Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Ice-cream seller is a chip off Arthur Daley’s block

A WOMAN has launched a successful business after restoring an old ice-cream van

A WOMAN has launched a successful business after restoring an old ice-cream van.

Tara Cole, from Wargrave, bought the 1972 Bedford van on eBay for £1,000 in May 2011.

After undergoing six months of repairs and refurbishment, the newly named Daisy attended scores of weddings, parties, festivals, fairs and other events last year.

Ms Cole, the daughter of actor George Cole and his wife Penny, who live near Highmoor, says the project was a “massive gamble”.

She said: “I was working as a chocolatier in London and was quite involved with weddings and the wedding industry.

“When we had a massive heatwave over the Easter bank holiday a few years ago, I watched my stock disintegrate and thought I would look into getting an ice-cream van.

“It went from there really — I mentioned it to a few people who all seemed to think it was a great idea. I tend to just stumble into things quite a lot and things just happen. I am a nightmare for my parents.”

Ms Cole, who studied business at The Henley College, first saw the van she had bought when it turned up on the back of a trailer.

She said: “It had to be rebuilt inside and out. She was in a terrible mess and was covered in badly painted Thomas the Tank Engine pictures.

“Daisy’s whole chassis had dropped by about two inches and none of the sides were attached. She was a real wreck and the electrics were very dangerous. I did think fleetingly ‘what have I done?’ but where there is a will there is a way and because I had gambled I did not want to think negatively.

“I was lucky to find a very talented mechanic to help me who also taught me so I could carry out a lot of the work myself.”

The van sells handmade luxury ice cream, sorbets, retro sweets and ice lollies.

Ms Cole said: “In the colder months and on some summer evenings, I also sell hot chocolate and home-made apple pie. I get a fantastic reaction from customers and fellow drivers. Daisy is dressed in fresh flowers and vintage-style bunting and I wear Fifties-style dresses when I am serving.

“I took Daisy to the family field at Fawley last year for the regatta fireworks and also to Marlow’s Christmas shopping evening. Unfortunately, the flooding in Wargrave stopped me getting to the Henley Christmas Festival. I am hoping to increase my profile locally this year.

“Daisy is my pride and joy, although she is just as expensive as putting a child through private school.”

For more information, visit www.daisyicecreamvan.co.uk

“When we had a massive heatwave over the Easter bank holiday a few years ago, I watched my stock disintegrate and thought I would look into getting an ice-cream van.

“It went from there really — I mentioned it to a few people who all seemed to think it was a great idea. I tend to just stumble into things quite a lot and things just happen. I am a nightmare for my parents.”

Ms Cole, who studied business at The Henley College, first saw the van she had bought when it turned up on the back of a trailer.

She said: “It had to be rebuilt inside and out. She was in a terrible mess and was covered in badly painted Thomas the Tank Engine pictures.

“Daisy’s whole chassis had dropped by about two inches and none of the sides were attached. She was a real wreck and the electrics were very dangerous. I did think fleetingly ‘what have I done?’ but where there is a will there is a way and because I had gambled I did not want to think negatively.

“I was lucky to find a very talented mechanic to help me who also taught me so I could carry out a lot of the work myself.”

The van sells handmade luxury ice cream, sorbets, retro sweets and ice lollies.

Ms Cole said: “In the colder months and on some summer evenings, I also sell hot chocolate and home-made apple pie. I get a fantastic reaction from customers and fellow drivers. Daisy is dressed in fresh flowers and vintage-style bunting and I wear Fifties-style dresses when I am serving.

“I took Daisy to the family field at Fawley last year for the regatta fireworks and also to Marlow’s Christmas shopping evening. Unfortunately, the flooding in Wargrave stopped me getting to the Henley Christmas Festival. I am hoping to increase my profile locally this year.

“Daisy is my pride and joy, although she is just as expensive as putting a child through private school.”

For more information, visit www.daisyicecreamvan.co.uk

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