The Bishop of Lincoln will bless Lincolnshire's gritters in the hope of cutting the number of winter crashes. The Right Reverend Dr John Saxbee, who retires in January, has blessed the county's fleet each year since 2003.
He said past ceremonies had been followed by a reduction in road deaths, which was "perhaps not a coincidence". The blessing takes place at Sturton by Stow on 7 December, with church leaders simultaneously carrying out ceremonies at the county's other depots. Bishop Saxbee said: "These annual 'Blessing of the Gritters' events have coincided with a dramatic reduction in the number of fatalities on Lincolnshire's roads.
"Perhaps that is not a coincidence, and as I look to my retirement in January I hope and pray that driving carefully and arriving safely will continue to matter to all who use our road network in the years ahead." On the day of the blessing at Sturton by Stow, prayers will also be read at depots in North Willingham, Horncastle, Ancaster, Manby, Boston, Pode Hole and Thurlby.
David Davies, principal maintenance engineer for the county's highways, said: "We are proud to be hosting the annual blessing events in Lincolnshire for the eighth year running. Lincolnshire County Council's gritting crews carry out vitally important work to help protect us all throughout the county. The blessings not only are to pray for their safety but play a crucial role in highlighting the need for motorists to drive carefully during the winter period, whether a route has been treated or not. Salt can be a big help, but is not a complete cure."