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Help for the Haven Charity

MCF Grant – The Haven Charity Hartlepool.

On Monday 30th October 2023 the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Andrew Moule and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward Paul Quinn attended the Haven Charity, which is based in Hartlepool Town Centre, to present a grant of £4,500 over 3 years on behalf of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

They were welcomed to The Haven by Dawn Grover – Project Co-ordinator and Peter Gowland – Trustee. Dawn explained that the charity works on referrals from all agencies within Hartlepool for young people aged between 11 – 25 years old. These young persons have various issues including MePntal Health and ADHD and offer counselling on a one-to-one basis. At present they currently have over 70 young people on their books, however they have the capacity to go up to 200. The young people have a safe place to talk in confidence about anything that is on their mind without being judged and will help the young people explore their feelings.

The grant will help the charity in the day to day running of the building and go a long way to look after the local young people in the Hartlepool area, being in the Centre of the town is a perfect place for them to make an appointment and get the assistance they need.

Stronger Together

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Smiles All Around

On Wednesday 25th October 2023, Steven Hicks and Ian Groves who are members of Restoration Lodge, accompanied Andrew Foster, Mark Davies, John Deamer and Chris Simpson, to visit Sandringham House, which is a Care Home in Bishop Auckland, to present TLC teddies to patients and staff.

They were welcomed to the Care Home by Lisa Grey (Manager), Ruth Stapleton (Administrator), Mark Anderson (Deputy Manager) who came in even though he was not due to be working, Joanne Laybourn (Activity Coordinator) along with all the other care home staff working on that day.

Each room of the care home was visited along with the staff handing out the teddies to Patients/Staff/Visitors and they were given a warm reception from everyone.

Each teddy that was handed out brought a massive smile to the recipient. The visit brought a big uplift to the whole Care Home said the staff.

The reason for the visit was because Restoration Lodge had collected £250 for the TLC Teddies. Steven Hicks had asked the members if they could do a collection for the TLC Teddies at his meeting and the lodge raised a celebratory sum of £250 to buy 100 teddies.

This was the first of the expansion of the project into dementia care following the success of the TLC hospital teddies. The TLC teddies are being donated in Pastel coloured bears to children in hospitals to help make their time there less frightening and bring a smile to their faces.

Building on the success of this and with the help of research, the decision was made to make the bears available to those living with dementia. Rather than a pastel colour, the dementia bears are to be gold and be named as memory bears to encompass all the diagnosis covered by the term Dementia.

It is hoped that these teddies will bring some comfort to those affected by this condition

Tea, coffee and a selection of sandwiches and cakes were provided to all that attended by the Care Home.

At the end – Lisa (Care home manager) said the freemasons of Duham are always welcome to visit Sandringham Care home and this visit has been greatly appreciated by patients and all of the staff.

Website link to Sandringham Care Home here

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The Power of Positive Thought

How a Brother of the Province of Durham overcame the isolation of the Covid19 pandemic

During 2020, Freemasons and their families everywhere were affected by the various measures introduced to combat the pandemic we know as Covid19. Many will have lasting memories, but Gary Trotter, Master of Lambton Lodge, which meets in Durham, who was then Senior Warden and who, in more normal times, would have been installed in November 2021, as Master of the Lodge, took steps, at an early stage, to re-focus his normally gregarious life.

Gary, a native of Ferryhill, works for a company within First Group, which delivers transport solutions and Gary’s area of operation mainly comprises arranging and managing alternative transport, when sections of the railway network are closed to allow upgrading for electric traction, landslips, damage to sea defences, general refurbishments, etc. Often, when we see buses and coaches with “rail replacement service” on the front, Gary will have been behind the provision of the facility.

While his company is based in East Lancashire, Gary lives in an apartment on the outskirts of Ipswich, but, in recent years, has spent much of his time in the Thames Valley and the West Country, often attending to railway closures associated with the electrification of the Great Western main line. At the start of the pandemic, Gary’s company decided that personal contact should be kept to a minimum and, for much of the lockdown, was working from home, in accordance with government guidelines, but this, in effect, meant isolation in his apartment.

