Anger after ice-cream van disrupts remembrance service in Minchinhampton
A WAR veteran who tried to drive an ice-cream van, while honking his horn, through a crowd paying their respects at a Remembrance Sunday service was turned upon and had his windscreen cracked by angry bystanders who were appalled at his "atrocious" behaviour.
The 76-year old man, who himself had served in Malaya, tried to drive the Winstones Ice Cream van along the High Street through the crowds who had gathered for the wreath laying ceremony and the two-minute silence at Minchinhampton's Market Square on Sunday, November 10.
When he was unable to pass through the crowds the driver sat in the van with his engine running but quickly ran out of patience and started trying to push the crowd out of the way using the vehicle.
Parish councillor Roy Nicholas, who has attended the ceremony in Market Square for more than 50 years, said: "I have never witnessed such a blatant disregard of what people were commemorating.
"He was asked to stop but took no notice.
"Others were banging on the sides of the vehicle and the windscreen cracked.
"It was Remembrance Sunday, he knew there was a war memorial in the town and he knew that people would be gathered around it.
"This man’s behaviour was despicable.
"If it were not for the bravery of these men the chance of him having the freedom to sell his ice cream would be doubtful.
"His conduct was atrocious."
The service began at 10.50am and included the naming of the fallen, a two minute silence, wreath laying, prayers and a dedication, finishing around 11.15am.
Although the road was not officially closed a diversion had been put in place via Friday Street and Tetbury Street.
The driver's bosses said they were baffled at his despicable behaviour.
A spokesman for Winstones Ice Cream said: "We are dismayed to hear of the inappropriate and disrespectful behaviour by a van driver at the end of Minchinhampton Remembrance Day service.
"We unreservedly apologise to all who were present and for the offence caused. We have always supported Poppy Day and The Royal British Legion and all that the rememberance day stands for.
"We are completely baffled at these out-of-character actions by a 76-year old ex-serviceman who served on active service in Malaya who clearly should have turned his engine off until the service was completely finished.
"He was frightened by a small group of people who were abusive and aggressive smashing his windscreen and this is why he tried to drive away.
"We are grateful to the police who were on hand and stopped things from getting further out of hand.
"In the cold light of day both parties should feel ashamed of their actions and their disrespectful behaviour."
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