Chesterfield Canal Trust is hosting the IWA National Trailboat Festival at Staveley Town Basin on 28th and 29th May 2016 but will Staveley Town Lock be completed and operating in time for the Festival? The Chesterfield Canal Trust’s volunteer work party is striving valiantly to get everything completed, but bad weather and mechanical problems are making it really difficult. Work on the lock itself is almost complete. Only the coping stones and the lock gates need to be fitted. The gates have already been made by Hargreaves and are in their works in Halifax. The main problem is completing the 300 metres of canal below the lock, known as Hartington Harbour. This area has been, at best, ankle deep in mud and at worst totally flooded since November. The Trust’s ageing excavator, known as Denis, has developed frequent mechanical problems. JCB/TCHarrison has been magnificent in lending support to the Trust in helping to fix these breakdowns. Most of the visible work has been done by volunteers from the Trust, with occasional help from the volunteers from WRG. The bridge at the end of the lock, the bywash and the spill weir base were done by contractors.
Photo: Nearly completed Staveley Town Lock
It is hoped that all the work will be done before the Festival and that boats will be able to use the lock, turn in Hartington Harbour and come out again. The Festival will run from 10 am. to 5 pm on both days and will include boat rides, canoeing, children’s rides, plenty of entertainment, dozens of stalls plus food and drink including a real ale bar run by Brampton Brewery.
The Festival will need at least 100 volunteers for it to run smoothly. Volunteers should contact the organisers if they would like to help with car parking, stewarding, gate duty, looking after the trailboaters, helping to set up on 26th and/or 27th or helping to pack up on 30th. The Trust is also looking for people to put up posters in local shops and noticeboards in their locality, again contact the organisers stating location.
Photo: Site for 2016 Trailboat Festival
The Chesterfield Canal Trust are also working to save the Tapton Lock Visitor Centre which is under threat of closure. It is run by the Derbyshire County Council Countryside Service and plays a massive part in attracting visitors to the Chesterfield Canal, and especially to the John Varley tripboat. If the centre were it to shut, it would be a huge blow to the Chesterfield Canal Trust project. Derbyshire County Council is carrying out a consultation exercise until 6th May. Please visit the Derbyshire County Council website to give your opinion online and give support. Also tell others so they can add their comments to this survey.
Photo: Under threat - Tapton Lock Visitor Centre
Talking about the John Varley, this tripboat will soon be for sale. It is being replaced by a new boat, which is currently being fitted out by Tristar Boats having been constructed by Soar Valley Steel Boats. John Varley went into service in 1992 and has undergone several transformations since then, including a 6’ stretch in 2006 and rebottoming in 2012. It has a wheelchair lift and a hydraulic drive, and seats 12 passengers. Both old and new will be in action at the IWA National Trailboat Festival. Anyone interested in the purchase should contact the Trust on 01246 477569 or email the Trust. The Trust estimates that it is worth about £8000.
Sponsored by Jan Knox, proprietor of Canal Experience Training School, the Idle Women Shield will be awarded for the first time this year to the best woman entrant in the Boat Handling Competition at IWA's Canalway Cavalcade festival at Little Venice during the early May bank holiday weekend.
"Idle Women," who were anything but idle, was the name given by the boatmen to the women who worked the pairs of narrowboats during wartime, when the men were away on active service. The name was derived from the initials IW, standing for Inland Waterways, which was on the badge the women boaters wore to identify them.
Jan Knox has been steering boats on the canal for 36 years. She can be found working on Jason's Trips and has extensive knowledge of boat handling in Brownings Pool where Cavalcade water-borne activities take place. She has also worked pairs of coalboats through several seasons and lives and works on the canal. She is looking forward to becoming a judge in the boat handling competition.
Photo: Boat handling at Canalway Cavalcade
With nearly 130 boats booked in for Canalway Cavalcade and around 80 exhibitors from jewellery, clothes and fudge the event promises to be colourful, interesting and fun. Nobody will have to go hungry or thirsty at this festival with a wide range of food and drink from German sausages, Greek skewers, Cuban street food, fish & chips, crepes, fruit ice cream, gourmet French food and real ales. The opening ceremony on the Horse Bridge starts at 2pm on Saturday followed by the parade of decorated boats through Browning's Pool at 2.30pm. During the weekend the pool will be bustling with activity with boat handling competitions, live music, a procession of illuminated boats on Sunday evening and a cavalcade of historic and working boats on Monday afternoon. Pirate hat and ship making will be taking place on Pirate Prince with Punch & Judy and a teddy bears' picnic in Rembrandt Gardens for younger visitors.