To combat the isolation and assist with fitness, both physical and mental, Gary decided that he would, starting from the 1st of April 2020, complete daily what he called a “Boris Walk”, usually of some eight miles. During the remainder of that year, he covered over 2,500 miles, lost almost six stones in weight, and became very considerably fitter!

At the beginning of 2021, realising that normal life could still be some way off, he decided to adopt a more focused approach to his daily walks, by taking part in a challenge to complete a virtual walk from Land’s End to John O’ _Groats, a distance of 874 miles. Gary recorded the mileage he walked via a GPS tracking App on his mobile phone and then uploaded this data onto the challenge’s website each day. The website then correlated the data logged with where he would be along the Land’s End to John O’ _Groats route, had he actually been walking it. In the first two months of 2021, Gary had completed an impressive 600.47 miles, which, geographically, placed him just north of Glasgow, near Loch Lomond and, of 10,917 entrants to this challenge, he was in 78th position.

To create a lasting legacy of this amazing effort, Gary invited members of Lambton Lodge and other friends and acquaintances to sponsor his efforts. Through this sponsorship, he raised funds for Masonic charities, sufficient to provide a worthwhile donation to mark his installation as Master of Lambton Lodge and its bicentenary, in April 2024.

Gary recorded his activity from April 2020, by regular posts on his FaceBook account and posted many pictures of the places to which his walks took him, both close to home and further afield, on the few occasions he was away from Suffolk on business. On these latter occasions, he usually started walking at 6.00am, before doing a full day’s work!

Gary completed the virtual walk to John O’ Groats and the cheque for £2,216.07 was presented to the Provincial Grand Master John Thompson on the occasion of his recent visit to present a 70 year long service award to Leonard Middleton Barrett . The money will be allocated to the Masonic Charitable Foundation

Pictures show Gary in multiple locations

Stronger Together

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Double Congratulations to Restoration

On the evening of Thursday 28th the members of Restoration lodge met for their September meeting in Darlington. This was a double congratulation – Firstly because the lodge collected £250 for the TLC Teddies and secondly £250 for Annabelle Challenge.

Firstly, Steven Hicks asked the members if they could do a collection for the TLC Teddies at this meeting and the lodge raised a celebratory sum of £250.

Secondly £250 for Annabelle Challenge – the story behind this donation began 6 months earlier on the slopes of mount Everest. Jason Brimson who attended to collect the £250 cheque from the lodge and Dave Riches of Restoration, along with a handful of like-minded individuals completed the trek to Everest Base Camp, and one of the reasons for doing this was to raise funds for various charities, in Jason’s case ‘Annabelle’s Challenge’

The following month Dave gave a presentation of the trek to the Lodge, and explained a little about the charity ‘Annabelle’s Challenge’. Dave asked the members of Restoration if they could donate £50 the following month, and Dave was immediately reminded of the generosity of the members to be raised to £250.

Now it’s all very well sending off money to good causes, but Dave likes the personal touch, and thought that £250 is a larger than usual sum, so he invited Jason to attend at the September meeting, so that he could present Jason with a cheque, and he could have an opportunity to explain some more about where the money is going. The charity is still relatively small, so raising awareness is top priority, and Dave thinks he can safely say that has been achieved.

Annabelle’s Challenge is the leading charity for Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in the UK. At the heart of the charity is Annabelle, a brave little girl from Bury who is the inspiration behind the challenge to raise awareness and support for patients and families affected by vascular EDS. VEDS is a life threatening connective tissue disorder that affects all tissues, arteries and internal organs making them extremely fragile. Patients are at risk of sudden arterial or organ rupture.


