Primary pupils rise to gritter challenge

Competition winners Poppy Knight, Kitty Miller and Elise Price with the new gritters


Kent primary school children have put their heads together to help keep the roads free from ice this winter.

They have come up with some ingenious names for a new £1m fleet of gritters.

The gritters will be run by Medway Council contractor Volker Highways, which teamed up with the KM Charity Team to run a competition with schools to provide fun names for the eight vehicles.

There were 1,086 entries, and the winners were presented with goody bags by Volker Highways at a VIP presentation during which the newly named gritters were unveiled.

Eight-year-old James Taylor from Sandwich Junior School named one truck Grinter, saying: “A gritter truck is used in winter so I put gritter and winter together, which makes Grinter.”

Elise Price, 5, from Snodland CEP came up with ‘Up Town Grit You Up’. She said: “It’s after my favourite song by Bruno Mars, and gritters go all around town gritting everything up.”

Vincent Ibekwem, 7, from Hoo St Werburgh Primary School thought of ‘Pretty Polly the Gritter Lorry’, and it was hard to find fault with his explanation. He said: “It rhymes and sounds funny.”

The name chosen by Kitty Miller, 9, from Laddingford St Mary’s Primary School was ‘Gecko the Gritter’.

Kitty said: “Geckos have sticky feet so it will help the grit stick to the road. And geckos come from hot countries, so when Gecko the Gritter comes out his name might encourage the sun to come out and melt the snow and ice.”

And fellow Laddingford pupil Poppy Knight, 5, thought of ‘Sir Grittalot’, saying gritters “are the knights of the road in winter”.

KM Charity Team chief executive Simon Dolby said: “It’s been such fun working on this competition but so hard to pick a winner.

“There were so many brilliant entries, making it so difficult to narrow down the best eight.

“I’d like to thank Volker Highways for teaming up with us for this initiative. Anything that gets people thinking about being prepared for winter roads is likely to have positive effects in making people think about road safety.

“And the competition also provided young children with a great opportunity to use their imaginations and practise their literacy skills.”

Each gritter cost £120,000, and the 24/7 service will be staffed by a team of 16 drivers. The trucks are due to go into operation for the first time this winter.

Volker Highways, which is a supporter of the KM Charity Team’s walk to school initiative Super Wow, has been working with Medway Council for 11 years.

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