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Destination Africa was a programme of events put together by the Cultural Learning Services Team which were held in February and designed to celebrate some of the many cultural traditions of Africa.

The events in Ross-on-Wye included a textile workshop and t-shirt painting in Ross Heritage Centre and the Library,where children made their own wall-hanging and t-shirts with African inspired designs. The workshops were run by Kenyan artist, Gakonga, who made the sessions great fun. He also went to Ross Youth club to demonstrate some African dance with local young people.

The grand finale was a drumming workshop and performance at Ross Library on Saturday, 28th February. Aaron Meli from Slapping Skins worked in partnership with Brampton Abbotts School, where Year 5 and 6 pupils learnt lots during a one-day workshop at school, which led to a performance in Ross Library on Saturday afternoon.

Aaron Meli from Slapping Skins with drummers in African dress in Ross Library on Saturday.

Pupils from Brampton Abbotts Primary School drumming on Saturday.


The Ross Aztec Cub group, based at the Ross Scout & Guide HQ near Ross swimming pool, were the first group of youngsters to respond to an aluminium foil-gathering initiative in Ross. The group collected an impressive 2.1 kilograms of food cartons, pie casings and Indian takeaway dishes as well as many other types of foil packaging.

Martin Neicho, one of the managers at EnviroAbility said, 'The cubs were great fun, they were full of energy and are obviously keen recyclers. Showing such an interest in recycling and the environment at such an early age, they had a lot of questions for me. During the evening the cubs learned how recycling and renewal is part of the natural world and how many of the things we make should be no different. They learned that more than 75% of all the aluminium ever produced is still in use, and how recycling a tonne of aluminium (about the weight of 1 mini) saves 95% of the greenhouse gases emitted during mining it. Finally, we talked about how the aluminium we can all recycle can be drawn into thin wire, rolled into sheets to make airliners, or coils to make drinks cans, also foil and engine components and much more besides.'

Martin praised Ross as a recycling centre. He said, 'Ross people have been great supporters of all things recycling in the past which has helped us support disadvantaged people. Aluminium foil recycling is one of the range of new initiatives being rolled out by EnviroAbility that will help to find new recycling alternatives and new work opportunities for local disadvantaged people. We need your support for this to be a success so if you or your organization would like to join our foil collecting project, please contact Dennis Humble at EnviroAbility on 01989 763388. This support would be very much appreciated. We can collect larger amounts of foil from your premises, if you are local. Alternatively, smaller amounts can be dropped off at our Book Shop in Cantilupe Road or our premises at Units 9-10, Cropper Row, Haigh Industrial Estate, Alton Road, Ross-on-Wye.

EnviroAbility would like to take this opportunity to mention that you cannot put foil in the new green recycling bins issued across the county by the Council recently. This is because the foil wraps itself around other recyclables making it very difficult to separate items later on during the sorting process. EnviroAbility would also like to take this opportunity to thank Alupro for the loan of an aluminium foil compressing machine that has enabled this project to step up to a higher gear, processing ever greater volumes of foil. The primary aims and objectives of EnviroAbility are to provide and promote projects which benefit disadvantaged groups of people, the community and the environment.

The local Aztecs with their collection of silver.


Ross-on-Wye Police are appealing for information after two laptops and a golf club were stolen from an office of a property in Whitchurch. The offence happened between 1.30pm and 5.45pm on Sunday, 21st February, when thieves entered the office of a private residence in the village and removed the items whilst the occupier was elsewhere on the property. A grey-coloured Dell and a silver Sony Vaio computer were taken, together with a Calloway square-headed driver golf club.

Police are keen to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the village that afternoon or from anyone who may know the current whereabouts of the property. Detective Chief Inspector Sean Paley, Crime Manager for Herefordshire Division said, 'This is perhaps an opportune time to remind householders that, whilst burglaries are not commonplace in the county, they can and do occur.

Opportunist criminals are always on the lookout for a quick theft and, whilst it may be tempting not to lock the house when outside, you should always consider so doing if you cannot directly supervise unlocked doors and windows. Don't, for example, cut the trees at the bottom of the rear garden and leave the front windows open. Common sense should be your guide before a bad experience teaches you the hard way.'