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Building Self Belief

Local charity improving mental health of young people receives expert advice through Cranfield Trust and Durham Freemasons partnership

A Durham-based charity, which supports thousands of young people with their mental health and wellbeing, has benefitted from essential business strategy support through a unique partnership between Cranfield Trust and Durham Freemasons, helping the charity to be more sustainable in the future.

Building Self Belief aims to build stronger communities by building self-belief in vulnerable young people. The charity runs programmes that improve self-confidence, self-esteem and enhance the social skills of young people in deprived areas across the North East. Through its work it has significantly improved the mental health, self-esteem, and life chances of thousands of local vulnerable young people. The charity sought support to develop a new business plan and expand the services it could offer.

The charity was matched with a local Cranfield Trust volunteer consultant and mentor with a broad experience in business planning and strategic business management. The free consultancy support has provided Building Self Belief with a clear plan for the future, setting out a roadmap of the goals they want to achieve and how they will achieve them. This will assist the charity in generating more income, to expand their staff team and as a result, the services they can offer.

Local Freemasons, Paul Quinn and Duncan Maw have visited Building Self Belief to present them with a certificate to celebrate the partnership and the expertise and support it has provided to help the charity and ultimately the young people it supports.

The Freemasons are giving £228,000 to Cranfield Trust to provide critical management support to 60 local welfare charities and organisations across the country over the next two years. Support includes free and tailored consultancy and individual mentoring, as well as supporting thousands more through learning activities and resources.

The grant from Durham Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Main Photo from left to right:

Duncan Maw, Shauna Nixon (BSB), Christine Thomas (BSB), Claudia Venosa-Hepworth (Cranfield), Paul Quinn, Ella Ashburn (BSB), Peter Thomas (BSB)

Paul Quinn from Durham Freemasons, said:

“Building Self Belief is an excellent charity that does hugely important work helping young people with their mental health and thanks to the Cranfield Trust they’ve a clear plan for the future that will help them to do their work more effectively. The partnership between the Freemasons and the Trust has made a great charity even better.”

Christine Thomas, CEO, Building Self Belief CIO said:

“I’ve been very impressed with our volunteer and his support of us as a charity. I do feel we have made a great deal of progress, having had his feedback and support in the process. I would like to thank our volunteer for sharing his expertise with us and Cranfield Trust and Durham Freemasons for providing this support that’s given us a clear plan for the future and practical steps to introduce new services and increase our income.”

Click Link:- A thank you from Christine

Amanda Tincknell CBE, Cranfield Trust CEO said,

“We’re extremely grateful to Durham Freemasons for helping us to support charities like Building Self Belief, which are providing essential social welfare services to the local people and communities who need them at this most challenging time. This generous grant will enable the Cranfield Trust to link our highly skilled volunteers with frontline welfare charities across the country to provide tailored consultancy and mentoring services, that help develop strong, effective and resilient charities.”

About Cranfield Trust:

Cranfield Trust is the leading national provider of pro bono management support to UK welfare charities. Through 1,400 high-skilled professional volunteers, largely from the commercial sector, the Trust provides free management support and capacity-building services to registered charities and not for profit organisations that address human welfare issues such as poverty, disability and social exclusion. 07534419622

About the Masonic Charitable Foundation:

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total,

MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit

For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer ( |0203 146 3311)

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Coast and Castles Cycle Ride

This epic long distance cycle route from Edinburgh to Chester le Street takes in the outstanding scenery of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle along the way, helping to mask the fact that it incorporates 180 miles of hard cycling spread over 3 days.

24 keen cyclists from Durham took on the challenge setting off from Edinburgh on Friday 15th September to raise funds for the “Durham 2029 MBF Festival” and “Durham Benevolence”. The weather on day one was wet and cold but a lunchtime stop at Dunbar Masonic Hall helped refresh everyone for the final push to Berwick. Day two took in Alnwick and Seahouses Masonic Hall on another wet and chilly day. The good news was filtering through that the total raised had passed £15,000.00 and this gave everyone an extra lift.

