Carmarthenshire County Council’s highways team have made a Carmarthen teenager’s wish come true, giving her a chance to ride in one of its gritting lorries.
Fifteen-year-old Ashleigh Harrison, of Johnstown, loves to see the gritting crews pass her front room window when they are dispatched from the nearby depot to treat county highways ahead of freezing weather conditions.
Ashleigh, a pupil of QE High School’s Canolfan Elfed inclusion centre for children with additional needs, keeps an eye on weather forecasts and waits to see the crews pass by with their flashing orange lights.
Her older brother Elliott wrote to the council to ask if he could arrange for his sister to visit, saying the experience would be a dream come true.
During her visit to the Cillefwr Depot, Ashleigh had the chance to sit in the cab and ride around the yard, saw the huge mound of salt and grit in the barn, see the equipment used to load the gritters and saw all the lorries parked in the yard ready for action.
She was also presented with giant soft toy bunny, complete with high-visibility jacket, as a memento of her visit.
Ashleigh’s mother Helen said her daughter was ‘over the moon’ and thanked the council for making it happen.
“She was a big gritter fan before – now she is a huge gritter fan,” she said.
“To say she was over the moon is an understatement, she loved every minute of it and loves her rabbit who she has called Gary.”
Her brother Elliott added: “I sent the email but didn’t think it would get anywhere, and we were chuffed when the manager got in touch to say they could arrange a visit.
“She loves seeing the gritters pass our house. This is all she’s going to talk about for months and she’ll tell everyone at school about it.”
Carmarthenshire County Council has a fleet of 21 winter maintenance lorries that treat around a third of the county’s 3,526 kilometres of highway within three hours of a bad weather warning.
Around 14,000 tonnes of salt is kept in stock, used when forecasts show road surface temperatures could drop to freezing point.
Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “We were so pleased to be able to make Ashleigh’s dream come true. Our staff were delighted to meet Ashleigh and her family and had great pleasure showing her around the depot and the gritting lorries. I’d like to thank everyone who helped make this happen.”