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The Michael Halsall Solicitors Merseyside Woman Of The Year 2014 is Sara Lawton

Sara Lawton Michael Halsall Solicitors Merseyside Woman of The Year 2014 MWOTY

Sara is the Managing Director of the Toxteth Fire Fit Hub (TFFH), which is a super youth zone in the heart of Liverpool. TFFH is an independent charity, as part of the MyPlace network, and is the MyPlace centre for Liverpool. It is open from 9am – 10pm, seven days per week, 365 days per year. Sara has led on all aspects of the project from construction in October 2011, to operational delivery, in July 2013. It currently supports over 1500 young people after 9 months of operation, the initial target was 59 but is averaging 156 new members per month.

Creating 38 new job opportunities for people across the City and to date the project has addressed various social issues, including employability, health and well being, youth crime and community cohesion. In addition to this the young people and the wider community of Toxteth are given opportunities to volunteer and be referred into educational programme. To date 972 young people have achieved accredited qualifications and benefited from improved quality of life and employment prospects through the services delivered.

Denise Harris Winner of Quilter Cheviot Investment Management Entrepreneur Award

Denise Harris Quilter Cheviot Investment Management Entrepreneur Award Winner

Denise is the Founder and Managing Director of SK Events and PR, which runs and owns the annual Liverpool Food & Drink Festival (LF&DF) amongst others. Having always dreamed of bringing a food and drink event of a National standard to her home City, LF&DF is one of her biggest successes and now in its 7th year it attracts over 40,000 visitors.

With high profile chefs such as Paul Hollywood, James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Simon Rimmer and Gizzi Erskine, LF&DF has also been featured on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, Granada Reports, BBC North West Tonight, Bay TV. With articles in the Liverpool Echo and various other media across a national and international platforms. In addition, Denise produces the Family Go Live Magazine, which distributes more than 20,000 copies bi-monthly and also manages many high-profile contracts including Peel Ports, Visit the Isle of Mann and national store activity for TK Maxx.

Melissa Goddard Runner Up in Quilter Cheviot Investment Management Entrepreneur Award

Melissa Goddard MWOTY 2014

Originally from South Yorkshire, Melissa came to Liverpool to study dentistry in 1985 after visiting a friend already at the University and promptly fell in love with the City. She qualified and has lived and worked here ever since and calls Liverpool ‘home’. She has gone on to develop and grow a multi-award winning practice on Rodney Street which has gone from two members of staff to ten, eight of them women, under her leadership she has a multi award winning team.

She has national and international renown and gained a fellowship in the ICOI (International Congress of Oral Implantologists) and being one of the first Full Members of the BACD (British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry). She was also the first UK Master Affiliate in the Fastbraces® orthodontic system and is the world’s first Senior Master Affiliate, she is now the undisputed no.1 clinician in the world in this system. Melissa is included on the Royal Society of Medicine’s Wall of Honour at 1 Wimpole Street, London. This is in recognition of her services to Dentistry, Patient Care and Philanthropy. In 2011, she spent the whole summer providing free dental care in Pnom Penh for orphans who were HIV positive, she donates one pro bono Fastbraces® case per month saving the patient £3000, holds free treatment sessions for those staying at the YMCA, makes donations to KIND for every new patient seen as well as donations to Water Aid and Save The Children.

Claire Sweeney Winner of International Festival For Business 2014 & Liverpool Vision Merseyside Media Ambassador Award

Claire Sweeney Max Steinberg Liverpool vision IFB Merseyside Media Ambassador MWOTY 2014

Claire has been a great success in theatre and TV over many years and is a wonderful role model to so many young girls and women. She is always the first to raise her hand to support women in business and in particular many charities for women and children. Claire has played major roles with leading a including Patrick Swayze in Guys & Dolls and has appeared in Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Big Brother and many more top shows.

She has recently expanded her skills into writing and her play will tour the country called ‘Sex in the Suburbs’ about the role of women and the dating game. She is strong, determined, dedicated to her craft and a great businesswoman. Claire inspires others by showing that to be a success you just have to be you and is a great champion bringing the attention back to the talent that comes from Liverpool.

