By John Baron
A lasting tribute to a popular West Leeds ice cream man has been unveiled in Pudsey Park.
Vittorio Di Mascio, known to many as ‘Mr Rossi’, has been a familiar and popular sight in the Pudsey and Bramley areas for over 50 years until he passed away last year, aged 81.
A piece of role playing equipment in the shape of Mr Rossi’s ice cream van has been installed next the the children’s playground.
It follows the installation of a similar piece of play equipment in Bramley Park last month.
Councillor Dawn Seary (Cons, Pudsey) said: “Everyone was talking about Mr Rossi after he’d passed away.
“He served the community for such a long time and touched so many lives that we wanted to do something as a lasting memorial for the generations who remember him and bring his legacy to a new generation and spark discussion.”
Cllr Seary said a plaque providing more information on Mr Rossi could also be installed.
The new Pudsey Park play equipment, which cost £1,720, has drawn a huge response on social media.
“What an amazing man he was!” one posted. “Remember him parking up near our street every summer as a child and teen, and smiling whilst serving. What a legacy, serving and making many young children and youth happy.”
Another added: “Vittorio would be so overwhelmed. I can just see his face grinning as he admires it. I hope he’s always shining down watching with a smile. An absolute perfect tribute to make sure he is never forgotten.
“He was such a special part of the community and I for one definitely miss the tune of that van shouting to the kids ‘Rossi’s here!!’ What an incredibly kind generous man, a true gentleman. We miss you Vittorio.”
The Bramley Park climbing equipment, which cost £10,506, opened earlier this month and was funded by councillors on the inner west community committee and a crowdfunding appeal.
Mr Rossi’s passing led to hundreds of tributes on social media at the time.