Nether Heyford British Legion – Poppy Appeal 2020

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion, is a British charity providing financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependants.

Nether Heyford British Legion

The Nether Heyford British Legion are not able to order poppies this year from the British Legion (individual branches cannot order them this year). Poppies are normally sold door to door throughout the village and in the village pubs and shops to raise funds for the Nether Heyford branch of The British Legion.

A coffee morning is also usually held to raise funds but is not possible this year either.

The funds raised in the village go directly to the local village branch and helps to pay for the wreaths that are laid on the war memorial on Remembrance Day in November.

Upon hearing about this situation in early September, a crowdfunding page was set up on the JustGiving website:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/netherheyfordbritishlegion

to simply raise £80 to order some wreaths for November.

With amazing speed and generosity £280 was quickly raised – combining that with some cash and cheque donations sent through the post, a grand total of £395 was raised for the local village British Legion branch helping towards remembrance day 2020 and beyond.

Many thanks for all those that donated which included :

Gary Richmond | Aly & Rich | Joan & Alex | Trev Clarkey | Marie Hanlon | Sarah Hawkins | Birkett family | Jadine | Simon & Debbie | Heyford Athletic FC | Brian and Maxine Edgington | Stu and Emma | Sue Boutle | Jez Wilson | Gary McMahon | Lesely Faulkner | Jill Garratt | The Gilkes Family

& many more donors who chose to remain anonymous

Jez Wilson – September 2020

Do you need help? Grants available from the Arnold’s Charity

DO YOU NEED HELP? GRANTS AVAILABLE

Need Help Box

The Arnold’s Charity is able to offer grants to residents of Nether Heyford and Upper Heyford who find themselves in need of help financially.

The grants which can be applied for are varied and include two categories.

Social Grants: All ages

The social grants are available to help residents who may be struggling financially. This could be an unexpected expense i.e. new glasses, dental treatment, a larger than anticipated bill, the need to travel to hospital appointments, heating, clothing, medical costs etc.

Eligibility: Resident of Nether Heyford or Upper Heyford

Educational Grants: Persons under 18 & Persons 18-24

Cash grants for Apprenticing and Education are available to or on behalf of persons who have not attained the age of 25.  This could be for learning purposes i.e. books, equipment, tools, etc.

Eligibility: 1. Under 25 years old. 2. Lived in Nether Heyford or Upper Heyford for over one year OR have been educated in the parish for over one year. 3. In need of financial assistance for educational purposes, subject to the terms of the scheme and approval of the trustees

The applications are considered by the Trustees at their meetings twice a year, in April and November. Deadlines for completed application forms are March 31st and October 31st.

Next deadline for application forms:

October 31st 2020

Application forms are available from:

Rev Stephen Burrow (Parish Church) – Trustee

s_p_burrow@yahoo.co.uk | 01327 344436 | 07511 544375

Jez Wilson (The Prattler)

heyford_prattler@yahoo.co.uk | 07761 672376

Nick Adams – Trustee

nick.adams@farmline.com | 07812 032509

Marina Eaton (Clerk to the Trustees at Wilson Browne Solicitors)

meaton@wilsonbrowne.co.uk | 01604 876697

Alternatively – Download, Print, Complete and Return:

Charity History:

The Arnold’s Charity was founded by the will of Edmund Arnold, in or about 1689. The Charity was set up to help five Parishes in the County of Northamptonshire – Stony Stratford, Nether and Upper Heyford, the Ancient Parish of St. Giles -Northampton, Stowe-IX-Churches and Weedon Bec and also Merton College, Oxford.

Edmund Arnold:

Born: Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire

Baptised: Stowe-Nine-Churches, Northamptonshire, 1607

Graduated: Merton College Oxford, 10th October 1661

Career: Lawyer – Doctors’ Commons, Knightrider Street, London (Described in ‘David Copperfield’ and referred to by Sherlock Holmes)

Died: Kensington, London, 27th March 1676

Buried: Beneath the chancel in St Bartholomew’s Church, Furtho, Northamptonshire

Edmund Arnold’s Charity – Registered Charity number 260589

Arnold’s Education Foundation – Registered Charity number 310590

https://heyfordprattler.org/arnoldscharity

The Prattler – September 2020

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle, Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

Village Hall – News – September 2020

Great news – the village hall is returning to life! Under the current Government guidance, we are planning to open the hall again on 1st September.