Lynn Saunders Runner Up in International Festival For Business 2014 & Liverpool Vision Merseyside Media Ambassador Award

Lynn Saunders MWOTY 2014

Lynn has worked in various capacities at the Liverpool Film Office since its inception in 1989 and is highly regarded by the film and TV industry as one of the best and most experienced film commissioners in the world. However, not many local people are aware of Lynn’s achievements or who’s been responsible for Liverpool being the most filmed in City outside of London. She prefers to stand quietly behind the camera instead and focuses her energies and considerable skills in putting Liverpool and its talent centre stage.

In the past 10 years since Lynn became Manager, the Liverpool Film Office has considerably enhanced its service offering the introduction of on-line bespoke databases and production guides to actively promote local crew and businesses to the industry. Some of these developments were a first for the UK and has assisted the Liverpool Film Office in retaining its competitive edge, with stiff competition from other UK and European regions, as one of the most popular and film friendly City’s in the world.

Ann McCann Runner Up in Women Achieving Award Sponsored By Women In Business

Ann McCann MWOTY 2014

Ann started her working career in 1968 as a Student Nurse in Walton Hospital and eventually moving to the Private Sector in 1988. She worked in Care Homes ensuring high standards of care for the most vulnerable in the community and persuading the Home’s owners to embrace activities and train staff to reach their full potential. Ann was offered a partnership to buy a home in Mossley Hill and with the support of her family decided to do so, however she was unable to manage the new home at the outset, because she was not a Mental Health Nurse, so she enrolled on a degree course in Mental Health.

It wasn’t long before the partnership ended so Ann and her husband decided to buy them out but amongst all this her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Ann’s mother, who became her rock throughout her husband’s illness died in 2003 and then her husband 5 weeks later. She has remained strong for her two girls and returned to work setting about changing the home to a Dementia Care Home and now running a successful business employing 70 staff.

Julie Taylor Winner of Women Achieving Award Sponsored By Women In Business

Julie-Taylor Pauline Daniels Esther McVey MWOTY 2014

Julie is helping thousands of cancer patients with her “bags of love” after responding to a little ad from Liverpool Women’s Macmillan team. They appealed for volunteers to make washable fabric shoulder bags for cancer patients receiving pain management medication via a syringe pump called a driver. These are awkward to carry, usually in plastic carrier bags, and were often dropped and damaged causing distress to patients. A special shoulder bag would help. After spotting the ad, Julie made 100 shoulder bags with children at a Crosby school where she helps out. Patients were delighted people were thinking of them.

Other schools and adults got involved. Soon Julie’s volunteers were making bags for other Liverpool hospitals. In 2012, Julie’s project went national via her website and Facebook page. This now has a national community of volunteers with “likes” from people donating fabric, volunteers making bags and health staff, all sharing stories and feedback. Julie has helped volunteers nationwide to set up schemes with local hospices and hospitals, More than 4,000 grateful patients have already benefited from Julie’s non-profit organisation, Making for Charity. One patient told her: “You have brought so much warmth to people in a very cold place.”

Shelagh Picton Winner of Better Business Finance Business Start Up Award

Shelagh Picton Irene Graham Better Business Finance BBA MWOTY 2014

Shelagh first went on a fascinator workshop May 2012 and then other workshops with well know Milliners; one of these was Rose Cory who was Milliner to the late Queen Mother. What makes this a remarkable is that Shelagh has funded these courses with money her children had given her for her 70th birthday. Due to her age, Shelagh doesn’t qualify for any start-up funding and as a pensioner, didn’t have much spare money. She started her business about 3 months after her first course, then, went on to run workshops for beginners in August 2013. She is going to start running workshops for Abakhan in Liverpool and Mostyn in North Wales.

All monies made, she has put back into the business to buy hat blocks and materials and she gives talks in return for a donation for her chosen charity, which is McMillan Nurses. Her zest for life and enthusiasm for business as a Milliner is second to none and she uses her previous skills as a Therapist to make people feel at ease and this shows in the new work she gains on a daily basis. She is an amazing inspiration for women of more mature years, who is a go getter and is making a business difference in tough economic times, when others of her age range, would not even begin to bother.