During the three-week run up to Easter, IWA's Essex Waterways undertook replacement of the top gates at Paper Mill Lock (with support from Hargreaves of Halifax, the gate manufacturers), replaced the lock cills to both upper and lower gates, replaced wooden flooring at the tail of the lock, refurbished the lower gates and completed a variety of other minor repair works to the Lock. The work was completed in time for the Lock to be opened by close of work on Maundy Thursday. Paper Mill Lock is one of the busiest on the Navigation and the adjacent tea-room is within only a few feet of the lock chamber. With overhead power lines across the lower gates, this made a complicated and sensitive set of works. However, with careful planning, a well-motivated workforce of employees and volunteers, and use of Essex Waterways’ newly refurbished dredger to provide lifting power, all the works were safely achieved on budget and on time, and the tea room remained open without any loss of trade. If only we’d been able to organise sunny Easter weather for visitors to enjoy the result…
A recent feasibility study has been investigating the possibility of restoring the nine lock flight on the Bradley Arm Canal, a disused stretch of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. IWA was pleased to be able to contribute financial support of £5000 as well as providing expertise through local branch members . This has led to a partnership between IWA, CRT, Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust and Birmingham Canal Navigations Society and the calling of a meeting on 23rd March at which local people and others interested in the proposals to restore the Bradley locks link canal were invited. About 80 people attended, including representatives from the four feasibility study funders, three Councillors, and local people either interested or concerned about the proposals.
Questions and discussions covered subjects such as flooding from run-off from the canal bank, the height of Bradley Lane crossing, impact on a community, anti-social behaviour, a rubbish site by the canal and possible pollution of a stream
The significance of John Wilkinson (1728-1808), who founded the Bradley Iron works and was one of the users of the canal, was mentioned. The site of the original foundry was now the site of the school where the meeting took place. Wilkinson's development of iron founding lead to the much improved cannons, machines and steam engines which powered the industrial revolution, contributing to Abraham Derby's works at Ironbridge as well as investing in various canals, stressing the heritage aspect of this route.
A representative from the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust then spoke of his understanding of the local flora and fauna - which could be greatly enhanced by the restoration - as it would provide a green corridor throughout the length affected, joining up the woodland at the bottom with the waste land at the top - for which other and compatible uses could be found to complete the project.
This meeting was only the first stage of this project to gauge local interest in reconnecting the Bradley Arm to the Walsall Canal.
Photo: End of the Bradley Arm
There have been reports of extraordinary amounts of tyres and trolleys being pulled out of the Walsall Canal this winter by small work parties from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society so the big annual Clean Up of the BCN should be an interesting one. This event is organised by the BCN Society, Coombeswood Canal Trust, Dudley Canal Trust, IWA Birmingham Black Country & Worcestershire Branch and Waterway Recovery Group, working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust. Tea and coffee will be provided but volunteers are advised to bring packed lunch if not booked in with WRG. This year will see a return to an area not visited for many years, based at Ocker Hill on the Walsall Canal. The teams of volunteers will clean the lower Walsall, Tame Valley Canals and Ryders Green Locks. Day Volunteers can sign on at Ocker Hill Depot from 10am, or at the Malthouse Stables in Tipton at 9am, they will then be transported to Ocker Hill. Safety foot wear should be worn as well as water proof clothing. Bring lunch if not wishing to purchase the lunch provided by Waterway Recovery Group. Further details from Chris Morgan.
Wish him luck! David Edwards-May is in the final stages of training for the 2016 #LondonMarathon. David has battled a recurring hamstring injury, but is ready to run and hoping to raise a fantastic £5,000 for IWA. You can sponsor David through his Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. If you donate before 15th April using a MasterCard, IWA will be entered into a prize draw to win £25,000! With 10 days to go before the big day, David has attracted the generosity of 48 donors - can IWA members double that?
Photo: David Edwards-May - the one not in a kilt.
Fulney Lock, Spalding on the River Welland Navigation has recently been re-opened to navigation following a long period of closure due to inadequate maintenance. The re-opening resulted from continuing IWA pressure on EA to rectify the situation. IWA campaign cruises to Spalding in 2012 and 2015 had to be cancelled as the lock had become full of silt and the gates could not be opened. To maintain navigation through the lock the silt that can accumulate in the lock needs flushing out on a regular basis. EA appear not to have the resources to do this regular flushing and have asked IWA to organise a volunteer team to undertake this work.