Anyone with information should contact PC Ben Pearson in the Burglary Investigation Unit at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111.

by Gill James

Ross Barn Dance Club is 20 years old and on Saturday, 20th February, fifty dancers celebrated the Club's anniversary with a dance at Bridstow Village Hall. Club callers, Ann Gay, Brian Edgson, Chris James and David Mills led dancers to the music of the Falconers Country Dance Band from Bromyard, and those attending soon warmed up on what was a very cold evening.

The club was formed by a chance discussion at a local pub during lunch after a New Year walk, when Barbara Wardle said she wished a caller could be found to start a local club. Chris James overheard and said, 'I can call' the rest is history. Of the six founder members, Barbara and David Wardle and Chris James still dance regularly; sadly Mansel David is no longer able to dance and was not well enough to attend the evening to watch. We wish him well. Jean James was able to attend and dance.

The club first met at St. Mary's Church Hall in Ross, then moved to the Larruperz Centre, then Brampton Abbots School before settling in Bridstow. We meet every Friday from 8pm until 10pm, with a 6 week break in the summer time. We welcome newcomers and are always happy to see visitors, having one couple who regularly join us from Kent. Indeed, regular members of the club come from the Forest of Dean, South Wales and Worcestershire as well as Herefordshire. You do not need a partner as we all mix so that no-one is left out. We also walk through every dance as well as calling it as it is danced. Do come along and join in.

As well as our own club callers, we have guest callers and other groups who play for us. When we do not have 'live' music we dance to CDs and a vote of thanks goes to our callers and to Dave Mills who transports our equipment and sets it up each time. They all make our club such a success. During the interval a celebratory cake was shared by all, and the remainder eaten by the dancers at the next club night!

The photograph of the founders also includes Peggy Babbs, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday and has danced with the club from its early days.


Residents of Herefordshire are responding in their thousands to one of the most important consultations ever to be undertaken in the county. But the deadline for completed questionnaires for the Shaping Our Place consultation is looming fast. It ends on Friday, 12th March but the level of participation so far in Herefordshire has already eclipsed that of similar strategic planning consultations in other parts of the country.

Shaping Our Place aims to help turn Herefordshire into a new land of opportunity, with more and better paid jobs, more decent and affordable homes, and better transport links. It was launched by Herefordshire Council on 18th January and since then, scores of public meetings, events and workshops have taken place in the city, the market towns, parishes, schools and businesses across the county. The consultation sets out options for the locations of new communities in the city and the county's towns and villages, as well as where new employment land could go and how transport might be improved, including whether the Hereford relief road should go to the east or west of the city.

Residents can still pick up a consultation and questionnaire from their local council info centre or can log onto the council's website and complete a questionnaire online. Or, if they do not have time to complete the full questionnaire they can fill in a simplified version, with a freepost address, in the Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire publication, Herefordshire Matters, which is distributed to every household in the county. Herefordshire's press and radio have given the consultation unprecedented coverage, which is ensuring it is the most successful consultation every undertaken by the council.

Councillor John Jarvis, cabinet member for environment and strategic housing said, 'Every individual who lives or works in the county will be affected by what will become the planning blueprint for Herefordshire over the next 15 years, and every hamlet, village, town and the city has an issue they want to influence, whether it is about jobs, employment land, affordable homes, transport or local services. Thankfully, people are getting involved but if you haven't yet completed a questionnaire I would ask you please to do so now by looking on the council's website, popping into a council info shop, or looking out for the simple questionnaires in the local press or Herefordshire Matters.'

The consultation is driven by the need to grow the county. Herefordshire has below average wage levels for the region but above average house prices. There are 5,000 people on the county's housing waiting list and demand is high for homes that are decent and affordable. Herefordshire is recognized as providing a good education. But without a university, or sufficient higher education to build skills and qualifications, or good career prospects, the council knows young people are more likely to find better prospects elsewhere. The county also needs more enterprises, offering high quality jobs. More space for employment land has to be found. Growth in the county will provide stronger markets for local firms to thrive and prosper - and safeguard local essential public services.

