Shropshire Star

Spready Mercury, meet . . . Spready Mercury

Spready Mercury the gritting lorry met Spready Mercury the pedestrian salt spreader at a Shropshire primary school.

Councillor Kirstie Hurst-Knight and Hugo Harris, 7, with the two Spready Mercurys

Castlefields Primary School, in Bridgnorth, was the first school in the county to take up Shropshire Council’s offer of a free salt spreader – plus salt – for treating nearby paths during spells of wintry weather.

The school held a competition to name the spreader, with Spready Mercury the winning name.

With Shropshire Council already having a gritter of the same name – following a public vote in 2020 – the council arranged for the lorry to visit the school pupils and its namesake.

Spready Mercury is one of 25 gritting lorries used to treat roads across Shropshire during cold spells, such as the one experienced this week.

Since Monday the fleet of gritters, and their drivers, have been out a dozen times to help keep the roads safe.

Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for children and education, said: “Working with schools is a great way to ensure that the approaches to each school is treated during spells of icy weather, and to help children stay safe on their way to and from school.

“If any other schools would like to work with us we invite them to let us know.”

Rebecca Lee, headteacher of Castlefields Primary, said: “We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Shropshire Council in this way. We will be able to monitor the situation locally and use our salt spreader when necessary.”

Richard Marshall, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “With thousands of miles of roads and pavements in the county, it’s just not possible for us to treat all roads and pavements in the county – though we will treat pavements near schools during prolonged spells of sub-zero temperatures.

“Providing schools with salt and a spreader means that they can treat pavements at all other times, when temperatures drop and pavements may be icy.”

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