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Royal visit to the International Centre for Life to mark landmark anniversary

The International Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne was honoured by a visit from His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent on 5 March to mark the organisation’s 20th anniversary.

Life was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen in May 2000.

The Duke of Kent’s visit also marks the launch of British Science Week at Life, which will run from 6-13 March, with 38 schools expected to take part in workshops and thousands of visitors exploring science in its educational attraction Life Science Centre.

Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of Life, said: “I’m proud of what we have achieved as an organisation over the past two decades. Life has enriched the lives of millions of people in the North East: we’ve raised children’s aspirations to pursue a career in science and technology; helped the public to make sense of our ever more technologically-driven world; supported on-site groundbreaking research in regenerative medicine by Newcastle University researchers; and provided a home for two NHS clinics for the treatment of fertility and genetic diseases.

“The visit today by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent is recognition of the life-changing and life-affirming work done by everyone across the organisation.”

The Duke of Kent was greeted at Life by Alastair Balls, Chairman of Life’s Board of Trustees, and Linda Conlon and then presented to Professor Chris Day, the Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, and Professor Mary Herbert, Professor of Reproductive Biology at Newcastle University and Scientific Director of the NHS Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life.

His Royal Highness, who has a personal interest in science and innovation, then toured Life Science Centre, including its new exhibitions Space Zone and the Making Studios, and its dedicated education laboratories.

Chris Murtagh, a teacher at Brighton Avenue Primary School in Gateshead, whose Year 4 class was exploring Space Zone during The Duke’s visit, said: “Life Science Centre is a valued asset to local schools, providing workshops and experiences that are difficult to deliver in the classroom. We’re lucky to have such a rich and varied educational resource on our doorstep and it’s great to see Life being honoured with a Royal visit. It’s been a wonderful day for the pupils, too – they have been excited for weeks about meeting a prince!”

Life will be running a programme of special events to mark its 20th anniversary throughout the year. For more information, please visit

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