Sorting out Hereford's traffic problems is a major priority. Previous consultation shows that most local people feel that a blend of public transport improvements and a new relief road and second river crossing is the preferred solution. However, the route, either to the west or the east of the city, needs careful consideration and the consultation details the implications of either option. Leominster is also identified as requiring a southern relief road.

The strategy for the market towns is to further promote their roles as service and economic centres for their rural hinterlands but also improve links with Hereford. Several villages could see development designed to increase affordable housing and sustain essential services, including schools, and new shops, along with rural transport improvements.

People's views will be analysed and proposed policies developed and presented back to cabinet later in 2010 and publicized, before being submitted to the Secretary of State, who will arrange for a public examination and inspector's report with final adoption anticipated in 2011. In parallel, the council is also running a consultation on the Local Transport Plan, which will be adopted by April 2011 and will drive the county's transport strategy for the next 15 years. The review of the transport strategy is intended to align transport policy with the wider needs of the county and will help co-ordinate support for growth. The Local Transport Plan consultation enables local people to let the council know what their priorities for transport are for the county, whether it is greater public transport investment, more cycle routes, better highway maintenance or further road safety improvements.


A successful bid was put in by Herefordshire Council for more than 2 million to invest in centres to support young people in their own schools and, where necessary, help them get back on track. The grant is being used to fund centres within all fourteen of the county's maintained secondary schools.

Occasionally, a young person may need extra time, effort and emotional support during a crucial time in their life. Schools want to help their pupils through such times, particularly when changes in behaviour may interrupt learning. The new centres are designed to provide targeted support and help these relatively small numbers of young people get back on track so that they can continue their education.

Unique to each school, the centres will consist of learning spaces, meeting rooms and reception areas located in the heart of the school where possible. The overriding premise will be that providing support early on will meet young people's needs within their own school in a targeted way. A mixture of refurbishment projects and extensions will help the cash spread across all 14 secondary schools. The council began working with schools in June, to explore the type of help and support for students that schools have identified and the building or refurbishment work needed to make this happen. Herefordshire Council has appointed contractors to undertake this work over the next few months.

'We need to make sure all our young people get the best possible start in life and this includes providing support during times when it is most needed,' said Councillor Phillip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and achievement. He continued, 'Once a young person starts missing out on learning, they can get so far behind that it becomes incredibly difficult for them to catch up and they can become demotivated. The new centres will provide support to help young people through difficult times so that they can re-enter mainstream education when they are emotionally and educationally ready to do so.'

So far centres have been completed at John Masefield High School and John Kyrle High School and the results are already proving successful. Andy Evans, head teacher of John Masefield High School said, 'As a result of the programme more than 60 students have been supported and over 60 percent of the young people in the school with the most challenging behaviour have made marked improvements this year. Fixed term exclusions at John Masefield are very low for a medium size comprehensive and have fallen again this year.'

All fourteen centres are scheduled to be completed by 2011.


Internet users will soon be able to explore the heritage of the village of Kempley in the Forest of Dean, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The award of 30,700 was announced on Saturday, 27th February at The Friends of Kempley Churches' AGM. The funding will allow the Friends to create an innovative website featuring interactive maps, both archival and newly created, through which users can explore a virtual model of the 20th century village and navigate backwards and forwards in time.

The central theme of the project is the written and spoken heritage of the two landmark churches within the parish. The 12th Century Church of St Mary's, an English Heritage site managed in partnership with The Friends, contains nationally important and unique medieval frescoes and wall paintings. It also has many interesting and unusual architectural features, some of which are hidden from view in the roof space and will be revealed by this project. The second church, St Edward's (1903) was commissioned by Earl Beauchamp and is of importance as a 'mini-cathedral' of the Arts and Crafts movement.

This community led project is supported by several regional heritage agencies, as well as Gloucestershire Archives and local MP Mark Harper. English Heritage's Interpretation Officer, Dr Sarah Tatham said, 'We feel that this project will produce a co-ordinated body of work that will be of great interest both within the Kempley community and beyond. A church without a community context is culturally meaningless so we welcome the opportunity to contribute both staff resources and funding.'