Following a meeting of a new IWA South Lincolnshire group in March 2016 there are already a number of local volunteers who are ready to take on this work but more volunteers are needed to form an effective group. The work is likely to require a small number of hours on a regular monthly basis when tides and flows are suitable. EA will train and brief volunteers to carry out the silt flushing by a safe and effective procedure. Training and briefing will take place once we have sufficient volunteers to form teams of two to carry out the work.
If this new volunteering opportunity interests you please contact David Pullen, IWA East Midlands Region Chairman for further information.
Photo: Fulney Lock - in need of flushing
A reminder that IWA, St Pancras Cruising Club, London Legacy Development Corporation and Canal & River Trust, are planning a cruise around the Olympic Waterways on the 9th July 2016. See previous Bulletin for details. Please register an expression of interest by email.
IWA’s Finance Committee is looking to recruit one or two further new members over the coming year and would welcome expressions of interest from IWA members who would be interested in serving on the committee. Ideally candidates should have a corporate governance background (ideally in a management role in a medium or large commercial company or other substantial charity) and the time to contribute to oversight and strategy development for the Association’s finances. The committee meets six times per year, usually on Saturdays in the Warwickshire area. If you might be interested, please contact Gordon Harrower (committee chairman) or find out more about Finance Committee.
IWA is creating some exciting plans for growth so its Marketing Committee is looking to strengthen its team with the recruitment of one or two new members and would welcome expressions of interest from IWA members to serve on the committee. Candidates should have good marketing skills and either a commercial or membership background as well as the time to contribute towards marketing strategy and direction for the Association. The committee meets about six times per year, usually in the southern midlands. For further details, please contact Alicen Stenner at Head Office.
On Saturday 23rd April 2016 at Austin Court, Birmingham IWA and Canal & River Trust are running a series of workshops to provide support for waterway restoration projects. The theme of this years workshop is 'Why the blue and the green matter'.
The aim of the workshop is to ensure that local waterways societies and trusts have more support and information to assist in the development of their schemes. The day promises to be fun, varied and informative. It is an opportunity for those passionate about waterway restoration to come together and share and discuss ideas.
There are just a few spaces left so book your place now for the Restoration Workshop.
Led by an independent panel of experts from the voluntary, environmental, arts, heritage, engineering and architecture sectors, the Living Waterways Awards celebrate the fantastic work done by individuals, communities and organisations to improve their canals, rivers, lochs and lakes making them exciting places to live, learn and spend time. Not surprisingly, IWA features in the first stage of assessments for these prestigious awards: under Community and Volunteering IWA West Country Branch work party volunteers, IWA Northampton Branch Northampton Arm Adoption group, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch working parties and the Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch involvement in the 'Making Waves' programme are being considered and, in the Recreation and Tourism category, IWA's Festival of Water at Northampton 2015 and the Montgomery Canal's 'Making Waves' programme again are through the first round.
In conjunction with Three Locks at Soulbury, Milton Keynes Branch is planning a busy late May bank holiday weekend.
Rock the Locks Beer Festival is being organised by the Three Locks Pub and will include a beer tent with ales on offer. There will be live music with different acts each day and there is the benefit of IWA Member discount on food as usual. Contact Michael Schwartz for more information about Rock the Locks.
Further activity for boaters around the locks will be the very useful Lock Help run by by Milton Keynes Branch on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday - all subject to manpower, traffic and weather. Volunteers will assist boats through Three Locks in return for voluntary donations which are welcome from pub visitors and passers-by too!
All funds go to support three local restoration schemes supported by the Branch – Wendover Arm Trust, Buckingham Canal Society and Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Park. There will be activities for supervised children outside - weather permitting.
Photo: IWA volunteers locking through Three Locks at Soulbury
The Branch’s forthcoming Boat Gathering to be held at Braunston over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, from Friday 29th April to Monday 2nd May. The Branch is planning to give the event, which will be centered on the historic Nurser’s Dock at the marina, a fresh look this year. Nevertheless, all the traditional attractions will be there, including the ever-popular “open all hours” Real Ale bar. There will also be entertainment on the Friday evening (fun and games for all), Saturday evening (live music, sing-along and dancing) and Sunday evening (quiz night).
A fish/chicken and chips van will be in attendance early Sunday evening (please order in advance) to set us up for quiz time. There will be a prize for the best decorated supper table as well as the best decorated boat. Cat’s Café will be in full swing all weekend, homemade cakes a speciality with a new vintage theme.
