Derek Ladbrook, one of the most popular and well-loved characters in Holbeach, has died aged 88.
Mr Ladbrook – known to many as the face of Laddies Ice Cream, which was founded 90 years ago – died on Monday at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, after a short illness.
Born and raised in Holbeach, Mr Ladbrook started working in the family business as a ten-year-old putting sweets on the shop’s shelves.
He served as a sniper in the Parachute Regiment during World War II where he saw military action in north Africa and Italy, including the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1943-44.
Towards the end of the war, Mr Ladbrook was deployed to Greece to help to stop a communist uprising before returning to Holbeach.
As well as Laddies Ice Cream, Mr Ladbrook served as a parish councillor and president of Holbeach United Services Club. He was also a founder member of Springfields Probus Club and his other interests included travelling and horse racing.
Mr Ladbrook is survived by his wife of 64 years, Nellie, three children, six grandchildren, a number of great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.
His son and business owner Richard Ladbrook said: “My dad was a well-loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
“He worked in the family business for 78 years and was a partner until the day he died.
“Dad was very proud of me continuing the business into our 90th year and one of his proudest moments was when he picked up an award for the excellence of our ice cream.
“He will be very fondly remembered by an awful lot of people because our ice cream van went to a lot of events and many older people will have memories of buying ice cream from him.”
Members and guests of Springfields Probus Club observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for Mr Ladbrook during their meeting at the Woodlands Hotel in Spalding on Wednesday.
Holbeach district councillor Martin Howard said: “Derek was a great man. I can remember Laddies Ice Cream from when I was a child.”
“He will be sorely missed and my sympathies go out to his family.”