Huge crane ‘Lifty McShifty’ officially named as Derbyshire bedrock smashed for flood defences

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Images courtesy of Chris Cookman Photography / Environment Agency.

From snowploughs and lifeboats to rubbish trucks and now cranes, we Brits love naming our heroic vehicles and machines.

Now the name of the huge 800-tonne crane that has graced the Matlock landscape since the beginning of August will be unveiled by the Mayor of Matlock, Councillor Paul Cruise, at a naming ceremony today (Wednesday 28 September).

Following a family-fun ‘Name the Crane Day’ held on 10 August, over 1,400 people have cast their vote for their favourite name, either in person or online. The well-attended event raised £500 in charity donations for Air Ambulance.

Over 100 different names were suggested for the crane and the public were invited to vote from the top 5 shortlisted. The overwhelming majority (63%) favoured ‘Lifty McShifty’. The winning name will be displayed on the crane itself as well as posters erected around the site.

The competition winner will be awarded with prizes donated by Ainscough Crane Hire Ltd and Heights of Abraham at the naming ceremony at 12:30pm on Wednesday 28 September. Also in attendance will be Sarah Dines, MP for Derbyshire Dales, and the Civic Chairman of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Councillor Graham Elliott, as well as other community leaders.

The crane is situated on the A6 and is being used to assist in carrying out work to reinstate the River Derwent flood defences. 600 2-tonne bags were lifted into the river to form a working platform for piling works to take place.

25 sheet piles have so far been placed, with a further 37 scheduled for installation by the end of October, to make the defences winter ready and plug the gap created by the collapse of a flood wall following the February floods this year.

Two special piling machines called ‘Giken Supercrush’ are on site to place the piles deep into the limestone bedrock; this is a slow process due to the sheer hardness of the bedrock and it has to be done carefully.

Naomi Doughty, Project Manager for the Environment Agency, said:

“Progress on the Matlock flood defence work is going well, and we have now completed 150 working days, so we are around one third through the main construction works. If the weather remains favourable, we will keep going with the aim of building the flood wall by early next year.

“We understand there are only 8 ‘Giken Supercrush’ machines in the country and 2 of these are at Matlock! Last week we hosted a visit from the Japanese manufacturer to review the progress, so we’ve had international interest in our project!

“The Derbyshire limestone is proving a hard nut to crack but we’re rising to the challenge under the technical guidance of national and international industry experts.

“We’re grateful to the community for their continued support and understanding whilst we build these essential flood defence works and apologise for temporary disruption caused by the construction works.”

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