THE Duke of Gloucester was welcomed back to Gorton Monastery last month  by the Lower Peover couple who helped save the building from ruin.

On April 24, The Duke was shown around the E.W. Pugin-designed architectural masterpiece by Paul and Elaine Griffiths from the Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust.

The Duke was the monastery’s first royal visitor in 2003 and saw the building in its derelict state before restoration work began.

Paul Griffiths, chairman of The Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust, said: “It was wonderful to be able to show The Duke what has been achieved over the last decade and introduce him to some of the professionals, architects and volunteers that made the project possible.”

Paul and wife Elaine, who is chief executive of the trust, showed The Duke plans for a new front wing and restoration of Pugin paint schemes in the Great Nave and the floor tiles of the chancel, if the Angels Appeal, which was launched last year, can reach its £1million target.

It is hoped that this money will unlock another major grant for £2million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and protect the buildings as a resource for future generations.

Elaine said: “As custodians of this unique and sacred space we still need to raise £1million to secure the future of this wonderful place for future generations.

“Having the Duke visit us can only help in achieving our ambition to complete this very special journey.”