A FORMER ice cream man is beaming with joy after restoring a 51-year-old vintage ice cream van to its former glory.

Kelvin Coles, 28, co-owner of the Cabin Dairy café in Burnham, ran a van called KC’s Ices around the Dengie from 2014 to 2017.

He decided to take over the café with partner Becca Tatlow, but his love of all things ice cream never went away.

The dream project kicked off when attending an ice cream van show run by Whitby Morrison, the firm responsible for building many of the vehicles.

Kelvin said: “I’ve never lost touch with the industry – I still talk to the guys who own the vans all over the country.

“It was just by coincidence I overheard a conversation about this van so I spoke to the chap who owned it before me.

“It was one of his dad’s spare vans tucked away in one of their lock-ups.

The 1970 Morrison CA ice cream van before refurbishment

The 1970 Morrison CA ice cream van before refurbishment

“She sat in a barn in Swansea for the past 30 years.”

Kelvin fell in love with the red and white 1970 Morrison CA van and wanted to get it back to looking its best.

After getting his hands on it in 2019, he spent the next two years and around £10,000 repairing and renovating the van.

The finished van now sports a vibrant yellow and blue paint job and new lights and electronics.

Kelvin praised businesses including Keery Transport Services, the team at Providence Protech, MD Groom Car Body Repairs and S6 Signs, who helped him with the project.

The newly-renovated ice cream van

The newly-renovated ice cream van

Kelvin added: “The body is fibreglass so it didn’t rot away.

“It’s built on a Bedford CA chassis which can be notorious for rotting away but because it was kept tucked away indoors, it didn’t require any welding.

“A big thanks to the guys in Burnham. Their skills managed to bring it back.

“How Mark Groom managed to get some of the shapes and the lines back – he’s just a magician.

“She was new in 1970 and has survived this long. A lot of them got scrapped or crushed because they were vans and the Ford Transits took over. Most people think it’s a strange hobby – but everybody loves ice cream and ice cream vans.”

Kelvin hopes to set up the van outside the quayside café in the summertime.