Project manager, Mr. Chris Bligh said, 'By navigating backwards and forwards in time on the website and exploring its many features, people will be able to gain information on a specific enquiry, or explore the wider background or historical context by clicking on one of our team's commentaries. The experience will be just like browsing a map, so while looking for features of initial interest, I'm sure people will end up linking to other parts of the website. The longer-term objective is to motivate web-users to visit our area, so that they arrive with an informed appreciation of the village, its environment and its heritage.'

The project is being supported by Gloucestershire Archives, who are providing specialist advice. Collections Team Leader at the Archives, Julie Courtenay said, 'It's great that Kempley's history is coming alive in this way. We are looking forward to working with the volunteers and also helping them to preserve any unique records about Kempley that the project creates.'

Commenting on the award, HLF's Head of Region for the South West, Nerys Watts said, 'The heritage of the parish of Kempley is nationally important and this project clearly comes from an active community with a keen interest in exploring their history and making it available to as wide an audience as possible. We are delighted to be able to support their work, which will use 21st century technology to make the past accessible to everyone.'

The wild Daffodils in St Mary's, Kempley and in Dymock Wood, filmed last March during Kempley Daffodil Weekend.


Herefordshire Council is not cutting, or planning to cut, services by 25 per cent as reported by BBC Herefordshire and Worcestershire on Monday, 1st March. The council's finance department was asked, as part of a national survey by the BBC, what it expected to be the overall reduction in spending in public services in real terms, over the next five years, as a result of government budgetary plans.

The council was also asked what it thought were the most vulnerable areas to a squeeze on public spending. This does not mean the council has discussed or agreed cuts of this nature. Although the council is, like every other local authority, facing severe financial pressures, it is placing an emphasis on sharing corporate functions with the Primary Care Trust and the county hospital in order to make central efficiencies in order to stave off cuts to essential public services.


Children in some of Herefordshire's primary schools have been enjoying a theatrical performance which promotes the uptake of school meals, healthy packed lunch boxes and a balanced diet.

School halls across the county rocked this month as Charlie and the Kitchen Cook performed by Pawprint Theatrical Productions sang and danced their way through a great interactive show which had the children shouting, laughing and joining in actions in true pantomime style. Herefordshire Council's healthy schools team arranged for the 30 minute show to be performed in ten local primary schools.

The show is about Cook Crumble who needs to recruit some new assistants (the school children). Charlie is keen to work for Cook Crumble but needs to be trained first, alongside the other new assistants so that together they understand some of the rules involved in providing school meals. The key messages are about eating well, having a balanced diet, eating five portions of fruit or vegetables a day as a minim and reducing consumption of unhealthy foods like crisps and chocolate.

Kim Goddard, Herefordshire healthy schools manager said, 'We want our children to enjoy good health and benefit from well balanced diets. What they eat at school plays a major part in their health and well being. Nearly all Herefordshire's schools have healthy school status now and have access to healthy, freshly prepared school meals. School meals are a good way for children to receive the nutrition they need.

Charlie and the Kitchen Cook tour has been incredibly well received by the children who have enjoyed the performances and taken home lessons about eating healthy food to help them grow.'

Children from St Martin's Primary School, Hereford pictured from left to right: Alistaire Hill, Cory Tyler, Lewis Jenkins, Billie-Jo Harrison-Binley, Megan Cadwallader.


Police are appealing for information after a large plasma TV and other electrical items were stolen during a burglary in the South Wye area of Hereford.

The burglary occurred between 10am on Saturday, 27th February and 9.30am on Monday, 1st March at a semi-detached property in the Hinton area, whilst the occupants were away. Thieves removed a 3' x 1' rear window in order to climb into the property and stole a Samsung, 50" plasma colour TV, a remote control for a Samsung DVD player, a Playstation 3 and leads, along with a Matsui 22" flat screen TV/DVD combi and remote, all of which was removed through the rear window.

DC Laurence James from the Burglary Investigation Unit at Hereford Police Station, who is investigating the crime said 'The plasma TV that was stolen was very large, a 50" screen. It is not the sort of thing you could easily slip under your jacket as you walk away. I'm sure that someone must have seen the burglars walking away with all these electrical items from the property or someone will know where the stolen goods currently are. I would urge those people to contact me as soon as possible, using the anonymous Crimestoppers line if they prefer.'

Anybody with information can contact DC James on 0300 333 3000. The Crimestoppers line can be contacted in absolute confidence on 0800 555111.