To bring us to this stage, a great deal of work has been done, thanks mainly to the tremendous efforts of two of our Management Committee members – Peter Squire and Pat Paterson – who have spent countless hours over several weeks to interpret the many directives issued by the Government.

To re-open the hall, we must demonstrate through Risk Assessment that the building can be ‘Covid-19 Secure’. This risk assessment highlights the mitigation’s required to exclude the virus from the hall. Some of these will be actions by the Management Committee to provide equipment etc., and others will be actions required by the users. The latter are set out in a Special Conditions of Hire
documents that will be supplied to all users.

Significant changes in the use of the hall will be to restrict the number of people in the hall to a maximum of 30, close the kitchen for the preparation of food and drink, and create a one-way system to access the washrooms from the main hall via the kitchen and back to the hall by the entrance lobby.

Entrance to the hall will remain unchanged but, to avoid people passing each other in the front lobby, exit will be via the front fire escape door.

Users and event organisers will be asked to hold a contact list of their members / guests, and to make that available if required by the Government’s Track & Trace system.

The Risk Assessment and the Special Conditions of Hire will be supplied to all regular users, in both the bookings and documents sections and are also on the website: www.netherheyfordvillagehall.org

If, as a non-regular user, you might consider hiring the hall but would like to know more first, contact Peter Squire on 01327 342167.

The Management Committee is committed to doing everything necessary to keep the hall as safe and Covid-19 Secure as possible but, if you see something that needs to be added, or could be done better, please let us know about it – on Peter’s number above.

And finally, when you return you will be welcomed to a newly decorated hall, in a fresh new colour scheme. We hope you like it.

Alwyne Wilson – 01327 340803

Chairman, Village Hall Management Committee

NetherHeyfordVillageHall-ViceChairAdvertJune2020

Nether_Heyford_Village_Hall_Book_2019

SOFEA Nether Heyford emergency community larder

The community larder deliveries have now ceased after 15 weeks. We hope you found the deliveries useful. If circumstances change and you experience an emergency situation around food or medicine supplies, please do not hesitate to contact one of us and we will endeavour to help and support you.

Charles Kiloh & Lynda Eales 07779 900860 | Jez Wilson 07761 672376 | Sue Boutle 07500 636009 | Faye Brassett 07827 707599 | Rev Stephen Burrow 01327 344436

“Thank you for your support for the Emergency Community Larders that were put in place with your help at Lockdown.  Since then 1588 food boxes have been delivered into Nether Heyford with the help of your local volunteers.  Thank you for your help in communicating this project with and supporting your own village during these unprecedented times.
Thank you again for your part in the Emergency larder, together we delivered 17084 food boxes into 74 villages with over 500 volunteers and 20 charity partners.  A truly magnificent South Northamptonshire response to a global crisis.
It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with you.”
Miranda Wixon – SOFEA
News: 
Could COVID19 have found a cure for loneliness in South Northants?

About My Area 25/08/2020

Volunteers deliver more than 17,000 food boxes to isolated people in need across south Northamptonshire during lockdown‘It’s just been incredible that people want to help each other – it’s been a very uniquely Northamptonshire project’

Daventry Express 27/08/2020

Northampton Chronicle & Echo 27/08/2020

Links: heyfordprattler.org/coronavirus | netherheyfordparishcouncil.org.uk

SOFEA:

SOFEA

Website: www.sofea.uk.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SOFEACommunityLarder
Email: communitylarder@sofea.uk.com
Donate: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sofeacommunitylarder

Nether Heyford Volunteers

Road Closures – A5 between Towcester Roundabout and Weedon 2020 – Update 29th August

NetherHeyfordA5Closed

Key point summary – A5 road closed Towcester (A43) to Weedon (A45)

In the absence of a news bulletin and with local road signs spotted, here is a quick round up of public information about pending/planned road closure notifications relating to the A5. Closures on everyday from Tuesday September 1st to Monday September 14th.