On the first dry day of the whole event the team set off from Alnwick full of purpose, ibuprofen and paracetamol. After some climbs that were a bit of a struggle for aching legs the riders reached the coastal path and one of the most enjoyable sections of the Coast & Castles tour, riding through Warkworth and Amble before some had a well earned ice cream in Creswell. The Province of Northumberland surpassed themselves once again, providing a lovely lunch for our incredibly grateful group. It was then time for the final push. Down the Coast to Tynemouth and then along to the pedestrian tunnel back into the Province of Durham. From Jarrow the team rode through Washington before regrouping on the outskirts of Chester le Street. They were then able to ride into the finish at the Masonic Hall where they were met with rapturous applause from waiting friends and family before presenting a magnificent cheque for £25,000 for the sponsorship raised to David Hanson the PGM of the Mark to be shared between the Mark 2029 Festival and Durham Benevolence

Quote from John David Watts APGM of the Craft :-

“I’ve supported many previous bike rides from the sidelines but to participate has brought a very different perspective. The camaraderie, emotions undulating with the terrain and weather, the sense of achievement and being part of a supportive team are only felt by participation.  I’m truly grateful for the experience, the enhanced friendships and all who have donated to such worthy causes as Durham Benevolence and the MBF.”

Quote from David Hanson PGM of the Mark :-

“It is wonderful to see two brilliant charities benefiting from the Coast & Castle Bike Ride. Congratulations to all the support staff, cyclists and all who donated. Remember it’s not just about making a donation it’s about making a difference and you have certainly done that. Inspirational!

Quote from Gavin Rowell :-

“The weather conditions and general lack of fitness made this probably one of the hardest events we’ve organised but the camaraderie was amazing and more importantly we’ve raised a great sum to help local and national charities supporting those in need”

More photos will be added as received and a link to Flickr for a full album

Click here for more photos

Stronger Together

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Durham Benevolence

durham benevolence

Service, being one of the four fundamental principles of Freemasonry is administered in our Province by the Durham Masonic Benevolent Fund, registered charity number 279313.

As a charity with assets over £8m we are very proud of our low administrative costs mainly due to the time and experience freely given by so many dedicated and enthusiastic Freemasons and by our highly professional staff in Provincial office.

The Provincial Benevolent Committee consists of an elected member from every Lodge in the Province who meet four times a year to agree the way forward for our wonderful Charity. 

Our two residential housing properties at Fulwell, Sunderland and Bishop Auckland are flagships of our organisation and something we take great pride in. These homes enable people to live their lives privately and independently in a safe, secure, and sociable environment.

We are also involved with many Community Engagement initiatives, Providing Community Defibrillators, taking part in and helping to organise Park Runs, working alongside our TLC Teddies and providing Community Support Grants to some extremely worthy causes in the very heart of our communities.

Durham Benevolence is our Charity but is there for everyone, to support, engage and make a difference to lives across our Province.To contact us please email or should you wish to make a personal donation please click here.

Durham Benevolence Logo


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Useful documents

Mental Health Factsheet
Community Support Grants Application Form
DB – Guidelines for Community Support Grants
DB – Emergency Grant Application Form
Education Grant Application Form
MCF Mental Health Support
DB – Group Break Application Form
DB – Caring Committee
DB – Gift Aid Declaration Form
DB – Residential Homes
DB – Convalescent Break Application Form
DB – Youth Fund Support Grant
12 documents
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Masonic Fishing Charity

Masonic fishing charity

The Masonic Fishing Charity’s aim is to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs.

It achieves this by running fishing events, both coarse and fly, at various fisheries and inviting participants from special needs schools and centres and people who have suffered trauma to come and join in.

This is far more than just a day’s fishing though! It enables mentally disabled people to gain in confidence, meet new challenges and achieve tangible results to take away; it helps disadvantaged people and those from harsh backgrounds to renew their confidence in meeting people and interacting with adults from outside their spheres; it helps physically disabled people (including war heroes and stroke victims) to participate and experience something that may otherwise be unavailable to them and it enables our volunteers to give back to the community and hopefully…….  ‘Catch a Smile’ along the way.