Ingrid Spiegl Runner Up in Better Business Finance Business Start Up Award

Ingrid Speigl MWOTY 2014

Ingrid embarked on her career in 1971, when she met and later married Fritz Spiegl. Together they shared a passion for Liverpool and worked from their home to run Scouse Press, which is now recognised as Liverpool’s oldest publisher of books, historic maps and street directories of Merseyside. Publications include the famous series of Liverpool Packets and Lern Yerself Scouse. Fritz died in 2003 but Ingrid has continued, on her own, the legacy of Scouse Press.

In 2013 she had an inspired idea and produced 4000 Purple Wheelie Bins so she set about sourcing a supplier and turning her idea into reality. With her first shipment she got placements in top locations at Utility and Liverpool Museum and they were sold out within 4 weeks. She is now Trade Marking the bins, with a view to taking them nationwide. Ingrid’s creative and ‘can do’ personality shines and she is a consistent supporter of the City’s arts movement.

Sharon Williams Runner Up in O2 Community Award


Sharon joined Netherley Youth & Community Initiative in 2005 and since then it has gone from strength to strength. It provides an informal, friendly and safe environment for young people to socialise and develop their skills and learning. With her skill and determination, she has managed to obtain funding from many funding portals.

She has successfully installed a fitted kitchen in the Club and set up a computer hub with 12 computers for the children, young people and adults of the area to utilise. In April 2011, Sharon was informed that the church was to close and so her mission was to ensure it remained open. She secured over 2,000 signatures, took the petition to the Bishop of Liverpool, overcame lease barriers and secured the building. She also manages to co-ordinate the Netherley Show, a once a year community event which 2,500 people attend.

Sara Lawton Winner of O2 Community Award

Sara Lawton O2 Community Ann Pickering Award Winner  MWOTY 2014

Sara is the Managing Director of the Toxteth Fire Fit Hub (TFFH), which is a super youth zone in the heart of Liverpool. TFFH is an independent charity, as part of the MyPlace network, and is the MyPlace centre for Liverpool. It is open from 9am – 10pm, seven days per week, 365 days per year. Sara has led on all aspects of the project from construction in October 2011, to operational delivery, in July 2013. It currently supports over 1500 young people after 9 months of operation, the initial target was 59 but is averaging 156 new members per month.

Creating 38 new job opportunities for people across the City and to date the project has addressed various social issues, including employability, health and wellbeing, youth crime and community cohesion. In addition to this the young people and the wider community of Toxteth are given opportunities to volunteer and be referred into educational programme. To date 972 young people have achieved accredited qualifications and benefited from improved quality of life and employment prospects through the services delivered.

Jayne Hughes Runner Up In Liverpool Women's Hospital Caring Award

Jayne Hughes MWOTY 2014

As Founder of Amy and Friends in honour of her own daughter Amy, Jayne continues to be a voice for parents all over the world fighting for children with incurable Cockaynes Syndrome (CS). Jayne’s continued efforts to raise awareness for CS as well as her drive to bring families of CS kids together are a daily effort and are done with sincerity and love.

Her greatest legacy will be the Amy and Friends Family Conference, whereby fundraising throughout the year allows families from all over the world to come together to offer each other much needed support and talk to CS specialists about research development. With less than 300 children in the world with CS, Jayne continues to fight not only for her own daughter Amy, but also for other families of children with this fatal syndrome. CS is a world filled with sadness, death and grief but Jayne has never let it impact her faith, spirit or drive and is an amazing ‘Mum’ not only Amy but all the CS children, she brings light into what is a dark time.

Maddy Vaz Winner of Liverpool Women's Hospital Caring Award

Maddy Vaz Liverpool Womens Hospital Caring Award Winner

Maddy runs a Charity called SANCTUARY Family Support which was set up 15 years ago to support families affected by substance misuse. SANCTUARY supports any adult family member, Kinship carer (grandparent caring for grandchildren) and the substance misuser themselves. In 1993 she started to work as a volunteer for Merseyside Drugs Council and started a basic counselling course, gaining a Diploma in Counselling.

Running run the charity since 2000 she continues to work tirelessly as its volunteer chairperson, being the ever-present face of the organisation, supported by one Family Support Worker. Over these years Maddy, has been responsible for raising over £750,000 to enable the organisation to continue and whilst initially this Charity was set up to support families, many of the first service users are Kinship carers and as a group they campaigned for years at Westminster to get the Kinship carers the recognition they deserve.