Post Updated with info from News Bulletin 11 on 03/09/2020

Overnight weekday closures: 

  • Tuesday September 1st 8pm to Wednesday September 2nd 6am
  • Wednesday September 2nd 8pm to Thursday September 3rd 6am
  • Thursday September 3rd 8pm  to Friday September 4th 6am

Weekend closure:

  • Friday September 4th 8pm to Monday September 7th 6am
  • Update Bulletin 11: Saturday September 5th 8pm to Monday September 7th 6am

Overnight weekday closures: 

  • Monday September 7th 8pm to Tuesday September 8th 6am
  • Tuesday September 8th 8pm to Wednesday September 9th 6am
  • Wednesday September 9th 8pm to Thursday September 10th 6am
  • Thursday September 10th 8pm  to Friday September 11th 6am

Weekend closure:

  • Friday September 11th 8pm to Monday September 14th 6am
  • Update Bulletin 11: All works to be completed by Friday September 11th

“To maintain a safe environment for our workforce and road users, the A5 will be closed to through traffic between the Towcester Roundabout (A43) and Weedon crossroads during our working hours.” – Forkers Ltd

“Please also note that all our planned road works may be subject to change due to weather conditions, unforeseen circumstances or restrictions placed on us as a result of the Coronavirus emergency.” – Forkers Ltd

Source: www.highwaysengland.co.ukwww.trafficengland.com

For full details of the exact phase locations, diversions and contact details for Forkers Ltd & Highways England see older posts in the A5/M1 Road Closures category

All these works are planned, pending and unconfirmed (as of 29/8/2020 7pm).

Jez Wilson

The Story of Heyford: The train crash of 1951 V3C3

At about 11.20 am on the 21st September 1951, the 8.20 am Liverpool Express to London came off the track at the Stowe Hill Tunnel near Heyford and tipped over in the embankment. The crash killed eight people and another seven died later in hospital. There were also thirty-six other casualties.

David Blagrove, in his book, “Waterways of Northampton” describes how “the railway can be seen plunging into Stowe Hill Tunnel” and it was here that the train, “hauled by the Duchess class Pacific engine, Princess Arthur of Connaught, left the rails shortly after leaving the tunnel at a speed of between sixty and sixty-five miles an hour.”

Engine 46207 Princess Arthur of Connaught

Photo taken by James Banner and lent by Ted Garrett

A prompt response
Frank Denny, the Heyford signal man that day, was the first to realise what happened. His signal box was located about a quarter of a mile from the railway bridge in Furnace Lane, along the stretch of line between Heyford and Bugbrooke. As the signalman, Frank was aware that the train had entered the tunnel from Weedon but he became anxious when it did not reappear. As he looked out of his box, he saw steam rising from the embankment near Tanborough Farm.

Frank instinctively knew something was wrong and realised that his first priority was to halt the Royal Scot which was travelling from London and due to pass at any moment. He therefore rang through to the Banbury Lane signal box at Bugbrooke to get the signal switched to stop. This duly happened the Royal Scot came to a halt near his own box. The driver got out to demand “what the hell is going on.” It was due to Frank’s swift response that a much more serious accident was averted.

MBE
At the same time, Mrs Cecily Hughes, the doctor’s wife at Weedon, took a call from the Weedon Stationmaster to say that the Liverpool Express had failed to clear his section of the line. He asked if she and her husband, Dr Stephen Hughes, would take a look. So far, that was all that anyone knew.

The couple set off in their car, armed with first aid that they always carried. They arrived at the tunnel within seven minutes of the accident. Mrs Hughes describes how they found nothing at the tunnel entrance so they climbed up over the hill – to be greeted by the sight of the crash strewn along the line.

