Ice cream van man Jimmy scoops historic win

Ice cream van man Jimmy scoops historic win

A Northern Ireland man has clinched the country’s first win at the Ice Cream Van of the Year competition

Jimmy Robinson, who owns and runs Robinsons Ice Cream in Craigavon, scooped the title which is held every year by the Ice Cream Alliance, the trade association for the sector in the UK and Ireland.

Speaking about his win, Jimmy said: “This is an absolutely fantastic honour and I’m delighted

“I have spent 36 years running and growing this business and all the hard work has paid off. It’s a family effort with both my sons, my wife Carmel and my brother-in-law all working with me.”

Jimmy, who represents the third generation of his family to sell ice cream, now has three vans and three trailers operating in and around Craigavon, Portadown and Lurgan and in parks in Lisburn and Belfast.

The family’s passion started in the 1950s when his grandmother Cora arrived in Northern Ireland from Lucca in Tuscany to make and sell her ice cream.

In the 1960s his father (also called Jimmy) took over the business , followed by his brother Michael. Today he employs 11 people, both full and part time.

‘I loved it’

Jimmy was a full-time Irish International table tennis player and coach when in 1985 his father persuaded to him to change direction.

He explained: “Dad helped me buy a CF Bedford van for £800 and we turned it into a makeshift ice cream van with a pop on roof and old fridge. I still remember my first day out and how much I loved it, being my own boss. I even remember, my takings of £76, and thinking this was great.”

“Promoting Robinson’s Ice Cream is very important to me It’s been more important than ever with Covid-19.

“We were was one of the first operators in Northern Ireland to Covid-proof our entire operation to ensure the safety of staff and customers with the erection of screens, providing PPE to staff, and ensuring social distancing at our park sites with the inclusion of hand sanitizing stations. Winning Ice Cream Van of the Year makes all that hard work worthwhile.”

Jimmy is the first winner from the island of Ireland in the 43 years of the competition.