Download a Northampton Branch Boat Gathering entry form or email Tony Clarke. Find out more about IWA's Northampton Branch Boat Gathering.
Photo: Boats gathered at Braunston
Photo: Bridge over Purser's Dock
Members of IWA West Country Branch, supported by one of IWA's Honorary Engineers, Roy Sutton, have recently attended a briefing meeting for stakeholders and have also updated local councillors on the possible options for the proposed tidal barrier on the River Parrett at Bridgwater. Due to flooding on the Somerset Levels, this project is now being considered a priority by the Local Authorities and Environment Agency so the Branch is campaigning to protect and enhance the existing Right of Navigation on the river. If the tidal barrier works facilitates the link from the River Parret to the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal being reopened it will transform the 14 mile isolated Bridgwater & Taunton Canal into a much longer waterway. Following the flooding in 2014, dredging started again on the River Parrett for the first time for some 25 to 30 years and further dredging is due to take place this year.
Photo: Barge Lock looking towards River Parrett
On Friday 8th April 2016 IWA Lichfield Branch members took Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling and Staffordshire County Councillor & Cabinet Member Mark Winnington on a narrowboat trip along the Trent & Mersey Canal from Armitage, through Brereton to the northern end of Rugeley near to Brindley Bank Aqueduct. The purpose of the trip was to introduce the politicians to some of the volunteers who have worked so hard to improve the canal environment through Rugeley, and to see and discuss future possibilities for improved access, ‘green’ corridors and the potential for tourism. Along the way there were several recent and current housing developments that benefit from an attractive canalside setting, where IWA has contributed to improving the original plans.
At a brief stop around Leathermill Lane, the damage to the bridge caused by misdirected lorries could be seen, and the difficulty faced by the disabled trying to access the towpath was also noted. At the former Rugeley town centre moorings just north of Leathermill Lane Bridge, many boats are now unable to moor there because of bank erosion. This has been a concern for some years as tourist income from hire boats is a good boost to local shops during the summer months. The average spend from each person on a hire boat is £10 per day. With some hire boats being shared by over 8 people that could be over £80 per day lost by each boat unable to moor in the town. The environmental impact of HS2 on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Fradley Junction was also discussed.
Anglo Welsh at Great Haywood kindly provided their day hire boat free of charge for the day.
Photo: Helen Whitehouse, IWA Lichfield Branch, welcoming Amanda Milling MP and County Councillor Mark Winnington on board Anglo Welsh's boat
IWA has been informed of the death on 23rd March of John Macartney-Filgate. John was the owner of Bancroft Cruisers in Stratford-upon- Avon. He worked with, and supported David Hutchings, a canal campaigner in the early days of restoration and then later helped with much practical work on the Upper Avon, particularly using his skill as a diver to work on locks and other structures. John was chairman of Upper Avon Navigation Trust for a number of years and chairman of Stratford & Warwick Waterways Trust up until the December 2015 AGM, and remained a director until his death.
Photo: John Macartney-Filgate
Mike Clarke, renowned canal historian, founder and president of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society, has been honoured during the canal’s bicentenary year with a lock being named after him near Gargrave in North Yorkshire. Bank Newton Lock no 38 is to be re-named the Mike Clarke Lock in tribute to his tremendous contribution to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal – a close association which spans nearly five decades.
Photo: l-r Linda Clarke, Mike Clarke at Mike Clarke Lock.
At the event on 9th April, Mike launched a new enlarged edition of his popular book ‘The Leeds & Liverpool Canal, a history’. Born in Liverpool, his love affair with England’s longest man-made waterway began in 1972 when he acquired a traditional Leeds & Liverpool boat and spent the next five years living aboard, restoring it to its original condition. Living and breathing canal life, he was also fascinated by the industries associated with the waterway. For many years, he was employed as a restoration engineer, eventually working at the Lancashire Textile Museums in Helmshore which provided a useful technical background for his extensive historical research. His first book on the canal's history was published in 1990.
After that, he launched himself as a freelance industrial historian and has never looked back. Over the years he has published a range of books and articles, made several TV appearances, including a programme for Bavarian television, spoken on canals at conferences across Europe and in China, travelled extensively in Eastern Europe. He serves on the committee of Inland Waterways International and from May this year will be president of the Railway & Canal Historical Society.
