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_--------Education in the…


Education in the Rhondda. » OPENING OF THE FERNDAIE SCIENCE SCHOOL. Visit of Sir Geo. Kekewich, Chief of the Education Department. Intensive alterations and additions have re- cently bean made to the Ferndale Higher Grade and Organised Science School at a cost of £ 5,500. the accommodation being for 350 boys and girls. The architect was Mr Jacob Rees, Pentre, the architect to the School Board. Sir George Kekewich, chief secretary of the Edu- cation Department, had promised to open the new school, and on Thursday the opening cere- mony took place. Sir George, who was accom- panied by Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P., arrived by the mid-day train at Ferndale, where he was met by Mr T. Bevan, chairman of the School Board, and other members. He was immedi- ately driven to the schools, where he was pre- sented by Miss Bevan, daughter of Mr T. Bevan, with a gold key, and after having declared the building open for the benefit of the children of the district, he was conducted over the build- ing by Mr Bevan and Mr Jacob Rees, the archi- tect. The building, which is well adapted for its purpose, has accommodation for 350 students. On the second floor the science school has been fitted up with commodious schoolrooms, cloak- rooms, chemical and physical laboratories, with a large room for demonstration of chemistry and pbysics. A dark room has been also spe- cially provided for demonstrations in optics. There is ako a manual training room and work- shop. PUBLIC MEETING. After the tour of inspection a public meeting was held in one of the largest rooms, presided over by Mr T. Bevan. The company included M Alfred Thomas, M.P., Rev W. Morris (vice- chairman of the Board), Miss Ada Jones, Rev W. Lewis, Messrs Daniel Thomas, D. R. Jones, John Davies, Henry Abraham, D. E. Jones, members of the Board; Alderman Walter H. Morgan, Pontypridd; Miss Bevan, Messrs W. G. He-well. clerk to the Board; A. Stanley Cobb (treasurer), Rev Silas Charles, Councillor Mor- ris Morris, Messrs W. Edwards, D. E. Jones, J. Evans, Gomer Jones, and W. Hughes (H.M. Inspectors), Rev Mr Beard, Ferndale; Messrs Tom John, Llwynypia; R. D. Chalke, Porth; W. Samuel, B.A., Porth; Jacob Sees, archi- tect; T. G. Jones, deputy-clerk; A. Jones, Higher Grade; Rees. W. R. Davies, D. E. Da- vies, and others. The Chairman, on behalf of the School Board, offered Sir George a very hearty welcome on .this his first visit to that important and popu- lous district. He hoped he would be favourably impressed with the Board's efforts to meet with the educational needs of the people of the dis- trict. They could not adequately express their gratitude for the honour Sir George had con- ferred upon them by coming amongst them that day. This was the first time in lfistorv for the Rhondda to be honoured by a visit from the chief of the Education Department. (Applause). His visit was also the more welcome to them because of the conspicuous services he had ren- dered to the cause of Welsh education. (Hear, bear). In the presence of such an expert it would he very undesirable on his part to speak on education, but as chairman of the Ystrady- fodwg School Board, he might be allowed to give a brief retrospect of the work aocomplished by the Board. The Boar3 was established 20 years ago, in October, 1878, and during its first year it acquired and purchased 18 schools, hav- ing 7,168 children on the rolls. To-day, they bad 31 schools with 78 departments, and over 22,000 children on the rolls. (Applause). He thought the parish of Ystradyfodwg was unique for its educational facilities, for there were not many urban parishes who had, in addition to the elementary schools, a deaf and dumb school, a staff of cookery instructors, a staff for manual training, flourishing evening continuation classes, in every school throughout the parish, two Higher Grade, and Science Schools (of which that magnificent pile formed one), and a pupil teachers' centre for 250 teachers. (Hear, hear). Besides, all these schools were connected by telephone with the office. (Laughter and ap- plause). Turning to Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P., the speaker said he thought that although Car- diff was the metropolis of South Wales, yet as a progressive Board Cardiff must take a second seat to Ystradyfodwg. Also, there was in that parish an intermediate school, and another was being ngilated for. (Hear, Kear). During the 20 vran; ihe Board had been in existence a very large an icant of money had been spent in keep- ing thi-; educational machinery going. They had drawn from the rates £ 176,000 in round figures, and between £ 30,000 and £ 40,000 from school pence and poundage, so that independ- ent of the grants the people of the parish had contributed towards Education during the 20 years over £ 200,000. (Applause). That day was a red letter day for Ferndale, and it was to him a source of great joy to see that mag- nificent school built within a stone throw of the first school established in Femdale. That was in a farm house close by, which was used some- times as a parlour and sometimes as a bedroom. (Laughter). That was the first school when