Coronavirus Information

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West Berkshire Council Report for Lambourn Parish

Parish Council Report for March 2020

Coronavirus Act 2020

After being sped through its Parliamentary stages, the Coronavirus Bill received Royal Assent on 25 March.

The Act has huge implications for such things as social care, and there are various sets of Regulations that have come forward affecting all various aspects of public health and local government.

Amongst the changes is s.78 of the Act and the snappily entitled Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panels) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 392), which came into force on 4 April.  As anticipated, s.78 and the Regulations allow local authority meetings to be held virtually (and the frequency of meetings to be altered, or meetings moved or cancelled, etc) – local authorities include parish councils.

The Regulations are at:,
and NALC has published guidance:

Council Response

Everything at WBC has changed, from the closure of offices with all non-key staff working from home, to the introduction of Gold and Silver Command daily meetings, to the creation of the Community Support Hub (CSH) and liaison with a host of community volunteer groups.

Stay at Home Message

WBC is consistently promoting the Government’s #StayHomeSaveLives message and have observed the guidance by closing all council offices to the public, with only a very few key workers attending at any one time.  As you might expect there has been a huge increase on the demand of our IT as hundreds of staff are working remotely but all our teams have staff coverage.

Advice Leaflet

An advice leaflet from WBC should by now have been delivered to every household in the district, providing residents with useful information about the local support available from WBC.

A PDF version of the leaflet has been made available on our Coronavirus Residents’ webpage (see below) and if anyone requires it in another format, language, etc please contact the Community Support Hub (also see below).

Communications with Towns and Parishes

So far as Parish Councils are concerned, WBC has focused on communicating via Chairmen and Clerks, using a single point of contact in the Building Communities Together team.  Communications have concentrated on ensuring that there is a two-way dialogue with the local volunteer groups so that we pick up any issues regarding support for the shielded vulnerable (building on the list supplied by the Government of those particularly at risk due to underlying health conditions) and those identifying themselves as vulnerable (more about this below).

Everyone reading this will be all too aware how quickly situations are changing, not just day to day, but almost hour by hour.  The Council’s aim is to keep you, and our communities generally, as informed as can be – so, in addition to traditional media, and emails etc, WBC is using social media increasingly for speed and coverage.

The response from Parish Councils and community groups who are stepping up to this unprecedented challenge has been phenomenal and we are all extremely grateful for their organising local volunteers so quickly.  West Berkshire Council is here to help support communities and individuals, particularly if groups become overwhelmed by demand or need guidance.

Other Communications Channels

There are also a number of Facebook pages which the Council uses, for example:

  • West Berkshire Council;
  • West Berkshire Community Support Hub Group;
  • West Berkshire Libraries.

The WBC website also contains more about the CSH and useful information for residents and businesses:



Community hub  

Linked to all of these initiatives is the WBC Customer Service telephone line: 01635 551111.

Business Support

The Government has announced a raft of support measures to assist businesses through this difficult time.  For some of our local businesses the pandemic has meant closure, we hope temporary, but for others this is showcasing the resilience of their business model.

The Council decided not collect the April business rates direct debit instalment to avoid unnecessary hardship and a reduction in cash flow for small businesses particularly.  It also provides time for business experiencing uncertainty opportunity to contact the Council and for the various business rate schemes to be applied to their accounts.

Information for businesses can be found on our website

Council Tax Holidays

For individuals in receipt of Council Tax Support, a grant of up to £150 has been applied to the resident’s account – they do not need to apply for this.

For those who have experienced a sudden drop in income as a result of the COVID-19 consequences on their employment income a Council Tax ‘holiday’ can be discussed by contacting our Local Taxation team.  More information can be found on our website:

Community Support Hub

As mentioned above, the Community Support Hub is up and running and is currently dealing with around 80 phone calls plus emails a day from community groups and individuals seeking support.

The CSH is there to get information quickly to the community groups and volunteers that are helping the most vulnerable members of our community, and to ensure that everyone who needs help gets it.