Jesse norman and Nick Hurd, MP in front of All Saints.

Local campaigner and Conservative candidate Jesse Norman welcomed one of the pioneers of 'People Power', Nick Hurd, MP to Hereford last week. Mr. Hurd, who created the pioneering Sustainable Communities Act, spoke at a coffee morning organized by Jesse at All Saints Church in Hereford.

The Sustainable Communities Act gives local communities the chance for the first time to get their own ideas for change put into practice. These ideas can include protection of villages, pubs and post offices, the promotion of local food, support for local businesses through variable rate relief, and the protection of green spaces, among other things. The Act also requires Whitehall to make clear how much public money is being spent overall by central government in each local authority area, highlighting local and regional funding inequalities.

At the event, Nick said that the Act had already thrown up dozens of great new ideas. The next stage, which he was already working on, would be to push more power down to local community organizations. As Shadow Minister for Charities, Social Enterprise and Volunteering, he was determined to make sure third sector organizations. were able to benefit from this new legislation.

Commenting afterwards, Jesse said, 'One of my goals has been to get as many senior politicians to Herefordshire as possible, so it is great to have Nick in Hereford to talk about an Act of Parliament which could have huge effects in this county.

We very badly need to get less top-down interference and fairer funding from Whitehall. Nick has led the way in showing how we can achieve this.'


Smokers across Herefordshire are taking the opportunity of No Smoking Day, Wednesday, 10th March, to quit smoking. NHS Herefordshire's Stop Smoking Service is preparing to help smokers through their new 'Stub Buddies' scheme, as they join millions of UK smokers who chose No Smoking Day to quit. This year's theme for No Smoking Day is 'Break free, we can help' and the national initiative falls in the middle of NHS Herefordshire's 'Stub Buddies' campaign.

The local campaign provides quitters with a 'buddy' who can provide practical help and support, along with tips, tricks and encouragement to ensure they quit smoking for good. This builds on research which shows that scare tactics do not work as well as support and reward, and that having a buddy to give up with means you are twice as likely to stay quit. Smokers who set a 'quit date' with Herefordshire Stub Buddies by 31st March 2010 and manage to stay off cigarettes will qualify for a 15 feel-good reward such as a food hamper, a spa treatment or an activity voucher. PLUS they will be entered into an exciting prize draw!

Sarah Aitken, Herefordshire's assistant director for public health said, 'More than one in every five of adults in Herefordshire smoke, and research has shown that over two thirds of them would like to stop. No Smoking Day and Stub Buddies provide an excellent opportunity for them to do that.'

To find out more about national No Smoking Day or Herefordshire 'Stub Buddies', pop along to High Town in Hereford from 9am to 3pm on Wednesday, 10th March. Smokers can come along to have their carbon monoxide levels monitored and receive free information on how we can help them stop smoking. Alternatively, log onto

Dan Tickle, chief executive of the charity No Smoking Day, which organizes the annual campaign said, 'Good luck to all the smokers in Herefordshire who are breaking free on March 10th. Remember you're not alone. Take advantage of the support available; you'll get friendly and expert advice to help you to stop smoking for good.'


Spring is the ideal time of year for people to have a good old clear out and maybe even decorate their homes and Herefordshire Council is encouraging people to see if any of their unwanted items can be reused, rather than thrown away.

Many people discover unwanted items when spring cleaning which are too good to throw away and they need somewhere to take them. People may also be replacing furniture, but their existing furniture could still be useful to other people. All across Herefordshire there are many voluntary or community organizations that will gladly take unwanted items, still in good condition, such as furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles and paint. They are then made available to other people in the area.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing said, 'The reuse and voluntary sector is a vital means by which unwanted items don't end up in landfill. Around the county many such organizations exist to help and even collect those unwanted household items that people simply have no need for anymore. Most are perfectly good and suitable for re-homing. The Reuse guide lists all the organizations and the items that they accept, and is a great guide for finding out where to donate your unwanted possessions. Reusing valuable resources in this way can help reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and help support good causes.'