he oame to Ferndale 33 years ago. The teacher was an uncertificated one, who received El a week. At least, that was his supposed salary, but he didn't always get that, and was often obliged to take his cap to the top of the pits in order to collect that :Cl. (Laughter). Perhaps it would be egotistical on his part to say he (Mr Bevan) first negotiated to establish a school there; the old British School it was called. Bye and bye, this school got two small, and oottages were taken, until at last they -were compelled to take the assembly hall- Then the present school was built, and this had to be fur- ther altered and extended into the present Higher Grade and Organised Science School. (Applause). fjJR GEORGE KEKEWICH'S SPEECH. Sir George Kekewich, K.C.B., thanked the Board for their kindly welcome to him. He oould not help feeling touched by the enthusi- astic rp-eptions he met with everywhere, but h-j aid not know what he had done to deserve it. The Chairman had told them that he (Sir George) was an expert on Education, but he could only say he did not pretend to be any- tbing of the kind. All he pretended was lo be a man of reasonable common sense, who brought that reasonable common sensevto bear on the opinions of experts—(applause)—and very much, he believed did they require it sometimes. (Laughter) .The Chairman had said this was the first visit a secretary of the Education Department had paid the Rhondda. He could only say the Rhondda fully deserved very frequent visits, and he trusted this would not be the last visit the present secretary paid it. (Appiause). He was greatly indebted to the J School Board for the outward and visible signs they had given in satisfaction of his visit, and they had presented him with a beautiful gold key, which he proposed giving the company pre- sent an opportunity of inspecting. He was secretary of the Education Department of England and Wales, but when he came to a Welsh district he liked to drop out England and thought of Welsh education because he took more than ordinary interest in it. (Hear, hear). It was his misfortune, not his fault, that he was not born a Welshman—(hear, hear)—but he had done what he could to be a Welshman. (Hear, hear). He had come down for over 22 years to the borders of Wales, Monmouthshire, and he supposed no good Welshman would deny that Monmouthshire was practically a part of Wales. He had lived among the Welsh people there, and had always been very happy there, and more than that, the lady he had chosen as his better half was born in Cardiff, so he could say the best half of the secretary of the Educa- tion Department was Welsh. (Laughter and applause). He rejoiced in such gatherings, and in being present at them, because they were evidence to him of the good feeling which pre- vailed between the Education Department and the local authorities, and he hoped it would long continue to prevail. (Cheers). The Department was on good terms with every local authority that did its duty, and that was the reason why it was on excellent terms with the Ystrad School Board. (Applause and laughter). As far as the Ystrad School Board was concerned, he agreed with what the Chairman had implied-that they had always done their duty. (Cheers). It was not an easy duty to perform to provide for a great and increasing population, and they had confronted many difficulties in erecting the school they were then in. They had had to get temporary premises, and to make it greater he believed they were destroyed by fire, and even now they had not been able to push the work absolutely to completion. They had got well forward with it, they had buckled to, and by the opening of the school he hoped thow would have surmounted every difficulty. (Hear, hear). When present at such meetings he had always a feeling of pride, he was proud the Board had built them for the benefit of the children. These buildings were excellent, complete in sanitation, convenient for teaching purposes, and fairly well adorned. The first consideration in a school of this kind seemed to him to be perfect sanita- tion. He put that before convenience for teach- ing purposes, although the two went very much together. They compelled their children now t) attend school five days a week, and certain hours each day; so the least they could do was to provide sanitary premises in which their health could be kept perfect. He did not for- get the teachers—the hard-worked teachers—in school demanded good aid and good sanitation, and it was also necessary that buildings should be convenient for teaching purposes. (Hear, hear). Althought that did not affect the health of the children, it did affect the health of the teacher, and his comfort in a great degree. Few of them recognised how hard the work of a teacher was, and how liable his health was to break down under a constant and continued strain. (Hear, hear). There was, of course, another thing required outside good sanitation, and convenience for teaching purposes; he meant excellent teachers, also. (Hear, hear). He did not doubt that the Ystrad School Board had not failed in providing excellent teachers. (Hear, hear). He hoped also they not only provided good teachers, but that they gave them good and