The charity is completely run by volunteers and is a non-profit making enterprise. Whilst we are the Masonic Fishing Charity you do not have to be a freemason to help us or take part in our activities.

The Masonic Fishing Charity in our Province

The Durham Branch, since our formation in 2017 has held sixteen events at Aldin Grange fishing Lakes, Bear Park in Durham. the venue is very Kindly supplied by Brian Hodgeson from Agricola Lodge. Although not administered or controlled by the Province,we operate with the kind permission and support of PGM John Thompson and our past PGM Norman Eric Heaviside .

Durham Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity




How can you help

Be a Sponsor! 

Any of our sponsoring lodges come and spend the day with us as well.  Our charity provides a focus for those who care to support us, and they can see a positive and tangible result for the money that they donate. They are also safe in the knowledge that the entire donated amount is spent on providing events for the participants. The charity has no paid employees, no buildings to support or other overheads other than normal printing, stationery, specialist, and insurance requirements that any similar organisation needs to operate efficiently.

Become a Volunteer!

Fishermen (Ladies are especially welcome!) You do not need to be a Freemason to become a volunteer for us, as we provide a one-to-one fishing guide and participant relationship, we always need men and women fishermen who are willing to give up their day and act as casters.

Organisation is the key point of our activities, and all the events rely heavily on several people to help organise them. Some of the roles include Event Organiser, Schools Liaison Officer, Caster Registration Officer, Catering, Photography, Publicity and PR and general help on the day.

Suggest a participant or organisation.

We always welcome new participants. Most of our participants are drawn from Special Educational Needs Schools, or units and adult centres.

The charity does not provide transport to and from the event. Participants must be over eleven years old and sufficient carers, teachers or helpers must accompany the group to cater for their personal needs. Likewise, any special dietary needs would need to be brought with them for the day although the charity does provide a barbecue lunch with a vegetarian option and tea, coffee, soft drinks and water throughout the day.

If you want to find out more about the charity or if you want to be a volunteer or helper please contact us

Visit our Facebook Page

We will look forward to hearing from you!

Visit our National Website

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TLC Teddies

TLC Teddies

What are TLC Teddies?

TLC Durham provides small teddy bears, known as distraction teddies, to Accident and Emergency departments or Urgent Care Units across the Province of Durham. These are used by medical professionals, with distressed children, to calm them and so speed up the diagnosis of their illness and its treatment. Their use saves the NHS considerable staff time and speeds the diagnosis and thus treatment of many injuries where delays can have a considerable negative impact on the child’s recovery.

Each Teddy has a label stating “Donated by local Freemason’s” and they are a clear and identifiable sign of freemasons working for and within our communities to make lives better. Funding for the bears is raised from within freemasonry by various means and the funds are ring fenced within Durham Benevolence to be used solely for the provision of TLC Teddies.

We also deliver Selection Boxes at Christmas and Easter Eggs to the various Children’s Wards across the Province. The many letters and cards of thanks received from the nursing staff or from the children are a testament to the value the wider community places on our good work. These small acts of kindness make a big difference.

Our main communication with the wider NHS community and its patents is via our Facebook site ‘TLCTeddiesDurham’ and the active engagement continues to grow. We now have 1,765 likes and reach in excess of 4000 people. We would encourage everyone to visit the site to gain an understanding of the impact the Teddies have truly. If you like the site you will then receive notifications when we receive new posts. Many of these are from parents and Hospital staff, across the province, expressing gratitude and thanking freemasons for our kindness.

We raised £14,085 during 2022 and we provided 4248 to be used with children in distress. Since TLC Teddies was launched throughout the Province of Durham we have provided over 116,260 bears to help comfort children in distress.

The Teddies are something Freemasons are especially proud of as they make a big difference to the children who receive them by “turning tears into smiles” at a difficult time.