As also detailed above, one key element of CSH engaging with the community is the new Facebook page ‘West Berkshire Community Support Hub Group’, designed to get messages out to community groups and volunteers – please Like and Follow the page so that we get it as widely distributed as possible.

You can contact the Hub on 01635 503579 or email

Community Groups

The CSH has issued guidance (and will continue to do so) for community groups regarding communications, data management, GDPR, DBS checks, volunteers, etc.

Shielded residents

The NHS has written to individuals who are in this most vulnerable category of residents – shielding is a term used where one or more residents in a household are at very high risk should they contract COVID-19 such as those undergoing specific treatment for cancer, recovering from transplants, or having severe respiratory conditions etc – a consequence is that all members of the shielded resident’s household are in effect in social isolation (see /guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19).

Food distribution and shopping

The CSH is involved in ensuring that Government food parcels are delivered to shielded residents and that all vulnerable residents are being supported locally – community groups are doing a superb job at supporting these households with shopping, delivering prescriptions and emotional support.


We know some of our vulnerable residents are concerned about renewing and collecting prescriptions.  In your communities many of you have already found ways to address this.  The district’s pharmacies are also working collectively on this issue and are responding to the need to increase delivery of prescriptions.  Pharmacies are closing at lunch time to clean down premises and catch up on vital administration so please avoid making unnecessary trips over this period.

Community Cash Float

For groups who have registered with the Community Support Hub and who require a float to help manage cash flow while undertaking activities please contact the Hub on 01635 503579 to make an application.

Other issues arising from Covid-19

Rough Sleepers

All individuals known to the Council are being accommodated in hotels and being provided food and support from our housing team.  A number of residents in Two Saints have also been moved in to separate accommodation where they shared rooms with others to ensure social distancing can be observed.

Care Homes

We have closed all our care homes to visitors.  All our care homes currently have a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and more deliveries are due.  We are recruiting and this might be an employment option for members of your community who have lost their employment due to closure of businesses.

Waste Collection

Our colleagues at Veolia are continuing to collect household waste and recycling on the usual collection day.  To mitigate staff shortages, collection teams are starting at 06:00 so we are seeking to spread the message to residents to have their bins out earlier than normal.

We know that many people at home are using the opportunity to have a good spring clean, but our household waste recycling centres are closed and the waste teams do not have capacity to take away excess waste.  Whilst we are currently collecting garden waste, we may have to concentrate on black bin waste if we have staffing issues due to Coronavirus.

Car parks

All WBC open surface car parks have been made available free of charge.


In line with fully encouraging social distancing, a number of bus routes have been pared back or cancelled.  Any key workers who are affected are invited to contact the Community Support Hub where arrangements can be made to assist them getting to work.


Schools and Early Years providers closed on Friday 20 March, since when a great deal of work has taken place to ensure vulnerable children and those of key workers are cared for during this uncertain time.  Where possible, early years settings, including childminders, are open and caring for children.

Excellent collaboration is taking place between these settings and vulnerable families to ensure children are sensibly placed so that parents who need to travel to their place of work can do so more easily.  The Early Years team and Family Information Service are helping parents and carers source alternative childcare if their current provision has to close.

In many cases schools are collaborating together to share resources and to enable staff rotas that ensure teachers spend meaningful time away from school.  Where needed, School Hubs have been created to ensure that as many children are cared for as possible.  Hub centres are currently located at Thatcham Park School, Westwood Farm Schools, Basildon Primary School and Robert Sandilands Primary School.  Some schools are accommodating children from independent schools and other neighbouring authorities.  Headteachers and leaders are to be commended for embracing this new, challenging role.    The existing School Hub arrangements will continue during the Easter holidays.

Home to school transport

WBC has taken the decision to refund all those who have bought a farepayer seat on home to school transport for the two weeks from 23 March to 3 April.  To qualify for this refund parents and carers will need to complete the dedicated refund form available online: /article /36932.  The information needs to be completed correctly as the payment will be made by bank transfer.

A decision will be made regarding the last two terms of school (20 April to 22 May and 1 June to 17 July) once the Government has issued further guidance on school attendance for these periods.

