He’s been the face of selling ice cream across West Leeds for almost 50 years, bringing joy and memories to generations of children.
Friends and customers of Pudsey ice cream man Vittorio Rossi have set up an online fundraiser after the much-loved figure lost his wife and son within days of one another.
Pudsey resident Rachel Harding was so upset on hearing his story, she wanted to do something for him. The crowdfunder has so far raised almost £500 in less than 24 hours.
Mrs Harding said Mr Rossi hadn’t been on his rounds for a good few months but spoke to the ‘lovely, friendly’ ice cream man as he returned to work yesterday. She said she was grateful to the ‘crazy’ response to her fundraiser so far:
“I literally never expected it to go crazy, just shows how much support he has and about the recognition he therefore deserves.
“I just saw a very sad empty soul and could not just ignore that yesterday, but I’m so grateful to everyone for supporting him it’s amazing.”Rachel Harding
On the crowdfunder page, Mrs Harding said:
“My husband and I have just been chatting to him and he’s so upset and sad right now. He spoke to us about losing his wife and son (who was also one of a twin) within such a short time and he’s clearly heartbroken but has decided to come back to try and keep himself busy.
“He’s removed all his pictures that decorated his van, probably due to sadness – so let’s get his van full again, if you have a child, let them draw him a picture to proudly display in his van again and give it to him.”
“Pudsey, let’s show this man how much we care and buy his ice creams and support him through this tough time. He’s literally made me so sad this morning.
Becky Gencer posted on the crowdfunding page:
“Such a lovely kind man and THE best ice-cream ever!! Glad you’re back Mr Rossi keep smiling, we’ve all missed seeing you!! Sending lots of love and strength at this difficult time for you. My children will love to do you a picture for your van xx”
And Tony Rowley added:
“Rossi was my ice cream man when I was a kid, knew our family really well, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Sorry for your loss, but you have loads of love and support not just in Pudsey but in Rodley and Farsley and all over. You are a LEGEND!”
More details of the crowdfunder can be found here.