The rescue operation

Photo taken by James Banner and lent by Ted Garrett

The first four coaches were the most damaged and contained the dead and badly injured. The doctor took one side of the train and his wife the other, clearing the debris in order to reach casualties. Mrs Hughes recalls how “Everyone was calm and patient. The last two carriages had not even left the rails and were still upright. They were full of boys returning to boarding school and one of the senior boys took charge, leading the others away from the scene and back to Weedon, to the Globe Inn.”

The doctors found the engine driver, Mr Tomlin, buried up to his shoulders in coal from the tender. It took a while to dig him out but he was quite unhurt, as was the train’s fireman who had clung to the cab as the engine tipped over.

After attending to all the serious casualties, Dr and Mrs Hughes returned to Weedon, only to find that many more people, including some of the rescuers, were waiting for treatment for minor cuts and bruises.

As some of the first medics on the scene, the contribution made by the Hughes’s was invaluable. Mrs Hughes was later awarded the MBE for her part in the rescue operation. She was reluctant to accept at first, as there were also others who had helped at the crash site and she felt that she was only doing her job. However, Mrs Hughes was described as “heroine of the morning” and duly received her medal.

Witnesses
Several Witness also came forward including a bus driver on the A5 who saw the immediate aftermath of the accident and reported it at Weedon station. It was also very fortunate that a police car happened to be passing the scene along Watling Street as it was one of only two police cars fitted with a radio in the entire county. They were able to summon medical help promptly.

Mr George Richardson of London Was driving along the A5 at the time and said: “I saw the train come out of the tunnel and begin to wobble.”

This “wobbling” and lurching was felt by passengers too. One survivor, Mr Blankfield of Liverpool, explained, “I was in a carriage half-way along the train . . . there were four or five jolts and then the train stopped completely.” He described how he and other passengers immediately climbed out of the windows to help others further along the train.

The damage

Photo taken by James Banner and lent by Ted Garrett

Local help
For local people in Heyford who worked near the railway, the sound of trains was a familiar one and you could tell exactly the time of day by the individual noise of each train that passed. When the crash occurred, Mr Gray of Tanborough Farm apparently thought that his wife had knocked over the dresser. But after that, apart from the hissing of the engine, there was an eerie silence.

Word quickly got around and people went up to help. Amongst the first on the scene were Reg and Joan Collins of Wharf Farm. They provided milk churns so that water could be carried up the hill to the casualties. There was no shortage of volunteers to take the churns but at the end of the day. Reg. had to go round and collect them all back again in his tractor and trailer in time for the evening milking.

Joan had to cycle down to Mrs Blaney at the Post Office with messages to be telegrammed to relatives. At this time, there was only the one phone with one public line out of the village. The officials did their telephoning from Holly Lodge which had one of the few phones in Heyford.

Ted Garrett was booking clerk at Weedon Station that day. When the crash happened, communications between Weedon and Heyford were suddenly lost, so they knew that something was amiss. In fact, as the train was thrown from the track, it had brought down the telegraph poles and cut all contact. A message finally arrived at Weedon via Roade Station that there had indeed been a crash. Ted Garrett was given charge to inform the army located at Weedon Depot and ask them to help at the crash site.

Frank Smith arrived with the Daventry ambulance and took the first casualties to Northampton General. He was actually on his second trip to the hospital by the time other ambulances appeared. Then the army from Weedon arrived to help. As they appeared over the hill, people recalled that it looked as though they were on manoeuvres.

Retired district nurse, Miss Raynor – over 70 years of age – walked two miles from Weedon to the crash site with a case of medical supplies. The Salvation Army and the W.V.S. set up mobile canteens and were there all day. The women from the Heyford railway cottages brought up hot tea for the survivors and people also brought blankets and sheets. The sheets were torn up to make bandages and the blankets kept the survivors warm. These were, of course, not returned but compensation was later given to those who had provided them.

The curse of the tunnel
The crash was reported in the national media and was news on the BBC Home Service. Local papers were full of the story; Northampton’s Chronicle and Echo carried the banner headline “8 KILLED IN WEEDON TRAIN CRASH” although this figure was unfortunately to rise. The Daventry paper went further and wondered if there was a more sinister aspect to Stowe Hill Tunnel. The paper reported that at the same spot in 1915 there had been another fatal train crash.