In 1997 Mike became the driving force behind the founding of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society, with the aim of encouraging better public knowledge and understanding of our waterway heritage. He now serves as its president, having seen the society grow into a flourishing group with more than 170 members.
Volunteers and contractors met a tight deadline to get an important new canal bridge opened to traffic. Vehicles began using Compasses Bridge, at one of the entrances to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex, on schedule on Thursday, March 31st. The bridge, at Alfold, is a strategic part of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s restoration policy in Surrey. It is replacing an ageing concrete causeway which blocks the waterway. The entrance road to Dunsfold Park was successfully realigned over the Easter weekend, completing phase one of the Trust’s Compasses programme.
Chartered civil engineer Tony Ford, a Trust director, is in charge of the project. “Our volunteers and visiting groups worked tirelessly to achieve the critical date for the road changeover,” he commented. “It needed to happen on time to mesh with the aerodrome’s busy events schedule.” Volunteers, among them specialists from WRG, worked with contractors CJ Thorne on the realignment and surfacing, moving the road off the 1930s causeway. Work on the project, which includes reopening nearly a mile of the canal’s summit level to navigation, began in earnest 15 months ago. Phase two – demolition of the causeway, re-creation of the canal cut and landscaping – is scheduled to start in mid-April. Volunteers are now cladding the bridge’s sides and walls in bricks and completing the paving on the bridge surface.
The Trust plans to officially open the new bridge and restored canal section on Sunday, October 2nd. It will be one of the locations for celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Wey & Arun Canal from Pallingham in West Sussex to Shalford in Surrey.
Photo: Compasses Bridge opening to traffic
Following the removal of 2000 cubic metres of soil (equivalent of 100 lorry loads) from Harborne Wharf, the Lapal Canal Trust was delighted to see the winter rain filling up the basin, attracting geese, ducks and canoeists although it might not last through the summer. Thanks to our first canoeist, a Lapal Canal Trust member who was willing to trial the facility. The soil was removed by Careys as a generous contribution to helping the community.
So at last, after 60 years, there is a boat in Harborne Wharf, albeit temporarily, with plenty of room for canal boats when the planned link to the Worcester & Birmingham canal is completed within the next two years. The link is not only needed for water but also to prevent flooding of nearby houses when heavy rain runs off the park into the canal.
Photo: Canoeist from Lapal Canal Trust demonstrating the potential of Harborne Wharf
The Lapal Canal Trust would also like to acknowledge the help received from Birmingham City Council Planning and Parks Departments, the local councillors and the very supportive planning committee members. The Trust also received help from CRT, IWA, local canal societies and the Headley Trust who provided a grant to help meet the cost of applying for planning permission, and contributing to the cost of the safety fence.
Visit the Lapal Canal Trust website for more information about the Lapal Canal Project or visit the Lapal Canal Trust Facebook page.
Britain's largest inland waterways festival, the Crick Boat Show, takes place from 28th to 30th May. There will be boat handling sessions, live music. historic and new boats on show, free canal trips, seminars, children's activities and tributes to canal pioneer James Brindley who was born 300 years ago. IWA will have a major presence at Crick and members will have free access to the VIP marquee. Go to the Crick Boat Show website to find out more and book advance tickets.
Hereford River Carnival is a day of fun for everyone, celebrating the River Wye and the life that it brings to the city of Hereford. It has been so successful since its return in 2014, after a 40 year absence, that the organisers expect there to be even more than the 7,000 people and over 70 local groups involved last year will take part in 2016.
The main Carnival with its street processions, amazing giant puppet creations, food, drink, music and rafts on the Wye will take place on Saturday 30th April 2016. Visit the Hereford River Carnival website for more details.
Major IWA events in 2016
30th April - 2nd May 2016 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
9th July - Cruise around Olympic Waterways - Email for details
Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.
20th April Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
27th April Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
3rd May Work Party - Liverpool (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
4th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
7th May Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
7th May Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
8th May Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
11th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
11th May Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
12th May Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
14th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
15th May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
17th May Work Party - Oxford Canal (Supported by IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
18th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
19th May Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
21st May Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
24th May Work Party - Oxford Canal (Supported by IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
24th May Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
24th May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
25th May Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
25th May Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
27th May Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
28th May Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
17th April Waterside Walk - Lapal Canal (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th April London Towpath Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
1st May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
10th May Walk - Calke Park & Ticknall Tramway (IWA Lichfield Branch)
15th May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
29th May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to the IWA Members discount page.
For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.
Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription
IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters
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