sufficient salaries. (Applause): He believed that their teachers were fully worthy of 6heir salaries. Taking them altogether there was no better body existing in any part of the world. (Applause). Not long ago there were uncommonly few higher grade schools in the country, but of recent years they had been es- tablished all over the country in increasing num- bers, amd that shewed two things; first, that the people were becoming wiser and more anxiousco obtain a higher education for their children,and secondly it proved that the local authorities were becoming more and more alive to the edu- cational needs of the people. (Hear, hear). There was now practically no difference among them as to the necessity of a good sound ele- mentary education being provided for all the children of the people. Very few people now held that the children required no education, and were better without it. Those few people were regarded as an antiquity and an obsolete production. Still, it might be urged by some, that although the public elementary school was a necessity, the Higher Grade was a luxury. He did not agree with them. (Applause. He thought there was no difficulty in shewing that th higher grade school was a very necessary step in the educational ladder, and so far from leading nowhere it discharged a very important function in our educational system. (Applause). Nowhere was the fact more apparent than in Wales, where in educational matters they were thrice blessed. (Hear, hear). They had an excellent system of elementary schools, they had their Intermediate Schools, and, on the top of all, their Welsh University. (Hear, hear). A good deal of nonsense had been talked of over- lapping. So far from the intermediate schools interfering with the Higher Grade, he thought, if properly managed, they were necessary con- ductors from the elementary schools to the Intermediate. (Hear. hear). Of course, they must take care in organising their higher grades that they did not interfere with the Intermed- iate schools. They must take care that the cur- riculum was so arranged as not to face the pro. vince of the Intermediate schools, although there wis no doubt that the two curricula must t.c: uch each other in some respect. In the same way the elementary school touched the curricu- lum of the Higher Grade. Of course, all grades of schools overlapped to a certain extent, and there was no harm in it, but they must not ccver identically the same ground. (Hear, hear). Each school must represent a step ;n ti,e educational ladder. He regarded the Higher Grade Schools as rather a higher primary school. He regarded it in a certain sense as a day continuation school for the mass of the people. They went to the Higher Grade School or Organised Science School in order to cover the gap between the ages of 13 and 16 years, vben they could enter a profession, whereas 'n he Intermediate School they ought to stay con- siderably longer (Hear, rear). Another thing The usefulness of such buildings as those ought not to be limited to their use in the day tiin-, arrl he thought it was the duty of all good local authorities to see. as far as possible, that such beautiful buildings as these should not be al- lowed to stand idle. (Hear. hear). He hoped the buildings would be occupied by evening con- tinuation classes. (Hear, hear). He knew that in some places evening continuation classes were not very popular, but he did not see why if well managed they should not be exceedingly popu- lar (ifear, hear). But they must be made at- tractive. If the teaching in them was a drud- gery unmixed with pleasure, he did not think they would find the scholars stay long. but from the great many interesting subjects prescribed in the school Education Code brought out by ont of the great vice-presidents of the Education Department, Mr Ac land, they would find some to fill the actual hours admirably, and he (the speaker) saw no reason why before and after hours the school should be open to those who attended regularly to indulge in such games as draughts and chess, or for Home Reading circles in connection with the National Home Reading Circle, or for social talk; well, political talk, if they liked—(laughter)—and for the interchange of ideas. (Loud applause). Evening Continua- tion Schools would then be doing its duty as such, and would become the centre of social life in the locality. (Hear, hear). The hearty sup- port of the parents of the children was the one thing needed to make their school a success. The law of compulsion was desirably right, but he was compelled to say he would welcome the day whn the necessity for compulsion ceased to exist. (Hear, hear). If parents would only realise that absence from school would affect the future of their children they would be ready to turn themselves into attendance officers and send them to school. Parents were the best attendance officers in the world if they only took proper interest in the children. (Hear, hear). He thought he saw signs of improve- ment in that respect, and almost throughout the whole of the country people were beginning t) interest themselves more or less in the educa- tion of their children. (Hear, hear). He de- sired to express his great satisfaction with the Act passed last year for the superannuation of teachers. He did not know whether it suited all teachers or not; perhaps not. Some people objected to it, but at all events one thing it had done: it had prevented the possibility of any teacher, who had done his duty to the last, being without some means in his old age.