Proud Givoanni Rozzo has become Britain’s oldest ice cream man aged 103 after his family bought and restored a van identical to one he drove in the 1960s.
Givonanni has been handed the keys to a lovingly-restored vintage Bedford HA ‘Batmobile-style’ van after relatives raised £15,000 to treat him.
He officially ‘retired’ in 1995 after spending 27 years selling ice creams in the centre of Cambridge where he become a much-loved local character.
Now the grand-dad of four is set to get behind the wheel of the the fully functional van again – but only for special events such as wedding and fayres.
His new van comes complete with a built-in-freezer and supply of Rossi’s of London ice cream, with the sound of O Sole Mio tinkling out over the speaker.
The father-of-three, who is also the UK’s oldest driver, said: “The van is exactly like the one I had in 1966, and I’m delighted to have it.
“It is very exciting to get behind the wheel again.”
Back in the 60s Giovanni donned a smart uniform with his Lyons Maid van, selling cornets and lollies to all.
His grandson Carl Rozzo said: “He’s long been retired from running his ice cream business in the city, but he’s very proud of it.
“We felt it would be nice to see if we could get him the same van that he actually started out in, in 1966, as a present.
“We managed to find one, and have spent some money on properly restoring it and rebuilding the engine.
“It’s called a Batmobile, because like Batman’s car, it’s got a bulbous front and tail fins.
“I don’t imagine he’ll go out selling on the streets again, but he could maybe take it to special events, like weddings.”
Giovanni emigrated to Britain from Italy in the early 1950s to look for work where he came to Cambridge and established a successful ice cream business, at one stage operating six vans in and around the city.
But he began his career in England as a train driver for British Rail for six years, before working as a milkman for the Co-operative.
He carried on driving one of the vans himself until he retired, aged 82, and still motors around Cambridge in his trusty blue 23-year-old Mitsubishi Lancer.
In 2005, he was honoured by the Italian government by being made a cavaliere, the Italian equivalent of a knighthood, for his services heading up a number of Italian organisations in the UK.
Amazingly, widowed Giovanni has only ever had two speeding fines and one parking ticket during his staggering motoring career.
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