The owner of a popular ice cream parlour has paid tribute to his late mum after the business she created scooped a top award.
Lickety Split Creamery, of Seaham, won the Silver Challenge Cup for its artisan ice cream in the 2017 National Ice Cream Competition, run by The Ice Cream Alliance - the trade body for the UK’s £1billion ice cream industry.
Following the event, the firm’s owner Carl Thompson said it was a very emotional moment when he was presented with the trophy, just four months after his mum Cindy Bettcher, who created Lickety Split, died of cancer, aged 64.
“It has been a very tough time,” said Carl.
“She would have been very proud.
“I am dedicating our success to her.”
Mr Thompson said that when his mum told him more than nine years ago that she wanted to set up an ice cream business in Seaham, he advised her against it.
He was a bank manager at the time, having previously been a chef, and the recession was just starting to hit the country’s economy.
“She said she would do it with or without my help,” he added.
“I said I’d help her.”
The business, which is based near Seaham seafront and features a 1950s American-themed parlour, was an immediate success, with word quickly spreading about the delicious treats on offer.
“From day one, there were queues out of the door,” said Mr Thompson.
Mr Thompson is helped in running the business by his wife, Leanne, mother-in-law Marilyn, cousin Caitlin and other family members.
As well as its own parlour, it also supplies other restaurants and coffee shops in the area.
The Ice Cream Alliance represents more than 530 businesses in Great Britain and Ireland involved in the manufacturing, retail and catering of ice cream and related products.