Roz Vaughan Winner of 60 Hope Street Inspirational Woman Award

Pauline Daniels Roz Vaughan Laura Hewitt Liverpool Womens Hospital Inspirationa Woman Award MWOTY 2014

Despite being diagnosed with kidney cancer in November 2013 Roz is a truly inspirational woman who makes a real difference at the place where she works. She is Manager at 02 and her team and colleagues get a friend when in need, an advisor when in doubt, a butt-kicker when required and a party animal when out, this is how she has earned the respect of everyone she works with. Her fairness, encouragement, listening ear, genuine and caring nature makes her more than just a Leader, it’s a real talent that’s always taken for granted. Roz had expected to return to work in May 2014, unfortunately she has now been diagnosed with lung cancer and is due to have part of her lung removed. Fighting cancer isn’t just what makes Roz remarkable, it’s her ability to be strong for those around her and remain upbeat whilst fighting this disease.

To help her she has started a Facebook page called Roz’s Journey and she has also set up her own blog page to enable friends, family and strangers to be updated on her illness but also share her story whilst supporting other cancer suffers. In true Roz fashion she went about putting others first in trying to help them deal with the terrible emotions of being diagnosed. Her courage with the illness is nothing less than inspiring and hugely helps others dealing with the diagnosis and treatments with truth, humour and dignity.


Joan Brennan Runner Up in 60 Hope Street Inspirational Woman Award

Joan Brennan MWOTY 2014

As a qualified and experienced Counsellor Joan delivers counselling to parents, children and siblings, who are experiencing bereavement and loss and separation. In addition
Joan works with ‘Looked after Children’ living with grandparents and foster carers helping them to build resilience and enabling them to access their own inner resources to
cope with change.

She is a trail blazer having set up Liverpool Bereavement’s Oakleaf Children’s Bereavement and Loss Service. Since inception in March 2013, over 100 Children, Young People and their families have been helped and through a variety of events. Joan has succeeded in raising £10,000 for the Children’s Service and also project managed the refurbishment of the 4th Floor attic room in Granite Buildings, Stanley Street. Changing it from something totally uninhabitable, to a room filled with light, colour, toys, art and media which is a welcoming and safe environment more contusive working with children and families.


Wendy Kinnin Runner Up in LJMU Learning Award

Wendy Kinnin MWOTY 2014

Wendy runs a community focused KVS Equestrian Riding Centre with the objective of giving all children the opportunity and experience of owning their own horse as she felt not enough children had access to horses due to high running costs. In August 2011, she took over ownership of the stables at a point where it had a bad reputation due to rumours under the previous owners, of animal neglect and whilst it was empty it had a become known for drug dealing activities.

In 2013, she decided the best way of doing what she had set out to do was to apply to the National Pony Club and was informed that she would have to pass rigorous inspections to gain the accreditation. The process of qualification took 6 months KVS was accredited as a Pony Club Centre and now the riding school is immaculate and is at the point where the KVS is the largest in the North West of England with some 120-150 members. A significant part of the activities are directed towards the disabled clientele who regularly attend sessions and some members struggle to pay but Wendy doesn’t do this to become rich.



Carol Rogers Winner of LJMU Learning Award

Carol Rogers LJMU Learning Award Winner MWOTY 2014

Carol has worked tirelessly to ensure the Museums and Art Galleries are readily accessible to the community of Liverpool City Region and has made strong links with other cultural centres to extend this offer. Her work with the Dementia Action Alliance and the development and promotion of the House of Memories has made real inroads into improving awareness of dementia in the City. She has led programme as dementia awareness training for health, social care and housing providers.

To date the programme has trained more than 5000 participants in Liverpool, Bury, Salford, Sunderland, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leicester & Birmingham. Carol’s work can be exemplified by the delivery of high quality education provision that offers inclusive cultural activity and experiences to ensure children and young people from the most deprived areas of the region can access up to five hours of free cultural engagement per week.

