November 24, 2021 5.18 pm

Bishop blesses Lincolnshire gritters as winter weather looms

Lincolnshire has 43 gritters at the ready

The Bishop of Grimsby, the Right Reverend Dr David Court, bestowed blessings on Lincolnshire’s gritters during a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

The annual ceremony took place at Lincolnshire County Council’s Sturton by Stow depot on November 24.

The ceremony plays a meaningful part in the county’s winter preparations, which include assessing salt stocks and test-driving the gritters before icy weather sets in.

This year Lincolnshire County Council has 43 gritters and 29,000 tonnes of salt ready for use – view the gritting routes in Lincolnshire here.

Ready to bless the gritters at Lincolnshire County Council’s depot in Sturton by Stow. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Bishop of Grimsby, the Rt Revd Dr. David Court, carried out the blessing. He told The Lincolnite: “It is a privilege to come and get involved, to bless a group of people who are making a difference to our community.

“One of the privileges of the role is getting involved in events like this. This is quite unique as it is the only one nationally that happens annually that we know of, which makes it extra special.

“There’s something about the connection with the county and the church honouring the hidden people doing amazing work in our county.”

The Bishop of Grimsby, the Rt Revd Dr. David Court inside a gritter lorry being instructed by LCC’s Network Resilience Manager Darrell Redford. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Darrell Redford, Network Resilience Manager, said: “If the job wasn’t done there would be a lot of ice on the roads and it would bring the county to a standstill. The team do a fantastic job.

“If there is bad snow we would have to reprogram what we do as the shortage of drivers is a national problem. We have to be safe in what we do and we have enough to cope with the demand.”

Regarding preparing the gritters for winter in Lincolnshire, he added: “It is a big operation and we are already ordering chassis for the gritters for October 2023, we need to think ahead.”

The Bishop of Grimsby, the Rt Revd Dr. David Court discussing gritting with Darrell Redford, Network Resilience Manager for Lincolnshire County Council. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “With winter just around the corner, our gritters are well-prepared, having been out on training runs and testing out routes that will treat nearly 2,000 miles of county roads.

“The Bishop’s blessing will see our teams through the colder months ahead. This year, we have a fleet of 43 gritters and 29,000 tonnes of salt ready for use.

“But remember: even treated roads can be dangerous, so please take care and drive to the conditions. Motorists can find out more by following @LincsCC_roads on Twitter for the latest.”

This year Lincolnshire County Council has 43 gritters and 29,000 tonnes of salt ready for use. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Sometimes, the county council runs competitions to name the gritters, but there was no naming campaign this year. In 2019, the winning names were The Spread Arrows, Sir Ice-acc Newton, The Jolly Gritterman, and Mar-grit Thatcher.

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