There were similarities between the two railway accidents. Both occurred about the same time of year with trains that had left at the same time in the morning. On 14th August 1915, the Irish Mail left Euston at 8.30 am and it too was disrailed; this time as it left the tunnel at the Weedon end heading north. The crash killed nine and injured 13 and many of those on board were troops in service during World War One.

However, despite the comparisons, the crash of 1915 was caused by a broken coupling left by a passing train. The coupling had ploughed into the track and so dislodged the oncoming mail train.

Board of Trade
In both crashes, the stretch of line was not found to be at fault. In 1951, the investigation by the Board of Trade was led by Lieutenant-Colonel G.R.S. Wilson. He concluded that the engine (number 46207 for train buffs) had an axle incorrectly fitted after its servicing at Crewe. The axle was slightly too tight, enough to cause a problem when it reached Stowe Hill Tunnel. There is a small change in rail type leading in and out of the tunnel (from flat bottom to bull head track) and, with the axle too tight, the Express dislodged when it went over these rails. The service engineer responsible at Crewe was named but, this being the 50’s and not the 90’s, there was no huge compensation claim or court case.

The engine itself had embedded in the soft clay around Stowe Hill and actually suffered little damage. However, it took almost a month before it could be lifted because of the steep ditch of the embankment. The engine had to be lifted out by a crane and villagers can remember its massive size as it was hauled into the air. It was then towed back to Crewe and was running again within six weeks. Driver Tomlin actually drove the Liverpool Express one more time to London, but never again after that.

By Sarah Croutear. A number of people have contributed to this story but we must give particular thanks to Joan Collins, Ted Garrett, Cecily Hughes and Doris Lovell, Frank Denny’s daughter.

~~

Added 2020:

British Pathe News

24/09/1951 – Many Killed In Train Wreck – A train crash kills several people and injures many more in Weedon

British Movietone News

24/09/1951 – Tragedy occurred aboard the Liverpool-London express train recently, when it crashed at Weedon, Northants., The locomotive plunging down an embankment, derailing all fifteen coaches. It is feared that, at least, seven people were killed and many more injured.

The Illustrated London News

September 29th 1951

Britain From Above

Wreckage of the 8.20am Express Service from Liverpool to Euston (46207 Princess Arthur of Connaught) on the section of track along from the Stowehill Tunnel (the Weedon Rail Crash), Nether Heyford, 1951
LMS Princess Royal Class No 46207 Princess Arthur of Connaught
LMS Princess Royal 6207 “Princess Arthur of Connaught”

https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW040105

No. 6207, A Study in Steel (1935) LMS

Shot and produced in 1935 this film details the construction of Princess Royal Class no. 6207 ‘Princess Arthur of Connaught’, from raw materials to complete locomotive.

Ministry of Transport Crash Report

Report on the Derailment which occurred on 21st September 1951 near Weedon in the London Midland Region British Railways

“The 8.20 a.m. Up express passenger train from Liverpool to Euston, comprising 15 bogie coaches hauled by a Pacific type engine, was travelling at 60-65 m.p.h. on the leaving transition of a left handed curve of about 50 chains radius, when the leading bogie wheels of the engine were derailed to the right ; the cause was an engine defect. The derailment was not noticed by the enginemen at this stage and the train continued forward at speed for more than £¾ mile on the straight without serious damage to the flat bottom track. No more wheels were derailed until the train reached the bull head rails just beyond the short Stowe Hill tunnel, when the leading bogie wheels began to smash the chairs and break up the track with the result that the whole of the train left the rails except for the last two vehicles.

The engine went down the 12 ft. embankment to the left, and fell on its left hand side: on soft ground. The wreckage of the coaches at the front of the train was severe, and I regret to state that seven passengers and one of the dining car staff were killed outright and seven passengers died subsequently in hospital. In addition, 26 passengers, the engine driver, and nine members of the dining car staff were admitted to hospital, or 36 persons in all, of whom 15 were discharged on the same day, and 25 others sustained minor injuries or shock. The driver, who was on the left hand side of the footplate, had a fortunate escape from serious injury when he was buried in coal from the tender as the engine overturned ; the fireman clung to the right hand side of the cab and was unhurt.