TLC Durham


National Website


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Masonic Charitable Foundation

Masonic Charitable Foundation

We are the Freemasons’ Charity

Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.

They build better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education, and promoting independence.

MCF Logo







Their Vision for Society

Everyone has the opportunity to lead positive, active and fulfilling lives, especially those that are in need, disadvantaged or marginalised.

Their Vision for the Masonic Community

Masonic families are healthy, stable, and secure thereby providing them with the opportunities to participate actively in their community and succeed in life.

Their values

Responding to need – They are a listening and inclusive organisation which identifies need and provides essential support to communities with which they work.

Making a difference – They are compassionate and dedicated to changing people’s lives in ways that are shown to have a positive impact.

Striving in excellence – They work in a professional, collaborative, and innovative way to provide the best service to their supporters, their beneficiaries and one another.

Their mission

To be a force for good by providing support, care and services to Freemasons and their families in need and supporting other charities to help the most disadvantaged in society.

Their Strategy

There are three strategic goals which will help us achieve our Mission.

1 We will enhance our support and services

As a unified charity, we now provide support and services across a wide spectrum of need to people of all ages, and to charities supporting all sections of society. To be at our most effective, we must adapt to the changing needs of the communities we support and, where possible, extend the range of our support and services, always ensuring they are delivered effectively.

There are over 160,000 charities in England and Wales competing for funding from grant-making foundations such as ours. Identifying the most deserving causes and effective charities is a challenge and requires intelligent decision making. In line with our Mission, the charities and causes that we support will be those which help people that face poverty, distress or are disadvantaged from participating actively in society, overcoming obstacles or leading fulfilling lives.

As our main donors, the support we offer to Freemasons and their families in times of need will remain our primary purpose. The majority of Freemasons and their partners are reflected in our ageing population which is living longer, with increasingly complex and expensive care needs. It is essential that we help meet the needs of older Freemasons, their wives and partners by supporting them to live as independently as possible in their own homes and communities, or in one of our RMBI care Homes.

2 We will improve our ways of working

The Masonic community is relatively small in charitable terms and we have no remit to raise funds from the general public. Furthermore, our fundraising efforts must compete with the many increasing demands on the limited resources of our supporters. Through our activities we must engage with the younger generation of Freemasons and encourage the whole Masonic community to support Festivals and other fundraising initiatives. To do this we must build and strengthen our relationships with the United Grand Lodge of England and with Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges in recognition of their role as the primary link to our donors and beneficiaries. We will need to shape and communicate our messages carefully to ensure everything we do is understood, valued and relevant.

There is increasing pressure to provide evidence which shows that the way we spend our donors’ money is having a positive impact, in the knowledge that our donors can choose to support other charities and causes. We need to improve our understanding of the value and impact of our grant-making, support and services, and adapt and change in response to what we learn.

We will honour the past 230 years of Masonic charity and the legacy charities from which MCF was formed, whilst creating a modern and effective governance structure and vibrant staff culture. Using these legacies as a solid foundation, we aspire to be needs-led, adjusting our range of support and services to ensure that MCF continues to provide appropriate support to those in need for generations to come.

3 We will raise our profile

As a new charity, it is essential that we embed the MCF and its activities within the consciousness of the Masonic community. It is vital that the support and services we provide are known about and understood by Freemasons and their families in need. At the same time we must build pride in our donors and supporters, without whom we cannot deliver our Mission.

We aim to be better known across society as a whole so that the generosity and charitable actions of the Masonic community are widely recognised and fully understood.

We must take advantage of our size and scale to find a voice in the sector, taking prominent positions on issues affecting our beneficiaries and speaking knowledgably about the needs of the communities we support. As a leading charitable foundation in the UK, we aim to adopt a profile befitting our scale in order to support the charity community and encourage shared learning, best practice and transparency.

MCF Logo







Download the complete document here

MCF Support

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