(Hear, hear). The Act was not intended to do more than that, but if a teacher got a large salary there was no reason why, if he could spare the money, he should not spend as much of it as he liked to provide for his wife and children through the ordinary channels of insurance. He hoped the Act would have a great effect in maintaining the excellence of their teachers, and in inducing some of the best children of the community to enter the teaching profession. (Hear, hear). He had mentioned "the excellence of the teach- ers, for he was satisfied with the excellence as it stood. (Cheers). Although there might be, and doubtless were, many defects still remain- ing in their educational system, yet he thought they would agree with him that of recent years Education had shewn real progress every year. The Education Department had endeavoured to dj something, however little, to secure an im provement, and if it had not gone forward ithad not taken any backward, step, and the changes were thoroughly fairly established, because they were always made in accordance with, and not in advance of, public opinion of the time. (Ap- plause). He believed they were developing a better educational spirit at the Educational De- partment. (Hear, hear). It ought always to have been there, but he thought they had been rather lacking in it during a certain number of years. He thought that was partly owing to the action of the local educational authorities, and partly to the fact that the action of the Educational Department Vhad been reflected upon the authorities. And he could only say this that among the local authorities which had done its best to fulfil the wishes of the people and to act in accordance with the more en- lightened policy of the Department, he thought the Ystradyfodwg School Board stood among the foremost. ((Loud applause). He hoped it would always continue in the same course, and that it would always do its best to fulfil the wishes of the people of that valley ,and to far- ther the interests of the children committed to its charge. (Loud and continued applause). The Chairman: We don't profesST to pay the highest salaries to our teachers nor do we pay the lowest. Howver, we have been able to get the best teachers. (Hear, hear). Sir George: I said a good salary. The Chairman: We consider the Ystradyfod- wg teachers second to none. (Hear, hear). Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P., who was cordially received, stated that the Education Department ha.l been fortunate in its chiefs, and notable amongst them was the late Mr Mundella, to whom Wales was greatly indebted in connection with her University and intermediate education; Sir William Hart-Dyke, than whom no Welsh- man could have done more to give Wales inter- mediate education; Mr Acland, and Sir John Gorst as Parliamentary chiefs, and, as para- mount chief, the gentleman who honoured them with his presence that day. (Applause). Each of these gentlemen had placed them under a debt of gratitude by what they had done for Wales. Parliamentary officials came and went, but the departmental chief went on for ever—or for ever so long—and he could not go on long enough when there was one like their distin- guished guest. (Hear, hear). He (the speaker) had been very much concerned as to whether the higher grade overlapped the intermediate schools, and gentlemen like Sir George Keke- wich could give them much information upon the matter. If the Higher Grade schools did work which could not be done in Intermediate Schools, then by all means let them be con- tinued. (Cheers). They were now in an age of transition, and would be for some time, and when every headmaster would be a graduate of a university—and he hoped it would be the Welsh University—it would then be possible to do the work in Wales which had been done for so rrany generations in Scotland. (Cheers) The principal of the Cardiff University College, who regretted he could not attend, had that morning told him that he would be very glad f pupil teachers could be less worked than they were now. (Hear, hear). They should have more adult teachers employed, so that pupil teachers should have more opportunities to learn. (Hear, hear). No people deserved more sym- pathy than the pupil teachers, and he thought it was quite time that they should do away with the white slavery of those young people. (Ap- plause). He should, of course, be sorry to see the rates advancing, but the best investment they could make was in the way of School Board rates. (Hear, hear). He should like to see a little more connection between the Elementary school and the Intermediate schools, and to lead in a continuous line step by step to the Univer- sity. instead of having quite so great a break between the schools as existed, now. (Hear, hear). He had expected some opposition to what he said, but he had stated what he felt. (Hear, hear). Ite congratulated the