Line-l Richie spotted marking up sports pitches in Solihull!

When Solihull Council’s environmental contractors, Veolia and idverde, challenged local school children to name their new Robot Pitch Marker, there were lots of creative suggestions, so it wasn’t Easy to pick a winner. But ten-year-old Ella from Elmdon proved she was The Only One, impressing the judges with her suggestion of ‘Line-l Richie’ after hearing her dad’s Lionel Richie CDs.

Ella not only won a £100 gift voucher and certificate, but the chance for a school or club of her choice to have their pitch marked up by the newly named Line-l Richie Robot Pitch Marker. Unfortunately, shortly after winning the competition Ella became very ill and had to go to hospital. By the time she was better her own school had marked up their pitches so she decided to donate the free pitch marking prize to Reynalds Cross School where her mum works as a teaching assistant.

Ella said: “I was so excited when I found out I’d won the competition and I’m really glad mum’s school will be one of the first to get its football pitch marked up by Line-l Richie! It’s really nice to be able to help the school and the children who go there.”

Cllr Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said: “We had some great entries, but Line-l Richie made me laugh as soon as I saw it. I know Ella has had a difficult time with her illness so I’m especially pleased that she won idverde’s competition and that Reynalds Cross School – which works so hard for our children with severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviours – has benefitted too.“

Tim Mcgibbon, Contract Manager for idverde, said: “We were really impressed by the fantastic entries to the naming competition. Ella is a deserving winner and we hope that she is proud of the clever name she came up with, and winning the pitch mark-up for her school. Well done Ella!”

Line-l Richie is fully autonomous and can paint Solihull’s pitches at the click of a button using virtual mapping software. Traditional methods take around two hours per pitch, but the new robot takes just 25 minutes making the service both more time efficient and more accurate than marking up the pitch manually.

Once programmed, the robot gets on with the task, allowing staff to carry out other essential tasks in the park. The robot uses environmentally friendly ready-mixed paint and is fitted with safety sensors so the robot senses anything – human or animal - in its path and stops. It is also fitted with a tracking device so can be easily tracked and found if taken.