Mental Health support for children – Emotional Health Academy

West Berkshire Council has set up a dedicated telephone helpline for young people experiencing issues and concerns relating to the pandemic – 01635 503587.

The helpline, which is linked to its Emotional Health Academy (EHA), will offer the district’s young people self-help support, advice and guidance from trained EHA workers.  It came into operation on 6 April, and will be open between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday, providing an opportunity for children and young people (aged 11 to 18) to express their concerns and talk about issues directly affecting them during the current Coronavirus crisis.  EHA workers will use active listening skills to support young people in dealing with difficult feelings around Covid-19 and provide signposting and self-help support for their general wellbeing.

This local helpline is a short-term service and will be available only during the pandemic, to provide ‘in the moment’ support to children and young people.  It will provide access to trained EHA workers who can offer advice and self-help tools and provide support to manage ‘low level’ problems.  It is not a crisis line and does not replace other services such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).


The Public Protection Partnership (PPP) has seen a surge in scams during the pandemic.

The public should be aware that scams are looking more sophisticated, such as door-to-door officials, calls, texts and emails which look like they are from a trusted source but are in fact fake.

The PPP team has received a huge variety of complaints from everyday goods being sold at extortionate prices and premises continuing to trade when they shouldn’t be, to shopping and medication collection services demanding money up front, with no service delivered.

The PPP wants to highlight some examples, amongst numerous others, that are in circulation at the moment:

  • miracle cures and vaccines – there are none;
  • fake and dangerous Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Coronavirus testing kits;
  • home cleaning and health and safety checks.

The PPP’s main objective is to protect and support residents and legitimate business through the successful use of information and intelligence, delivering safe and healthy neighbourhood.  They have the following advice for the public:

  • Never feel pressured into making any decision or contract.
  • Only buy goods from trusted retailers.
  • Do not pay any money up front and be very suspicious of anyone demanding money up front.
  • Never give out any financial information.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has also warned the public not to open their doors to bogus healthcare workers claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for the Coronavirus.

The nature of scams change on a regular basis and PPP will continue to monitor them and warn the public – please report any issues relating to Coronavirus at:

Police and Crime Commissioner

As a consequence of the Coronavirus Act the PCC elections, which were due to take place in May, have been postponed.  Consequently the current Police and Crime Commissioner, Anthony Stansfeld, will continue in post assisted by his deputy Matthew Barber.

In order to further support the workforce during this unprecedented period, Thames Valley Police is keen to hear from officers and staff who have left / retired from the organisation in the past two years and would be willing to re-join on a temporary basis with an expedited return.  Specifically, any former officers, PCSOs, Contact Management Centre Officers/Control Room Operators, Detention Officers or Police Staff Investigators are encouraged to get in touch by emailing Covid19resiliencebank@

Other WBC Matters

Willows Edge Care Home rated Good by CQC

Prior to the present difficulties, WBC’s Willows Edge Care Home in Newbury (which provides personal care to up to 39 residents aged 65 and over) was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on 27 February and in the report, published on 24 March, it was rated as Good in all five domains and judged to be – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

West Berkshire Youth Offending Team rated Outstanding by HMI Probation

The WBC Youth Offending Team (YOT) recently took part in a pilot inspection and have been rated ‘Outstanding’ (with only one other YOT in the country being scored higher).  The rating was given by HMI Probation who gave the West Berkshire YOT a score of 34 out of a possible 36.

A4 Improvements

WBC has been awarded £4.5m by HMG Central to improve worn out sections of road on the A4 between Newbury and Reading – the funding will allow improvements to be made to a road used by 33,000 vehicles every day as residents travel between the east and west of the District.  Over the next year almost 16km of road will be resurfaced at a cost of around £6.1m, with the Department for Transport paying for around three-quarters of the project and WBC paying the rest.

AWE Aldermaston and Burghfield Detailed Emergency Planning Zones

In line with changes to legislation, the areas around the AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield Nuclear Licensed Sites, each known a Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ), have been reviewed. As a result, the Aldermaston DEPZ is unchanged, but the Burghfield DEPZ has been expanded.