Board upon having such a building, but in spite of what the chairman had said he contended that the Cardiff School Board was the best in the kingdom. (Laughter and applause). The Chairman agreed with Mr Thomas that they were too "stingy" on the staff of teachers. An address was also delivered by the Rev Silas Charles, Ferndale. The Chairman had dealt with Education in the district, and Sir George had dealt in a masterly fashion with Education generally, so he would now like to say a word for Ferndale. He had not been in Ferndale for eight years without witnessing signs of much progress. (Hear, hear). The taste for good reading had grown much there, and he put it down to the thirst created for li tern hire bv Mieir =rhc<-ls. He hoped this would continue, for it did a great deal to eulighten the people. (Hear, hear). In educational matters Ferndale were in advance of the other portions of the parish as was evidenced by the results of the recent examination at the Porth County School, where out of 16 scholarships eight were captured by Ferndale pupils. (Applause). Fur- ther, the Urst boy and first girl on the list were from Ferndale. (Hear, hear). That proved that they were in advance of the other com- munities in the Rhondda, and that was no doubt why that splendid pile had been erected in Ferndale. (Laughter and applause). Mr Daniel Thomas (chairman of the Finance Committee of the Ystradyfodwg School Board) was called upon to perform, what he considered to be, a pleasant duty, and it afforded him great pleasure to propose a hearty vote of thanks to the speakers for their very excellent speeches. They were pleased to see the Rev Silas Charles present. They all knew he took a deep inter- est in the educational welfare of the children of the Rhonddas, especially those of Ferndale. He regretted to hear he was about leaving the neighbourhood for Cardiff, They felt exceed- ingly proud to be honoured with the presence of Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P. Mr Thomas was well known as an ardent Educationist. His munifi- cent donations to the Cardiff University amd other educational institutions were practical prcofs'of bis loyalty to education in its different forms. He sincerely thanked him for his pre- sence and for his admirable speech. But above aH they felt positively delighted that they had on this eventful occasion been honoured with the presence of such a distinguished visitor as Sir George Kskewiph. The important and re- sponsible position he held in the educational world, as chief secretary of the Education De- partment, indicated in a remarkable manner the high honour he had conferred upon the Board, and Ferndale especially, by his visit that day. His presence was always coveted at all great educational functions conneoted with the primary education of our country, and he was there that day as Permanent Secretary of the Education Department. Perhaps, however, he might be allowed to sfate that there was a time when that department-that intelligent and august body—quarrelled with almost everybody. It was recognised by all educationists as a de- partment more to be feared and dreaded, than respected and loved. But since the installa- tion of Sir George a mighty transformation had taken place, and that department had been popularised in every direction. Still the mil- lennium had not yet full yarrived, and the de partmental lion was not yet a fully developed innooent lamb. The dfepartment had thought fit to withhold £ 150 grant due to their teachers, which he hoped would be soon paid. Sir George: Name the school. Mr Thomas: In the Ystradyfodwg School Board. Mr Edwards knows very well. Con- tinuing, Mr Thomas said: Sir George bad that day practically shown them that he fully appre- ciated the spirit which had brought into exist- ence those Higher Grade and Science Schools. They thanked him for the stimulus of his presence They thanked him for his thoughtful, powerful, and practical speech. It was the speech of an educational expert. Long might Sir George live to wield in the broad and liberal spiitit of his administration the schools of our country. (Loud applause). He had great pleasure in proposing a hearty vote of thanks to the speakers. (Hear, hear). Mr D. R. Jones (chairman of the School Man- agement Committee) ably seconded. The coun- try had shewn its appreciation of the great strides Education had made, and they felt grate- ful for it. Education was going forward with great speed, and there was now a chanoe for the children of working men to raise themselves in the educational world—(cheers)—and the world would become heiier and society brighter and purer by the educational advances received and prcpagated- throughout Wales at the present day. kloui applause). The resolution was carried with great enthu- siasm. In replying, Sir George remarked that he did not think the Department ever with-held grants unless there was something exceedingly wrong. It had not been brought to his notice, but if the chairman of the board would either write to him or tell him about the case he would see justice done. (Hear, hear). He did not look forward with any degree of pleasure to the millen- nium, because there was nothing further to look for, and he