Winter maintenance vehicle manufacturer Econ Engineering is celebrating the start of 50 years in business with a series of events that will see its products showcased across the UK.

Econ, which is the UK's largest spreader and road mending vehicle manufacturer, employs over 200 staff at its HQ and manufacturing base in Ripon, North Yorkshire, where hundreds of the UK's fleet of winter maintenance vehicles are also stored and serviced each year.

To celebrate 50 years, the company has built a unique golden gritter that will tour the UK in the autumn, visiting communities across the UK. In the meantime, the one-off vehicle will be making an appearance at the Cold Comfort trade show in Harrogate on 15 and 16 May, before returning to Econ's Gritter Museum, a showroom of historic machinery based at its factory.

Econ is the largest employer in its home city of Ripon, and the company now produces 80% of all the salt spreading vehicles used on the UK's roads. The £28m turnover family business continues to recruit new staff after a dramatic upsurge in orders from local authorities and other clients.

Econ sales director Andrew Lupton said: ‘We're really proud of the team and their work, and we recruit people from all over the local area in any number of roles, from welders and mechanics to designers, engineers and administrative and accounts people.'

He added: ‘The Golden Gritter is unique, and is a symbol of what we hope will be another 50 years as a vibrant and innovative manufacturing business. We currently produce 80% of the gritters operating on British roads, and with our fleet of 750 spreaders, we also run the country's largest hire fleet, which puts us at the forefront of Britain's winter maintenance operations.'