A NORTH EAST woman has scooped the biggest prize in the ice cream business - Ice Cream Van of the Year. 

Zoe Philipson of Tyne Valley Ices in Hexham in Northumberland, was awarded the title after a vote by the Ice Cream Alliance, the UK’s ice cream industry trade association.

Zoe was up against two other finalists and won after being interviewed by a panel of industry experts.

She won the award for her "exceptional customer service and dedication to the industry and to her local community".

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A thrilled Zoe said: “Winning Ice Cream Van of the Year means the world to me.

“After many years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice its fantastic to be crowned the best in the country. It was a fantastic experience from start to finish and I can't wait to see what the future brings.”

Tyne Valley Ices was founded in 1974 by Zoe’s parents and has a fleet of ice cream vans as well as manufacturing and wholesaling ice cream and sauces made in a factory just outside Hexham.

“My childhood summers were spent with both my parents in an ice cream van, eagerly awaiting customers. It was truly idyllic - a child’s dream.”

Zoe joined the business full-time after finishing her A levels, a little over 10 years ago.

When she took over the business it had one van. It now runs five vans, two trikes and a barrow. In addition to their weekly rounds, Tyne Valley Ices regularly attends corporate, charity, school, village and wedding events throughout Northumberland.

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It also maintains regular slots at caravan parks, playgrounds and care homes.

ICA CEO Zelica Carr said: "A big congratulations to Zoe and everyone at Tyne Valley Ices who have been recognised for being the best in the business.

“Ice cream vans, indeed, the whole ice cream sector, have had a challenging time over the last two years. Zoe shows that the sector has overcome these challenges and has bounced back better than ever for 2022 and the future.”

For more information on ICA: www.ice-cream.org.

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