This Harrogate district ice cream man could soon be officially named the best in the whole of the UK
It's true what they say - real talent always rises to the top, and for the second year in a row, a well-respected ice cream man from the Harrogate district has found himself on the verge of being crowned the best in the whole of the UK.
As a fourth-generation ice cream man who co-owns 130-year-old firm C&M Ices, John Taylor takes great pride in what he does - a pride that has once again propelled him into being tantalisingly close to scooping up the title of 'Mobiler of the Year,' in his industry's equivalent of the Oscars.
Known for having a friendly and personable demeanour on his rounds, John feels honoured to have made the final three in the Ice Cream Alliance's prestigious awards - the only trade association that is solely dedicated to representing and celebrating the profession.
John said: "We are obviously delighted and honoured, we didn't expect to be shortlisted again. It really is like the Olympics or Wimbledon of the ice cream profession, and it would be really nice to win this time.
"To be recognised like this shows that we have got a consistent level of service and quality, which we are very proud of."
John, 41, started out when he was just 14 years old, and the industry climate as a whole has grown a lot tougher since the glory years of ice cream vans being the unrivalled, only go-to place for frozen treats.
But John's love of his job always keeps him going with a smile firmly on his face, and he has a very strong and loyal customer base who are great ambassadors for the business, and help to spread the word.
John said: "It's a hard time in our industry at the moment. The ice-cream man is an old school British tradition, but it is getting tougher and dying out in some ways, a bit like the milkman.
"You can get ice cream anywhere thee days, but it's all about the experience. We sell fresh award-winning ice cream, and we can tell our customers exactly what goes into the ice cream and where it's come from. It's not mass-produced, we provide something you don't get in a supermarket, and there is an art to what we do.
"We've been going for over 100 years, so we must be doing something right. There are not that many ice cream men around compared to the glory years, and I'm not sure how many fourth generation ones there are either, but I am lucky enough to be one of them, and I am proud to be."
John also enjoys playing a proactive role in the community where he does his rounds, and has raised thousands for charities and good causes in the area over the years.
Alongside his uncle, John has also given away ice creams to schools for Children in Need. And they've spread joy on the children's ward at Harrogate District Hospital by serving their best cones.
John said: "Our business relies on the community, and without the community we would not exist. It's just nice to be able to give something back when we can.
"Ice cream cheers people up, and it's great to be able to put smiles on people's faces."
John will find out if he is officially the best ice cream man in the UK at the Ice Cream Alliance's (ICA) Ice Cream and Artisan Food Show, held at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate from February 11-13.