The increase in the DEPZ for the AWE B site is not the result of any change in activity at the site, and there is no greater risk to the public than before the new legislation was introduced – the Zones were updated because of changes introduced as a result of the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 (REPPIR 19).  The DEPZ creates a definitive area for the Council and other emergency responders to develop a detailed emergency plan, so that those living and working in the area can be protected and supported as quickly as possible in the unlikely event that a radiation emergency should ever occur.

Following an assessment by AWE detailing the minimum area that each DEPZ should be, WBC’s role has been to set out the precise boundaries.   This is determined by taking into account local knowledge about communities and geographical features.  This is the first time that the Council has had responsibility for determining the DEPZs, a role previously undertaken by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

This does not mean that people are any less safe than they were before –it certainly means that more housing needs to be covered by a detailed emergency plan, but not that any of the safety fundamentals have changed.

Grazeley Garden Settlement

Further to the detail above about the revised AWE B DEPZ, the Government then announced that the £252m Housing Infrastructure Bid by Wokingham Borough Council has failed – see the Wokingham news item at

From the item: “It had been hoped that Grazeley would benefit from funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), but the Government announced in its Budget last week that the bulk of this funding would go to projects where demand for homes is lower and therefore more support is needed (such as in the north of the country).

“Instead, the government has announced, and has directed our attention to, a new Single Housing Infrastructure Fund (SHIF) that will provide long-term support to housing development in high demand areas – such as Wokingham borough. At the same time, Homes England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have reiterated their commitment to work in partnership with Wokingham Borough Council on Grazeley (should it be allocated for housing in the Local Plan Update). A high-level meeting with these agencies will be held this week (w/c March 16).”

Parish Matters

My personal letter last week outlined the position about the flooding and sewerage problems that have occurred in Lambourn and Eastbury and the future steps to try and avoid this problem in the future.

The C-19 Mutual Aid group are hoping to set up the Lambourn Junction and use the Memorial Hall as a central point for the donation and collection of items such as books, DVDs, toys, nappies, cleaning items, dried and tinned food. They have sanitising and social distancing protocols. The scheme is aimed at those in need (e.g. former food bank users) but anyone could make use of (or donate) items, coming to the Hall when the Junction is open.

We are just checking out whether there are any issues but the view of the Council generally is very much “can do “ so I really can’t see a problem and I have said just get on and do it !

Keep well all and lt us try to support each other in this difficult time.

Best wishes


Howard Woollaston

West Berkshire Conservative Councillor for Lambourn Ward

Executive Portfolio Holder for Internal Governance

Lambourn Post Office – Temporary Closure Letter has been made aware of a formal letter from the Post Office relating to the temporary closure.

7th April 2020

Dear Customer

We are writing to inform you that, regrettably, due to unforeseen circumstances the above branch closed temporarily on Friday, 20 March 2020. Please accept my apologies for the late notification on this occasion.
Currently it is unclear how long this branch will remain temporarily closed. The Coronavirus pandemic is clearly having a big impact on all businesses countrywide and things are changing daily, however we can assure you that we will continue to work to find a solution that will restore Post Office services to the local community.
If you have any questions you would like to raise about this matter, please write to me via the National Consultation Team at the address shown at the end of the letter. Please note that your comments will not be kept confidential unless you expressly ask us do so by clearly marking them “In Confidence”.
Any future changes to service provision would be handled in line with our Principles of Community Engagement. A copy is available at the end of this letter.
Posters will be displayed in the branch to inform customers.
It would be helpful if you could share this information with any local groups or organisations that you know within the community, for example on noticeboards, local charities and in GP surgeries, to help our customers and your constituents understand what is happening to the Post Office in the local community. If you would like a supply of these posters please let us know.
We hope that our customers will continue to use Post Office services at any convenient branch. You can also use our Branch Finder tool, Post Office Branch Finder for the latest available branch information.