should think this world would be the dullest place possible. The School Board's opinion of the millennium was to come to the Education Department and dip its hands into its pockets and take what it pleases, and it seems to think that only £150 stood in the way of the millennium. (Loud laughter). THE LUNCHEON. Mr T. Bevan had prepared luncheon in an adjoining loom, where the company adjourned. The chair was occupied by Mr Bevan. The usual loyal toasts having been duly honoured, "The Education Department" was submitted by the Rev W., Lewis, R.D., who coupled with it the name of Sir George Kekewich. Sir George, in responding, said that although as one speaker had said, the Education Depart- ment at one time quarrelled with a good many people, yet at the present day it was living in peace with everybody. (Hear, hear). He could not imagine how any authority could fail to be popular when it disbursed eight millions of money. But he preferred claiming popularity upon the educational progress and upon the progressive policy it had developed during the past few years, and he thought it said a good deal for the different educational authorities in the country that the development of that policy had made the Education Department fairly popular. (Hear, bear). But how could the Department go wrong when it had such a large number of people looking after it ?(Laugh- ter). In the first place, there were the members of Parliament, such as his friend, Mr Alfred Thomas. Should anything go wrong he went to him and said, "Hullo, what are you about?" and he set it straight. Again, if they did not do right there was the managers of schools and the elementary teachers end in fact about 60,000 people to keep them in order. (Laugh- ter). He referred to the abolition of payments by results, and said he wished to see no impedi- ment-no money impediment—placed in the way of tfie child of any man who had the ability to raise himself to the highest positions. (Hear, hear). He would like to see his path more free all the way up. Education had made rapid strides in the Principality of Wales, where it had taken a hold of the people, and where it was more fully organised than in England. (Hear, hear). They had the Welsh Education Act, and the Technical Instruction A- both of which were passed by Sir William Tart-Dyke, who, he thought, should have a statue some- where in the cause of Wales. (Cheers). He was the man whose energy and statemanship had passed these great Acts. which had borne great fruit, and which would, he thought, bear still greater fruit. (Hear, hear). Then they had a document which in his opinion, was the greatest educational reform in the country- the Code of 1890-which want th,- abolishment of payment by results. (Applause). Whatever j th? faults of the Department they would be sorry to lose it, and they would not be happy without their Educational Department. (Ap- plause). Mr W. Samuel, B.A., gave the toast of "The Ferndale Higher Grade and Science School," to which the vice-chairman of the Board, Rev W. Morris, F.R.G.S., replied. Mr Tom John humourously gave "The Inspectors of the dis- trict," which was responded to by Messrs W. Edwards, and D. B. Jones, H.M. Inspectors. "The Ystradyfodwg School Board" was next given by Alderman Walter H. Morgan and .re- plied to by Mr Henry Abraham, the singing of "Hen Wlad fy Nhaoou" terminating the pro- ceedings. VISIT TO LLWYNYPIA SCHOOLS. Sir George and the members of the Board then drove ever to Llwynypia to inspect the school there, and expressed great satisfaction with his visit. SIR GEORGE THANKS THE BOARD. At Monday's meeting of the Rhondda School Board, the following letter was read from Sir George Kekewich, K.C.B.: — "White Hall, Llangibby, Newport. "Dear Mr Howells,—Will you kindly convey to the School Board, and especially to Mr Bevan, my warmest thanks for my reception in the Ystradyfodwg district on Thursday. I was very much impressed with the evidence on even side of the excellence of the provision which the Board "had made for the educational wants of the people. I can only say that my visit will always remain in my memory, and that if, at any time I can assist the Board in carrying out their educational work it will give me much pleasure. "Will you also convey my best thanks to Miss Bevan, to whom, I know, we were greatly in. debted for the arrangements, or at all events, some of the most important of them. I was glad to have the opportunity of meeting some of the members of the Board's teachers, and of visiting Llwynypia School, which I am sure will always flourish so long as my friend, Mr John, is at its head. With my very best thanks to yourself, I am, Yours very truly, GEORGE KEKEWICH.' It was decided to record this letter in the n inutes, and on the suggestion of Mr Daniel Thcroas, the best thanks of the Board were accorded to Sir George for his kindness in assis- ting in the opening of Ferndale School. On the motion of Mr D. R. Jones, seconded by the Rev Thomas Williams, the thanks of the Board were given to the chairman (Mr Bevan) also.

Sir Ceorge Kekewich at Porth.i

* Rhorjdda County School,…

--------Better Than Cod-Liver…


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qearts of Oak Benefit Society.