PRINCESS Alexandra was in the region today to open a £35m cancer treatment centre.

The princess opened The James Cook University Hospital's new state-of-the-art radiotherapy centre.

The state-of-the-art Endeavour Unit is part of a £35m service expansion that places the Middlesbrough hospital among the best in Europe for cancer treatment.

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It houses three leading edge linear accelerators - machines used to give radiation treatment to patients, a CT scanner and a new outpatient suite.

James Cook is one of the first hospitals in the world to treat patients with the £1.5m Elekta Agility linear accelerators.

Fiona Milnes, radiotherapy services team leader said: "These leading-edge machines enable us to give a high dose of radiotherapy to a smaller area and they are extremely accurate which helps reduce side effects.

"Demand for cancer services is increasing all the time and this expansion gives our patients access to the very latest technology in a purpose-built unit which will really put James Cook on the map."

Before her trip to Middlesbrough, the Queen's cousin was in Yarm to open Yarm Schools new performing arts centre.

The new centre is part of the £20m redevelopment of Yarm School’s sites. The arts centre includes an 800 seat auditorium, separate galleried theatre, atrium, terrace, dance studio and music performance suite.