Jan McVerry Winner of Radio City Cash for Kids Arts & Culture Award

Pauline Daniels Carole Clare Jan McVerry Radio City Cash For Kids Arts Culture Award Winner MWOTY 2014

TV Scriptwriter Jan is a long-standing member of the Coronation Street writing team but has also contributed to many more BBC and ITV series. She got her first break into TV in 1990 and won a BAFTA in 2012 and has also been nominated for a second BAFTA this year for her Coronation Street episode in which Hayley Cropper tells Roy she plans to take her own life.

Jan enjoys visiting schools to encourage children into writing relaying the message that you don’t have to come from a privileged background to forge a successful career in media as no one in Jan’s family are remotely connected to the world of Arts. Jan’s determination to succeed was evident when she beat stiff competition to become a Script Assistant on Brookside and then went on the carve out the career she has to date.

Su Grainger Runner Up in Radio City Cash For Kids Arts & Culture Award

Su Grainger MWOTY 2014

Over the past 8 years Su has reached more people than she could have imagined with her initial idea to start a small singing club (SOSO) as little more than a hobby. It is hard to quantify monies raised with SOSO as Su has worked with many charities either as part of an event she has hosted and organised or by offering her choir services or as a singer free of charge. Early on Su knew she had to diversify what she had to offer so she could make a living from her passion. She gained qualifications and is now a solo singer, Choir Director and a Vocal Coach to businesses and other choirs across the country.

For the past 4 years she has run a special needs adult group, part of the Francis Taylor trust who have named themselves the Musical Belles and Beaus. They sing at The Liverpool Royal each Christmas and raise funds for The Linda McCartney Centre. Breathe Easy is another of Su’s regular classes and are part of the British Lung Foundation, aptly named The Cough Drops and The Wheezies, all members have various forms of lung disease. Su teaches them the benefits and importance of how to keep their voices in good shape by singing.

Marie Causer Winner in Tommee Tippee Women of Courage Award

Pauline Daniels Marie Causer Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson Tommee Tippee Women of Courage Award Winner

Founder of the Michael Causer Foundation (MCF) in memory of her son Michael, who was tragically killed in a hate crime 6 years ago - just because they found out he was gay. Marie wanted to raise money in his name to make a difference to those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, MCF became a UK registered charity in July 2011.

Aiming to help young people aged 16-25, giving youngsters somewhere to go where they feel safe and are surrounded by people who have gone through a similar experience. For young people who may experience difficulty at home or school, Marie is often the person they seek out for support, she is just like “everybody’s mum!”. Marie is contacted not only from Merseyside, but all around the UK and further afield in Africa and Australia.

Denise Fergus Winner of Tommee Tippee Women of Courage Award

Pauline Daniels Denise Fergus Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson Tommee Tippee Women Of Courage Award Winner MWOTY 2014

Denise has set up and runs a Charity that helps deserving children and their families have a free holiday/respite since her son, James’ death.
James Bulger House is a six berth caravan in Blackpool which to date has provided respite for over 50 families who have gone through similar circumstances as Denise.

Denise had a 5 year plan but with sheer determination managed to achieve this within 6 months. She has raised nearly £100,000 since the Charity was officially launched in 2011. After her son’s shocking death in 1993 and as a grieving Mother, Denise still fights for justice for James. Enduring all this, she wants to help children and their families in similar circumstances and is the Editor of a magazine that helps to safeguard the future for children.

Frances Molloy Winner in Tommee Tippee Women of Courage Award

Pauline Daniels Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson Frances Molloy Women of Courage Award Winner MWOTY 2014

In September 2012, Frances' 18 year old son Michael was killed when a bus he was travelling on crashed, on its way home from Bestival on the Isle of Wight. The front tyre had a catastrophic blow out, the tyre was 20 years old, Kerry Ogden aged 23 and the bus driver were also killed. Since then Frances has campaigned to change the law, which at present has no legislation to the age limit of any tyres fitted on vehicles in the UK. She has enlisted the help of Maria Eagle MP and they have met with Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport.

Michael was an accomplished songwriter and musician and he was just about to be signed up by a record company. He had written and music and played on the song Rise and Fall which he played it to his Mum. As this was the last thing he shared with Frances, she was determined that the world should hear his music. Frances managed to get Michael’s song recorded by Sunday Best and it went straight into the Charts at No. 35, only the 2nd in history for an unsigned artist.