Editors Note: The nearest open Post Office is: Great Shefford, The Mead, Great Shefford, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 7DB. Please do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

We apologise for the inconvenience the temporary closure may cause.
Yours sincerely
Antoinette Chitty
Change Manager

How to contact us:
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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as symptoms ‘worsen’

An update on West Berkshire Schools and arrangements for the Easter holidays

A few updates from West Berkshire council today

  • An update on school availability (seems primarily for keyworkers who are still using those facilities)
  • Announcement of a refund for those who would have been using school transport but aren’t (must be in by end of this month!)

During the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, schools and early years providers closed their doors on Friday 20 March as educational establishments. Some tremendous work has taken place to ensure vulnerable children and those of key workers are cared for during this uncertain time.  Headteachers and leaders have recognised that they have a crucial role to play. As the local authority, West Berkshire Council is co-ordinating this work with schools and early years providers.

Where possible, early years settings, including childminders, are open and caring for children. Excellent collaboration is taking place between these settings and vulnerable families to ensure children are sensibly placed so that parents who need to travel to their place of work can do so more easily.  The Early Years team and Family Information Service (FIS) are helping parents and carers source alternative childcare if their current provision has to close.

Schools are open and caring for children, where possible. In many cases schools are collaborating together to share resources and to enable staff rotas that ensure teachers spend meaningful time away from school. Where needed, School Hubs have been created to ensure that as many children are cared for as possible. Hub centres are currently located at Thatcham Park School, Westwood Farm Schools, Basildon Primary School and Robert Sandilands Primary School. Some schools are accommodating children from independent schools and other neighbouring authorities. Headteachers and leaders have embraced this new, challenging role.

Schools will be open for the Easter holidays. The existing hub arrangements will continue during this period.

If parents need further assistance and more information about Easter holiday arrangements, please use the following contact details:


Early Years: or

West Berkshire Council announces refund for school transport

West Berkshire Council have taken the decision to assist parents and carers who are finding it financially difficult during this time by offering the option to apply for a refund on fares paid for school transport. This is in response to the current directive from the Government to close schools during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

A refund will be given to those who have bought a farepayer seat on home to school transport for the two weeks from 23 March 2020 to 3 April 2020. To qualify for this refund parents and carers will need to complete the dedicated refund form available online: The information needs to be completed correctly as the payment will be made by bank transfer.

A decision will be made regarding an automatic refund for the last two terms of school, from 20 April to 22 May 2020 and 1 June to 17 July 2020, once central Government have issued further guidance on school attendance for these periods.  

Completed forms must be returned to: by Thursday 30 April 2020.

The Peasemore pub shop is open 4pm-6pm today (Friday):

Fresh takeaway meals on the menu today for you to heat at home (all freezable):

  • Beef Lasagne
  • Supreme of cod in prawn & wine sauce
  • Fish Pie
  • Cottage Pie
  • Chocolate Brownies

Update on waste services for West Berkshire during the Coronavirus pandemic

West Berkshire Council is working with its waste contractor, Veolia, to ensure that essential collections can be delivered for as long as is practical during this unprecedented time. Both Veolia and West Berkshire Council would like to thank the residents who have been showing their support with notes, pictures and posts on social media for the waste teams.

Collecting waste from residents across the district remains a high priority for the Council but it is a very challenging situation for everyone with a reduction in staff availability which could result in further service reductions going forward.

The Council is continually monitoring the situation and the following changes have been implemented:

Currently suspended services include:

  • HWRCs (this is due to government lockdown guidance)
  • Bulky waste collections

 Services that have been scaled back:

  • Street cleansing
  • Container deliveries (under review)

This is a changeable situation and further changes may be introduced in the coming days with or without advance notice. Please keep visiting the Council’s website for updates. We have created a dedicated page on our website that includes all the updates in one place to make it easier to keep up to date with information: All residents and businesses are encouraged to check this page regularly for updates across our service areas.

 Please avoid making calls/enquiries to the Council on routine matters or non-essential waste services. This will allow our colleagues to focus limited resources on providing essential services.  The crews have seen large volumes of excess refuse being presented for collection this week. It is also important that, wherever possible, residents reduce their waste generation at this time or use available storage e.g. sheds or garages to hold back some of the waste where they can and if safe to do so.

