SPREADY OR NOT… Encouraging people to help name anything can often end in a Boaty McBoatface-shaped disaster, but Doncaster Council is taking a more nuanced approach to naming the city’s two new gritting machines. The council’s social media team has held a World Cup-style tournament to determine the public’s favourite names for the gritters, based on suggestions across Twitter. At the time of writing, the semi-final polls are taking place with Spready Mercury and Gritsy Witsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney currently neck-and-neck in one; while David Plowie is storming ahead of rival name Basil Salty in the second. Other names that didn’t quite make the cut included Lionel Gritchie and Gritney Houston. Whatever the two gritters end up being called, they will join a fleet of machines that already includes Gritney Spears and Usain Salt. You can cast your vote here.

Hello Tech Nation

HOORAH… A snap funding announcement before the Budget apparently caught bosses at Tech City UK and Tech North by surprise. Their current funding round was due to expire in spring 2018 and bids for the next round were with ministers. Prime Minister May decided to step in and deliver the good news of £21m over four years, and merge the pair into a rebranded Tech Nation. The quangos – which seem more useful than most Government agencies – can continue spreading the word of the UK’s digital sector, organising accelerator programmes and improving skills. One word of caution though – £21m over four years will now be spread across an expanded network of 11 regional offices – less than £500,000 a year for each. Tech North’s previous annual budget was £2m. Macron puts the equivalent of £18m a year into La France Tech.

OBI Man City

The successful Blues at last year’s charity match, managed by Dennis Tueart

MATCH… Anyone with a couple of hours to kill in South Manchester this evening could do worse than head to the J Davidson Stadium, Altrincham, for the second instalment of Reds v Blues, the corporate charity football ‘Manchester derby with a difference’, in aid of the Factory Youth Zone. Both sides are made up of fans who pay to play, and are managed by club legends; from Manchester City, Dennis Tueart, and for the Reds, former Everton and Manchester United player Phil Neville. Last year’s clash saw the City team triumph 6-1, with the help of an own goal from an ashen-faced Alex Russell of Property Alliance Group. Better luck this time…

Ben Sherman Liverpool ONE

EVERYBODY IN… Ben Sherman is holding charity concerts in three stores across the country to help support homeless charity Crisis and its Everybody In campaign, which aims to end homelessness in the UK. The retailer’s store in Liverpool One will be hosting a concert, alongside Ben Sherman shops in London and Birmingham. Local indie band Weekend Wars will be making an appearance at the Liverpool shope on 14 December, and Ben Sherman will also be producing a special t-shirt with £5 from every sale going towards Crisis’ campaign. The charity is aiming to publish its plans for the Everybody In campaign in April 2018.

THANK EWE… Salford residents were treated to the spectacle of 82-year-old artist Harold Riley driving four sheep along the Crescent yesterday. The local artist, who sold his first painting to the City Art Gallery when he was just 11 years old, was awarded the freedom of the city by Mayor Paul Dennett at a ceremony at the Salford Museum & Art Gallery. After the award, Riley chose to celebrate the traditional way. The four sheep – named Alan, Albert, Bubba Gump, and Forest – were driven along the Crescent, accompanied by Riley, who also chose to carry a drawn sword, another traditional right the freedom of the city allows. Dennett said: “This award is our way of saying thank you to him for his unceasing support for Salford, his legendary generosity towards local, national and international good causes and for documenting the changing face of our great city.”

NO REGRETS… Proposals for Manchester’s Trinity Islands, which is to include the city’s tallest tower, have been subject to a series of changes and tweaks over the years, and now developer and Allied London chief Mike Ingall has cryptically tweeted he wanted to be “braver” with the development’s design. Initial plans for the project included a tower cluster linked by interconnecting bridges, but these were scrapped in the latest iteration of a planning application for the scheme, submitted in March this year. Judging by his latest statement, Ingall might be having a few regrets over ditching the bridges – is there still time to bring them back?

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