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Tribute paid to Pinchbeck legend Mario Fragale

A legendary Pinchbeck man who made a big difference to people all over South Holland has sadly died.

Mario Fragale (85) is well-known for serving generations of youngsters with delicious ice-cream from his Spalding shop.

Italian born Mr Fragale made the brave choice to start a new life in this country when he was a teenager and worked his way from an agricultural job to a management role at Geest.

Tribute has been paid to Mario Fragale (27527328)
Tribute has been paid to Mario Fragale (27527328)

Father-of-three Mr Fragale sadly died at home after short illness last week.

His eldest son Eric said: "He was a legend and a pioneer. "

Mr Fragale was born in an village in southern Italy, where he had worked as a goat herder as a youngster and a road builder.

Mario Fragale and 101-year-old Maude Sharp in 1991 (27527390)
Mario Fragale and 101-year-old Maude Sharp in 1991 (27527390)


When he was 19, Mr Fragale followed his sister over to the UK after she had married an Italian prisoner of war who had remained here.

He started off working on the land around the Sutterton area.

His son Leo said: "He spoke English and would translate for other Italians when they came to this area."

After around six years on the land, Mr Fragale went onto work at the Geest factory after landscaping the garden of the owner, John van Geest.

Over the following 35 years, Mr Fragale made may friends at the Geest site and worked his way up to Cold Store Manager.

In June 1991, Mr Fragale opened his popular Dominic's ice-cream shop in Red Lion Street.

Just before the shop officially opened, Mr Fragale popped along to the Ivo Day Centre with ice-creams for the guests.

His son Eric said that Mr Fragale enjoyed building up the business, which was named after Mr Fragale's father .

He said: "He really enjoyed meeting people and chatting to them."

On April 8, 1961, Mr Fragale tied the knot with Gemma, who was his next door neighbour in Italy.

Leo said: "He was only supposed to come to come for a holiday but he stayed for five years."

The couple went onto have three children Eric (57), Leo (52) and Lisa (42).

Mr Fragale enjoyed being outside and cared for the family's smallholding.

He was diagnosed with cancer inAugust and died at his home on Tuesday, January 21.

A funeral service will be held at St Norbert's Church, Spalding, on Tuesday, February 11, at 10am.

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