was created by the merger of Malvern Girls' College and St James's School.