Ice Cream man ready to ‘chill’ after 40 years on the rounds
PUBLISHED: 15:09 08 June 2018
A popular ice cream man is hanging up his scoop after 40 years in the business.
Barry Layen, of Gorleston, started out in 1978 in a Mister Softee van, before starting Barry’s Soft Ices in 1992.
For 50 weeks a year Mr Layen, who will turn 65 at the end of the month, completed his round in the Gorleston, Belton and Bradwell area, making many friends along the way.
Mr Layen said: “It’s been good. I get on well with people and most of them get on with me.
“I think interacting with people has been the best part. You know with your regulars what is going on and it is quite nice to feel part of the community. I might miss that a bit, but I’m sure I will see a lot of them around town.
“I got quite a few retirement cards and one family even had a plaque made saying ‘world’s best ice cream man, happy retiremen.”
Over the years, the industry and the faces have changed, but the most popular ice cream has remained the same, according to Mr Layen.
He said: “It has changed a lot. Way back in 1978 when I started not many people had a freezer in the house, so you would buy ice lollies daily.
“Then supermarkets started springing up and you started getting multi-packs and discount this, discount that, which knocked it down a bit. But I’m now serving the children of children from back then.
“The soft ice cream has probably always been the best seller though, everybody likes that.”
Leanne Mather, who lives in Baliol Road in Gorleston, is one of Mr Layen’s many regulars who say he brought a sprinkle of good will to the community.
She said: “Everyone from Baliol and Paston Road, past and present, wish Barry all the best in his retirement.
“He was a lot of people’s life lines - good old Barry is the saying in our house.
“Barry even let you have things on tick when you needed bread and milk.
“He is a top man and will be truly missed.”
But Mr Layen says he is looking forward to coning off his career.
He said: “I’m just going to relax and chill and do things I couldn’t do when I was working all them hours, six days a week.”
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