A Staffordshire ice cream van man with a heart of gold has been voted the best in the UK .
Karl Simcock was voted the best ice cream mobiler by The Ice Cream Alliance – the trade association for the UK’s £1bn ice cream industry.
The award comes as Karl celebrates 25 years since launching Tony’s Ices –named in honour of his brother who died in a car accident aged just 10.
Now he has a fleet of seven ice cream vans serving the people of Staffordshire and is assisted by his daughters Hannah and Kayleigh.
Judges were particularly touched by Karl’s dedication to his local community and in particular his fundraising for the charity A Child of Mine, which supports bereaved families who have lost children.
Last year Karl, who is based in Stafford, raised more £2000 for the charity and this year he is planning on running further fundraising events and will give a bereaved family the opportunity to have one of his vans named after their lost child as a tribute.
Zelica Carr, Chief Executive Officer of The Ice Cream Alliance said: “Karl is a worthy winner of this award - he serves ice cream with a smile on his face just as it should be.
“Karl has a heart of gold and is dedicated to providing exemplary service to his customers and his community.”
Karl, 43, started the business when he was just 18 with £1,000 to buy his first van. Now his fleet of vans are a familiar sight around the streets and parks of Staffordshire and at special events.
“I am completely overjoyed to win this award – it is such an honour. For the ice cream industry this is the equivalent of a movie star winning an Oscar,” said Karl.
“Last year I was so happy to be a finalist and I thought that was a fantastic achievement but to go on and win it this year is something I could only dream about.
“I don’t mind admitting that when my name was announced there was a tear in my eye – it is such a big achievement and I’m so proud of my family and business partner Zara Taylor who have been so supportive.
“There has never been anything else that I wanted to do. My dad was in the ice cream business for a while and I picked up the bug from him.
“Ice cream is in my blood I just get so much satisfaction from seeing the smile on kid’s faces when you hand them an ice cream. It’s magical.
“It’s also been a joy to help Gayle Routledge who set up A Child of Mine charity after she lost her young son through cancer to help other bereaved parents cope.
“Losing my brother when he was 10 was terrible for me but it must have been even worse for my parents and I’d like to think I have put a smile on Tony’s face when he looks down and sees our vans and our award!”
The Mobiler of the Year Award was sponsored by ice cream industry insurance specialists Slade Edwards. Associate Director Anthony Birch in presenting Karl with his trophy said:" Karl is a real credit to the industry and is a wonderful example to all of the UK's ice cream mobilers."
Karl Simcock can be contacted on 07581 358213. More info on the ICA can be found at www.ice-cream.org