Sarah McKenzie Runner Up in Knowsley Chamber Women In Philanthropy Award

Sarah McKenzie MWOTY 2014

Sarah runs the Shetland Rescue Centre that cares for animals, some are often just left at her gate. A routine operation left Sarah partially blinded but still she carries out her duties 365 days per year with no wage, is solely reliant on donations only and her team of regular volunteers. She is incredibly kind and would help anyone at all; only she would have over 100 animals from horses, ducks, chickens, pigs, sheep to goats and dogs all happily living side by side. She never turns an animal away and ensures they all have food, clean beds, veterinary treatment and loving care.

Working with a small disabled group of people who visit the Centre every week on Wednesday and Friday and she has taught them how to care for the animals. It gives this group the important needed freedom away from their daily lives, many who were scared initially of some animals but under her careful supervision love almost all of them now. She has a great team of volunteers who go every day to help out, she never gives up, she never says no and is incredibly determined to do her best for the Centre.

Joanne Davis Winner of Knowsley Chamber Women In Philanthropy Award

Joanne Davis Knowsley Chamber Award Winner

Over the past 4 years Jo has been a constant fundraiser for the charity Cash for Kids raising over £8000 via Just Giving and Everyday Hero fundraising pages. She has been called the women’s equivalent of “Forrest Gump” because of her love of running and she has incorporated this passion to put together some great events and raise monies for some amazing causes.

In 2011, she completed 100 race miles which included 2 marathons, half marathons, 10k and 5k events totalling 100 miles. This was all completed within a 6 month period. The year after she and 5 others teamed up for the 24 hour Treadmill Event, something that Jo masterminded herself and pitched to the organisers of a 24 hour Radio City event. In 2013 the event was changed to a 12 hour Treadmill where 12 runners from Liverpool Running Club ran together to raise money. This again was an event that Jo put together and this and the others have raised thousands for the Cash for Kids Charity in bucket collections. She has raised the profile of Liverpool Running Club and the Liverpool running community across a wide arena.

Steve MacFarlane Winner of Best Supporting Male Award Sponsored by Women In Business

Pauline Daniels Elaine Owen Steve MacFarlane Jean Gadsby Ellie Kerr Best Supporting Male Award

Between working for a large American technology firm, writing songs, hosting events being an amazing singer, Steve Macfarlane, has shown unwavering support for his partner Gary Millar who was The Lord Mayor of Liverpool and has been by Gary’s side in all the activities with unwavering dedication and selflessness.

Of course knowing Steve as we do we are sure it was not too much of a hardship being the Consort to the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. It has brought it’s perks too along with the punishing schedule but Steve has always been there with a smile and a kind word no matter what the event may have been.

Steve was awarded Best Supporting Male in this special one off award for his dedication to his role in support Gary in his mayoral year and the City of Liverpool.

Margaret Aspinall Winner of Ramptec Special Award

Pauline Daniels Jim Gates Margaret Aspinall John Phelan Special Award Winner MWOTY 2014

Hillsborough campaigner Margaret was celebrated with a Special Award at this year’s awards for her dedication as a Mother to James and to the families affected by the disaster 25 years ago.

A woman who needs no introduction Margaret was given a standing ovation by the 400 strong guests who admired her tenacity and passion for the City of Liverpool who she said of the region “had given them so much support, it gave us strength to carry on”.

Pauline Daniels Winner of Pride of Merseyside Award Sponsored by Women In Business

Jean Gadsby Pauline Daniels Elaine Owen Ellie Kerr Pride Of Merseyside Award

Our wonderful commere of the Merseyside Women of the Year Awards Pauline Daniels, was celebrated with the Pride of Merseyside Award.

Pauline made her name as Britain's best female stand-up comedian, noted for her spot-on comic timing. Progressively, she has extended her range as an entertainer to great effect, achieving acclaim as an actress and singer on the stage and on television.

This consummate performer now finds time through her ownership and management of the Actor's Studio on Seel Street to feature in her own productions and provide great opportunities for emerging local talent. She is an honorary fellow of Liverpool John Moores University. In 2011 she published her book "My Story".

David Harris speaks to BBC Radio Berkshire about the gender pay gap

 BBC Radio Berkshire WIB


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