Sunderland ice cream legend Trevor Minchella dies after battle with illness

Trevor Minchella
Trevor Minchella
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One of Sunderland's most popular family businessmen been laid to rest after battling a long illness.

Trevor Minchella's ice cream brought a smile to thousands of faces, with his Seaburn premises becoming a must-visit destination for visitors to Sunderland's seafront.

Picture c/o Chronicle Live

Picture c/o Chronicle Live

The devoted husband and dad-of-four joined the family business straight from leaving St Aidan’s school in 1969, and took over running the firm after his father Louis retired.

As well as being well-known for running the Dykelands Road ice cream parlour, Trevor also served as voluntary secretary on the committee for Seaburn Seafront Traders’ Association, working to improve the area.

Trevor passed away on July 26 aged 65, surrounded by family at their home in Cleadon - a day after watching daughter Claudia graduate from University of the Arts London.

He also behind three other children, Michael, Paolo, and Mario, and wife Sandra, as well as an extended family of much-loved relations.

Picture c/o Chronicle Live

Picture c/o Chronicle Live

Michael said: “My dad was probably the most loving and caring man I have ever known.

“Even though we knew it was coming, we really feel there is something missing now he is gone.

“It was my birthday two days later and when I cut the cake and there was one slice left, I started crying.

Younger brother Mario added: “I don’t think you could have asked for a better father. He supported us in everything we did, and never tried to force us to do anything.

“This is the most difficult thing we have ever had to go through.”

The devoted Sunderland fan worked round the clock to make his family business a success, but also enjoyed a packed life outside of work.

The SAFC season-ticket holder never missed one of his children’s rugby or football matches growing up, was a big fan of Bob Dylan and Luciano Pavarotti, and led the family on annual trips to villages around Monte Cassino to celebrate their heritage.

Son Paolo will now assume the running of the fish and chip shop and ice cream parlour, which has employed generations of the same families over the years.

He said: “He saw the customers as his friends, and he treated the staff as his family.

“Not once did he complain about why this was happening to him. Up until the day he died, I asked him how he felt and he said he felt good - that’s the type of person he was.

“People used to come to the cafe just to speak to Trevor. He would do anything to help anyone.”

Sandra added: “My Trevor taught everyone to have a really good work ethic, and to be kind and generous to others.

“He loved everything about work, meeting customers and doing anything he could to help.

“He is going to be hard to replace, he must have had ice cream running through his veins.”

Trevor's requiem mass took place this morning at 10am at St. Benet's Catholic Church in Monkwearmouth.

The family asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the Neuro Oncology Fund at Newcastle Hospitals.