The wreckage of the eight leading coaches was piled behind and alongside the overturned engine across both the tracks. It was seen by the signalman at Heyford box 950 yards ahead when he heard the noise of the final derailment, and he stopped the approaching Down “Royal Scot” express at his outer home signal at 11.19 am., and afterwards drew it forward to the box. The block and telephone wires northward were severed, but the signalman got a message through to the Control via Blisworth, the next junction box to the south. Medical and other assistance was also summoned from all possible sources by some officers of the Metropolitan Police who had seen the wreckage from their car on the neighbouring main road. The Northamptonshire County Police were quickly on the scene and performed outstanding services in co-ordinating the work of rescue.”

Magazine Article

Jez Wilson – Updates added September 2020

~~

Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 3 of 4 | Chapter 3 of 17 | Page 4 to 7

TheStoryOfHeyford_NetherHeyford_Footer

Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

Nether Heyford & Upper Heyford Neighbourhood Watch – How to Join

STEP 1: JOIN THE OURWATCH.ORG.UK NATIONAL NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH WEBSITE

Visit www.ourwatch.org.uk/scheme/25380/nether-heyford-and-upper-heyford – select the middle box – “Not a member yet ? – JOIN”

Complete your details in the online form (Name, Postcode, Email Address) then click the “Join Us” box. You will then receive a code via email which is needed to enter on the next screen for verification. Complete further details via the next online form (House Number, Check Map Marker, Year of Birth, Choose a password)

Options are now given to subscribe to email messages from other licenced information providers: Fire & Rescue Service | Get Safe Online | Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner | SGN (Gas Emergency Service) | The Police | Action Fraud (NFIB)

You are now successfully registered as a member of www.ourwatch.org.uk – You will receive an email with your unique membership number. [Keep your membership number safe as it can be used to claim discounts and member benefits]

STEP 2: JOIN THE LOCAL NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH SCHEME FOR NETHER HEYFORD AND UPPER HEYFORD

Select the option “SCHEME ADMIN” from the top navigation menu – Then select “Nether Heyford and Upper Heyford” from your local schemes options to join.

STEP 3: SIGN UP TO NORTHAMPTONSHIRE NEIGHBOURHOOD EMAIL ALERTS FOR NETHER HEYFORD AND UPPER HEYFORD

Select the option “MESSAGES” from the top navigation menu and then select “Alerting Areas”. Use the region options next to the map and using the + symbol select England > East Midlands > Northamptonshire > South Northants District > S014 Heyfords and Bugbrooke – then tick the box and finish by clicking the yellow box “Save extra alerting level”

You should now be fully signed up. If you experience any difficulties please visit: www.ourwatch.org.uk/scheme/25380/nether-heyford-and-upper-heyford and use the button “Send a message EMAIL SCHEME COORDINATOR”

Northamptonshire Neighbourhood Alert is a free messaging service that allows Northamptonshire Police, Neighbourhood Watch and other partner organisations keep you informed about issues in your area that are relevant to you. Once you’ve signed up you’ll receive information about crime and suspicious activity where you live or work – helping to prevent and detect crime and anti-social behaviour.

Jez Wilson – August 2020

The Prattler – Editors Notes – July & August 2020

Editors Note

This Prattler covers the months of July and August. The next one will be published on
September 1st by which time hopefully we will be more or less back to normal with our
clubs and activities.

Thanks are due to everyone that has helped and entertained the villages during the
lockdown. The community spirit of the Heyfords is alive and well.

Sue

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle,
Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and
Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future
issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford
Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as
our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

Advertising in The Prattler

Advertising costs per month:
£5 for a small business card advert
£10 for a quarter page
£15 for half a page
£30 for a full page

For more information and examples of advertising visit: https://heyfordprattler.org/contact