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Ice cream van convoy pays tribute to one of Britain's longest serving ice cream men

Mac with his beloved ice cream van Credit: Family photo

A convoy of ice cream vans chimed together today in tribute to one of Britain's longest serving ice cream men.

Mac Leask, 82, was laid to rest in Birmingham today as the ice cream chimes rang out in the glorious sunshine.

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A hearse carrying his coffin was followed by a convoy of vans - including his yellow and purple Cadbury van - to the service at Erdington Abbey.

The funeral procession in Birmingham today Credit: BPM Media

Mac was truly the 'king of the scoops' having put smiles on people's faces in Pype Hayes and beyond for 46 years with his delicious ices - even going out in the snow.

A floral recreation of Mac Leask's last ice cream van Credit: BPM Media

A floral recreation of his van, lollies and cornets were also displayed in homage to the ice cream King.

Daughter-in-law Janet Hobbis said:

"It's the perfect service. It's the perfect day for an ice cream and that's what Mac would have wanted. "He was out come rain or shine, you know, and he absolutely loved being an ice cream man. Everybody loved him."

– Daughter-in-law Janet Hobbis
Mac Leask served ice creams in Pype Hayes in Birmingham for 46 years. Credit: BPM Media

The 82-year-old died at Good Hope Hospital on April 21 having suffered from a recent stroke while inside his van at a retail park in Walsall.

However, despite his death last month, family and friends were smiling in the sunshine as they remembered him.

A family friend said:

"This is what we'd call a Mac Day, just look at the weather. He would have done alright today doing his rounds, that's for sure.

"Everybody loved Mac. He used to give all his family free ice cream, too."

– Family friend
The procession of ice cream vans played in unison after the funeral Credit: ITV Central

Following Tuesday's service, ice cream vans played their chimes again in his memory.

For generations of the same families, Mac’s chimes were the soundtrack to their childhood.

The 82-year-old worked seven days a week, come sun, rain or snow.

And the ice-cream elder statesman actually suffered the stroke that would later claim his life while working in his van.

He was at a Walsall retail park when struck down, and urged a customer to ring for an ambulance.

“It was his life. He loved the job,” “After the stroke, they took him to Walsall Manor Hospital. His speech was poor, but his first words to us were ‘Get the van’.

– Daughter-in-law Janet Hobbis
Mac's family say the whole community will miss him Credit: Family photo

Janet and her daughter Emma cared for Mac at his Erdington home during the last months.

Mac was so desperate to be reunited with his beloved vehicle that they had to park the van in the back garden.

“His mobility was poor, so we used to lie him across the seat,”

– Janet Hobbis

Mac was raised on Orkney. He settled in Birmingham in the 1960s and, after stints at Lucas and as a French polisher, he invested in his first ice-cream van that had a simple bell, rung by hand.

Janet added:

“He wanted to be his own boss. “He worked Pype Hayes for 46 years and served generations of families. “He worked every day and even took the ice cream van out in the snow. “Mac was a true gentleman. If he didn’t have a good word to say, he wouldn’t say anything. There won’t be another like him. “The customers loved him and he was very popular with other ice-cream men. We really have no idea how big the funeral will be.”

– Janet Hobbis