The world’s longest serving ice cream man is finally hanging up his scoop and retiring after fifty years – and more than TWO MILLION cones.
Dedicated Paul Salamone, 75, has been behind the wheel of his ice cream van since he emigrated to Britain from Italy in 1965.
He opened his own firm Tonino & Son in 1971 and last year took the Guinness World Record for ‘Longest Career As An Ice Cream Man’.
His first cones cost just 4d and Paul has since served up more than two million ice creams and lollies from his distinctive blue van.
But after a career spanning nearly half a century the world’s longest serving ice cream man is finally putting his ‘fab’ career on ice and retiring.
Paul, of Watford, said: “I have had the best 48 years in the business – starting in 1965 when I moved here with my wife from Italy.
“As soon as I came over to the UK I saw an ice cream van and knew that was what I wanted to do.
“I worked for someone else at the start, but I eventually managed to save up enough and bought my own van in 1971 and haven’t looked back since.
“I picked the name Tonino & Son because it’s an Italian name but it’s a bit easier to pronounce than mine.
“I’ll never forget that I used to charge 4d for a cone with a flake. Now it’s £1.50, but I think that’s pretty reasonable.
“I must have sold more than two million ice creams during my career. I’ve had a blast, I really have.”
Paul’s iced empire stretches to six vans and his own ice cream manufacturing plant, and serves hundreds of thousands of children and families over the summer months.
He said: “We used to be out all year but things have changed. We have had hard times and good but have survived them all and are still going.
“I am so thankful to all the customers I have served over the years.
“There are some streets on the route where I’ve served four generations of the same family.”
Paul was hailed by the Guinness Book or Records after his ten-year-old grandson Ethan Edwards spotted he had beaten the previous record-holder beat by a decade.
He is now handing over the keys to his fleets of vans to son Alberto and Neil Edwards and Pierro Lerede, the husbands of his two daughters Santy and Adriana.
The grandfather added: “I will miss the people – I have been here since the 60s and have served grandmothers, mothers, children and their children. It has been a pleasure.”
Proud son-in-law Neil Edwards said: “Retiring is something Paul has been talking about for a while, but he’ll never completely stop.
“He shared his secret ice cream and iced lolly recipes with me, which I think was a big step.
“Ice cream may not be as popular as it once was, but the fact that our family company is still going is testament to the love the British public have to reliable service with a friendly smile – something Paul prides himself on very much.
“We’ll still let him out in a van every now and again. He loves the people and they love him.”