IT is hard to contemplate winter is on the way after the warm blast brought in by the tailspin of Hurricane Ophelia.
But the unseasonally high temperatures haven’t been enough to save some of Oldham Council’s favourite ‘employees’.
After years of service keeping roads free of ice and snow gritters: Freddie Salted; Grittersaurus; Goliath; Walter the Salter; Gritterbug; Gritney Spears; Gritanator and Thor have been retired to the big depot in the sky.
The incredible eight clocked up more than 1.2 million miles – more than five times the distance from the earth to the moon – keeping roads, including some of the highest in the region, clear during the winter months.
In that time, they have put down more than 20,000 tonnes of salt – around the same weight as 5,000 Asian elephants.
However, the newest member of the fleet, Nicole Saltslinger, has survived the cull.
Last year’s vehicle still has the X Factor and when the cold weather eventually arrives she’ll be out and about helping to keep the borough moving.
So Nicole doesn’t feel all alone this year she’ll be joined by seven new gritters.
Oldham Council is asking Shaw and Crompton’s young people to come up with a name for each new addition to our team.
Go online: www.oldham.gov.uk/nameagritter to send in your suggestions along with your details. You can send in one name or as many as you want.
Once the winning entries have been chosen the gritter will then be branded with its new name on the front of the cab.
The Council will also be inviting the winners along to be photographed with the machine they have named.
The competition is open to all school age children aged 16 and under, who either live in Oldham or attend a school in the borough.
The competition closes for entries at noon on Sunday, October 22.
Cllr Fida Hussain, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Due to wear and tear the time has come to replace them so they, and their drivers, can continue to play a vital role in helping to keep the borough moving during cold spells.
“Every time we’ve run a similar competition it has been well received by the public.
“Last year from a single tweet more than 70,000 people engaged with us and some of the suggestions we had were fantastic.
“We even took the silly suggestions with a pinch of salt.
“Although this has all been a bit of fun it also helped teach our young people about road safety and how we keep our roads safe in cold weather.”