A leaflet containing details of the county's local reuse organizations is available from Info in Herefordshire centres throughout the county. Alternatively, residents can try offering their unwanted items on the internet by using the Freecycle website and a local Freecycle group can be found at

People interested in finding out more about reuse initiatives should call 01905 766883 or visit


Stuart Davies of Amey shows Councillor Wilcox the completed works.

Herefordshire Council, through its contractors Amey, has now completed major resurfacing works on Bewell Street in Hereford's city centre.

Shoppers in Hereford will now be enjoying a new look street which has been repaved as part of a scheme aimed at revitalizing the city centre as well as dealing with poor drainage that caused large puddles to form on the street's surface.

Works comprised excavating existing carriageway and footway areas, installing new drainage, relaying improved block paving sets and putting in improved signing in place of existing road markings, and were completed before major refurbishment works started on Widemarsh Street.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'Shoppers will notice a significant improvement in surface levels outside shops in Bewell Street and the major problem of puddles gathering on the paving has also disappeared. I would like to thank everyone for bearing with us during these works which complement the works already being carried out in Widemarsh Street.

I would also urge shoppers to keep using their favourite retailers in the city centre and benefit from the council's major investment in improving the experience for all visitors to the city. Access to the shops will be kept open at all times and high quality materials will be used in Widemarsh Street to befit its role as the major entrance to new Edgar Street Grid retail quarter and these works will be complete before the busy Christmas shopping period starts.

I would like to thank the workers who have completed this scheme to a high standard, especially as they were working during some of the worst winter weather we have had for many years. They also maintained good relationships with the shops in Bewell Street and traders are delighted now the works are completed.'


As the nation gets dancing with the Change4Life Let's Dance campaign, NHS Herefordshire and Halo Leisure are teaming up to get local families strutting their stuff on the dance floor by offering free dance mat taster sessions. Halo Leisure has purchased two sets of eight, state of the art dance mats to help Herefordshire's families get active.

Using games console technology, the mats are used in small classes with an instructor on hand to help participants learn a range of steps. Each class member has their own mat to dance on with the dance image being projected onto the wall at the front of the class. The class can choose which tracks they want to dance to, which vary from 1970s glam rock to hip hop, dance and R&B. Once the tracks are chosen, the dancing begins! You follow the moves on the screen and your efforts are recorded and scored for accuracy, effort and skill, so there's a competitive element too.

Dance mat sessions have been introduced into Halo's group exercise programme at Hereford Leisure Pool and Leominster Leisure Centre. Although these are targeted at young people aged 6 to 16 years, Halo is working in partnership with NHS Herefordshire to provide some free sessions as part of the local Change4Life programme that people of any age can participate in. The free sessions, which take place on Saturday, 6th March, are open to all people regardless of age, ability and style.

Four sessions will be run from Hereford Leisure Pool and run from 10am until 10.45am, 11am until 11.45am, 1pm until 1.45pm and 2pm until 2.45pm. Booking is advisable for the Hereford sessions by ringing 0845 241 2562.

Leominster Leisure Centre are inviting people to come and have a go any time between 11.45am and 3.45pm.

'Dance is great for all ages and abilities and it doesn't really matter if you don't have a musical bone in your body - you'll still be having fun whilst getting involved in healthy activity,' said Tamara Bailey, health and fitness manager at Halo Leisure. 'All people need to bring with them is a willingness to have a go, and some comfy shoes.'


Work on establishing a signalised pedestrian crossing in Ledbury Road, Hereford is to begin on Wednesday, 3rd March and is expected to be comleted by 13th April. The requirement for the crossing was part of planning conditions for the independent living Rose Garden development on Ledbury Road and the developer will fund the works.

Consultations have been held with residents at the Rose Garden and adjoining properties and their views have been taken on board in deciding the position of the crossing which will be sited between the Express petrol station and the entrance to Highgrove Bank to best meet the needs of pedestrians.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'When planning permission was agreed for the Rose Garden scheme, it was felt a pedestrian crossing was essential to allow residents to safely cross the busy A438. I am pleased work is now due to start on the crossing and I'm sure all residents in the area will benefit greatly.'

Mark Thomas, service director for Amey said, 'I would urge all motorists who use this road to bear with us while these essential works are carried out and can assure them that disruption will be kept to a minimum.'

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