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New fleet of Warwickshire gritters are given jaunty names by imaginative public

GRITTERS that have been added to the county council’s fleet have been given names by the public.

Warwickshire County Council asked people to pick names for the five new vehicles in a competition in October. The rules were simple – be creative, original and funny – and the public did not disappoint, with hundreds of suggestions.

After the competition closed, the challenge for the council was to pick from the huge list of suggestions, ranging from the subtly brilliant Slip-not to the less subtle Snowgone-o-Saurus Rex, to come up with a list of names that were announced this week.

The new gritters’ names are:

Usain Salt

Professor Chris Gritty

Gritta Thunberg

Snowbi-Gone Kenobi

The Mighty Thaw

Charlie Boy

Grey13 Hero

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed there are seven names on the list when the initial competition only sought names for five gritters. The reason is that two of the names – Charlie Boy and Grey13 Hero – stood out to council officers as particularly poignant.

Charlie Boy is named in memory of Charlie Round, a little boy from Tamworth who lost his battle with a rare form of childhood cancer in 2017. The gritter bearing this name will serve the area where Charlie and his family lived. Grey13 Hero is named in memory of Jack Mitchell (John Arthur Mitchell) and was put forward by his daughter, Alison Mitchell.

Jack worked for Warwickshire County Council for more than 50 years, including on the gritting fleet at a time when the service was carried out by shovelling the grit off the back of a truck. Grey13 was Jack’s call sign from his time working on the gritters. The gritter bearing his name will serve the area of Cubbington, where Jack lived.

Cllr Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for transport and highways, said: “One of the things to have come out of the pandemic has been a massive increase in the engagement with residents and the council on social media. This naming scheme has really benefitted; without it, we may never have heard about the stories of Charlie and Jack, which would have been a shame as we were only too happy to help with a suitable tribute.

“Our gritting fleet in Warwickshire does a fantastic job keeping the network running smoothly across the winter months. The five new gritters joining the fleet are a welcome addition to our efforts as a council of ensuring residents are supported by excellent transport infrastructure.”

Every time weather requires gritting, the county fleet treats approximately 1,100 miles of carriageway over 29 different routes. The average

number of times that there is a requirement to treat roads is approximately 60 per year, so it is in the region of 66,000 miles per annum travelled by Warwickshire gritters. That’s around three times round the entire planet.

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