If that trend continues, it could overwhelm our already stretched collection systems and lead to significant services disruption going forward. We would also ask residents to be considerate towards the hard-working waste collection teams, who are doing their best for our communities.

The Council’s waste collections may start earlier than normal to give them a chance to finish rounds. Residents are advised to leave their bins out the night before (wherever practicable) or by 6:00am on the collection day.

Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Council Member for the Environment at West Berkshire Council, said: “I appreciate that waste collections are a much valued service so please be assured that we are engaging regularly with our contractor to keep collections going as best we can. I ask that residents continue to bear with us and, wherever they can, to adopt good waste reduction measures such as home composting or reusing items for example, leftover food and packaging. Our website offers a number of ideas on reducing food waste, recipes and recycling. I would encourage residents to use this valuable resource while the Council continues to do what we need to do to support residents.

Today @RobertJenrick unveiled plans for a new Local Support System in partnership with councils, businesses and voluntary groups to deliver vital groceries and medicines to the most vulnerable people at the highest risk from coronavirus / covid19

Visit Local Suport System Link below.

Daily Updates

There are currently daily televised updates on the current coronavirus situation or you can find it online from the BBC


 The Volunteer Centre West Berkshire are looking for volunteers that want to help and a link to their volunteering form can be found on their website to co-ordinate help, as well as local community groups.

Social Distancing

Currently Social Distancing is being advised, with advice not to go to cinemas, theatres, pubs etc. Many of these places have cancelled all events they have on until further notice. Local information can be found on the Newbury Local News Website

Stay at Home Advice

Some people are being advised to stay at home


Rumours are circulating about Ibuprofen and coronavirus.

The Department of Health and Safety states:-

“That, while there is “currently no evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse”, people should take the paracetamol instead.

The latest information adds that people who have been told by their doctor to take ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), should not stop taking their medication unless told by their doctor.

Shielding the Vulnerable and Elderly

Shielding the vulnerable and elderly will be an essential part of the government’s strategy when cases are rising rapidly – it was one of the decisions signed off at an emergency Cobra meeting on Thursday.

Half of the overall cases are expected within a period of a few weeks, with 95% in a period of around 10 weeks.

So officials will ask those at most risk of developing severe illness to stay at home.

They believe if they get the timing right and people adhere to it the move could reduce the number of deaths by up to a third.

But it of course carries its own risks – mentally and physically.

They believe the longest they could ask people to do this for is around 12 weeks.

Neighbourhood Watch

You will all be aware of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Neighbourhood Watch exists to look out for communities across England and Wales and at a time like this we encourage you to consider ways to keep yourself, your loved ones and those in your community safe, particularly the isolated and vulnerable. We are following the advice from the government and encourage you to do the same:


This is a particularly informative group, with reliable information being regularly updated with the latest information on new services/advice appearing.

Local Community Groups, Local Volunteers and Services

 Many villages have set up local community groups to help with shopping and collecting prescriptions. There are people happy to chat and prevent lonliness, often including the local vicar. Some pubs are arranging takeaway services and other are arranging food banks. Doctors Surgeries are  changing the way they respond to patient’s needs and most of this information can be found on your local Facebook Group. If you do not use social media, then you should  have been made aware of someone you can call to make sure the information is relayed to you in your area.

 Churches are closed for their normal  services, with many left open so people can go for private prayer. There are also live streaming sessions.

Live Streaming Concerts

London-based Lambert Jackson productions has come up with a way to keep entertaining as coronavirus brings things to a halt. The company behind the U.K productions of “The Secret Garden” and “Love at the Musicals” has teamed up with London’s Theatre Cafe to keep the lights on as theaters around the country go dark.

The online location that will house these live stream performances has not yet been decided, but check back for more updates and links to watch.

Many supermarkets are operating a ‘over 70’s and the vulnerable’ hour in the morning.

Online shopping services are looking at priorities delivery slots for these two groups.

Some hospitals and care homes are restricting visiting.

Wash Your Hands!

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