Tyne & Wear

Prince William visits Great Exhibition of the North

Prince William at the Great Exhibition of the North Image copyright PA
Image caption The prince met local schoolchildren during a visit to the Ryder Architecture Cooper's Studios

Prince William has visited the Great Exhibition of the North, ahead of a ceremony on the banks of the River Tyne to mark the end of the 80-day festival.

The Duke of Cambridge began his tour at the Sage music centre in Gateshead, where he met schoolchildren and an over-50s singing group.

The event, centred on the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides, opened in June.

During his visit, the duke was given a Newcastle United Number shirt bearing the number 3 for his son Prince George.

Follow live coverage of the closing ceremony.

Organisers said more than a million people had visited Tyneside especially to see the festival.

The prince was welcomed by pupils from Riverside Primary Academy in Dunston, Gateshead, and a gospel choir.

He then listened to Quick Silver, a group of older singers who got together to help fight loneliness, perform Happy Together in the main auditorium.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Schoolchildren showed the prince their future transport designs
Image copyright PA
Image caption The prince was greeted by pupils from Riverside Primary Academy in Gateshead

He also met young people on the CoMusica programme - a scheme that helps people overcome challenges by getting them engaged in music and the arts.

Later, the prince was given a demonstration of how a 700mph futuristic hyperloop transport system could link Liverpool to Glasgow via Newcastle in just 47 minutes.

He was shown a prototype pod designed by Edinburgh University students which could one day be propelled using magnetic propulsion to zoom passengers through tubes.

Former Chancellor George Osborne came up with the idea for the exhibition as part of his Northern Powerhouse project.

Image caption William was presented with a Newcastle United shirt for his son Prince George
Image copyright PA
Image caption William was shown a prototype "hyperloop" transport system

More than 10,000 contributors have been involved in the festival of art, culture and technology, across 30 core venues and a further 83 locations across Newcastle and Gateshead.

Exhibition chair, Sir Gary Verity, said: "It has inspired future creators, inventors and innovators, who I believe, will continue to carry the North forward towards the brightest of futures."

To mark the closing weekend of the festival there will be a special performance called "Great North Star" later which will celebrate and honour the women of the North of England.

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