Blessing of Lincolnshire's gritters postponed

Image caption The blessing has been postponed so back-to-back salt runs can be carried out

The Bishop of Lincoln's annual blessing of the county's gritters has been postponed for the first time.

The Right Reverend Dr John Saxbee has carried out the ceremony since 2003 in a bid to cut road crashes.

He had been due to bless the vehicles at Sturton-on-Stowe depot on Tuesday, but the event is now being rescheduled so salt runs are not interrupted.

At the moment, crews need to be able to get straight back onto the roads, according to the county council.

David Davies, the authority's principal maintenance engineer, said: "The gritter blessings play an important role in highlighting the need for motorists to take extreme care and the brave work carried out by our gritting teams.

'Morale boost'

"However, with the crews expected to be extremely busy carrying out constant gritting runs tomorrow evening, the decision has been taken to postpone the scheduled blessings.

"The blessings can also provide an important morale boost for the drivers, but they along with the Bishop understand that rearranging the event to a time which isn't delaying the vital work taking place is the appropriate thing to do."

Church leaders were due to simultaneously carry out ceremonies at the county's other depots at the same time as the Sturton-on-Stowe blessing.

Bishop Saxbee, who is due to retire in January, said past events had been followed by a reduction in road deaths, which was "perhaps not a coincidence".

Over the past week, Lincolnshire has seen some of the coldest temperatures in the East Midlands, and conditions are not forecast to improve until the end of the week.

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